Alone Time for Mom--Is It Possible?

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Photo by cajunjenn

My pre-schooler and kindergartener are my world, and I'd like nothing better than to spend most of my free time reading and playing with them. But the reality is, if my kids want to play with Happy Mommy most of the time, they need to give Stressed-Out Mommy alone time for a fraction of the time. Some days I'd even settle for 10 minutes!

So thanks to the anonymous mom in Answers who brought up the problem I've often wondered about: Her 3-year-old daughter wants to play with her every second of every day. Is there a way to tell her that Mommy needs some alone time, and to teach her to play by herself, without hurting her feelings?

Here's what's worked for some moms:

"I got my 4 year old daughter at the time a baby doll and would tell her it's time to play house. After about 5 minutes of playing, I would tell her that it is nap time for you and the doll. Explain to her that nap time is quiet time and while you (fake) sleep (on the couch) and the doll sleeps (whereever she wants the doll to sleep) she is to do what you do, go in her room and do something quietly so the two of you can sleep. Now this may last only 5 minutes, but it's better than nothing." --puresouthern

"Get a coloring book and crayons/colored pencils... etc... make sure you have plenty of magnets on the fridge, tell her you want her to color her a couple of pretty pictures, and be sure to add lots of color to it. That'll keep her busy for a while. My DD also has a kitchen set with a full utensil set and everything. If I want a few minutes to read or crochet, I ask her to go fix me a big snack. You're still playing but you can get her to give you a few minutes of peace." --Jordanplustwo

"I read a parenting book where they suggest you teach a kid to have 'room time.' This builds up their creativity and time they can occupy themselves (by them playing with creative things like blocks, toy people, etc.). You start with a small amount of time (15 mins) and work your way up. Once they get that, they have to stay in there and play. If you have it for 30-45 mins, you at least get a short break while they're learning to concentrate and play by themselves." --Anonymous

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How much alone time do you get at home each day (the workplace doesn't count)?

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activities, child care, learning, play

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sandr... sandra314

I have my sons with me at home since we homeschool. I do get time for myself each day.  I wake up earlier before the kids are awake and I read the newspaper, watch the news, paint on the patio, garden or go online and read cafemom posts.   

When I really need a break later in the day at times, my husband will watch the kids so I can have some "Me" time where I paint outside on the patio.... Painting helps me relax and so does gardening.

I have set up areas in our home where my kids can play or read alone when they want to be by themselves too.  Sometimes kids need a break too!

faith... faithsmommy0303

I like Sandra have found waking up a little earlier then my 3 yr old daughter works out very well. I try not to do it every day, but when I do I feel very refreshed.

pinkc... pinkcalla721

I get a lot of alone time actually. My daughter has no problems playing in her room alone while listening to Noggin on her TV. Its preschool programs on all the time. I dont feel bad about her watching TV while she's playing because it allows me time to cook, clean and laundry. She's got blacks, Mr Potato Head, her dolls and so many other playsets but its so worth having time to myself.

Mama0... Mama0f3grlz

I always stay up for at least a little while after my girls go to bed, I need that time to myself to unwind.

avpri... avpriddis

I get nap time, but it depends on if they sleep at the same time or not!  I have a 2yo and 9 month old

Tonis... Tonis_mom

Ive tried to get my son to play in his room alone _ but it just doesnt work. He has tons of toys- Ive even tried to turn on the Tv, gave his special markers that only write on cetain paper- I dont know what it is- but he .. well flip flops back and forth. He will run in where I am- jump on me play with me for a few mins- then run back to his room- I can hear him messing around.. and then hes back again. Its so hard to get anything done that way. Cooking dinner is a night mare- and tony never wants to go to his daddy.

4lila... 4lilangelz

I get quite a bit of alone time, actually. I usually get up half an hour before everyone else so I can wake up and get breakfast set without having to stop 15 times to sign homework contracts, or get drinks, etc, etc. When my older 2 are at school, I am left with the 2 yr old twins. Now, granted we don't have 500 errands to run that day, after lunch, around 12pm, they go to their cribs (working our way to toddler beds...cringe!LOL)  for "reading" time. They get a book, their blankets and a half sippy of water. They usually "read" for about 20 minutes, and then nap until about 2pm. Which is when I do my picking up, laundry folding, or lounging...cus that's always more fun! ;-)


After school, if there was something i couldn't get done during the day, my girls are great at helping me out with the twins (the girls are 7 and 9) so i can empty the dishwasher, sweep the kitchen, etc. That probably doesn't count as alone time though, lol


My husband is also great about letting me run to the store in the evening to pick up something, anything, on occasion just so I can get out on my own, even if it's only 5 minutes it helps. The twins are in bed in between 7 and 730, the older 2 do chores at 730 and are in their rooms by 8:00. So that's when hubby and I get our couple of hours of alone time together.

Mayra... MayrasMomma

I honestly did not get  much alone time when my daughter was younger because I did not want to leave her side...I went to school, but did not work. 


Ever since I have started working I would have to say that it is the best alone time I have had. Although I have other  responsibilites at work, it gives me time to not have to be Mommy 24/7, while still etting paid for it. Even working 2 days a week is enough.

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