Third Shift: What we moms do after we complete the First Shift: Workday, and the Second Shift: Evening with Family.
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How to Make More Me Time as Moms
It should be your specially reserved time to Netflix and Chill – er – or you scrape a couple hours after the kiddos are in bed – please, don’t get up! – to secretly enjoy that chocolate bar while indulging in online shopping, catching up on Insta…
Or maybe you’re like me and you are meal-planning, checking the next days’ schedules, tackling homework, mending pants, reminding your hubby to call…
So instead of using that free time for you, you clock in for the Third Shift as momager.
All Joy, No Fun
I just finished the delightful yet reality-smacking book All Joy, No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood, and it confirms how we all feel about modern parenting. So many books on how to parent, but this book explains what parenting does to you.
You are bickering more with your partner about division of labor, you are soo tired (even though everyone warned you), and argue about who has it worse, and you have no free time, no social life.
And how did this happen when, thanks to modern conveniences, we spend less time on housework?
Is it because other new distractions…social media…creep in to steal pockets of free time?
A major contributor is that kids don’t work anymore, and instead they are so over scheduled, most don’t have any responsibilities at home. They used to work for us, but now we are their chauffeurs. So we pick up the slack. And are resentful. The mom martyr.
The Good News
That’s where my second highly recommended read The Good News About Bad Behavior: Why Kids Are Less Disciplined Than Ever And What to Do About It comes in.
I related 100% to the idea that we take home this totally dependent newborn and when they become 18, we must have completed shifted all the responsibility of life into their hands.
And how to do that? Without nagging?
Give them those responsibilities at every age! Start at age 3, and work your way up.
If they don’t do as expected, there are natural consequences. No threats, no bribes, no I-told-you-sos.
Making More Time
As my netflix/hulu/prime list of Shows-I-Must-Binge on a note on my phone keeps growing at a ridiculous pace, I still tell myself that someday I will have the time back in my life where I actually could lie around all weekend gorging on The Handmaid’s Tale. Even if the spoiler alerts are a decade old.
I just tell myself in 1.5 years I will be graduated from B-school and have one kid in elementary school…so that equals so much time back!
Today, that means I have a 4 year old to whom I can “outsource” some responsibility – ie assign chores. Setting the table. And that also means more every year. Ha ha ha! Laundry by age 7…
And do NOT quash those little toddler cries to help you, mommy! Said 4 year old begs to wash the pile of dishes in the sink. I portion out the soap for him so he doesn’t waste the whole bottle, and let him have a blast.
And I know! Resist those bubbly messes! It might be faster and easier for you to jump in, but this is his life lesson.
The result is that you will find more time for doing what you want to do, not what you have to do.
The studies show that kids are perfectly happy with the amount of time they spend with their parents. So stop the guilt, working-Momma. They actually want you to be happy, not try to make them happy.
Hey, I know a mom who teaches herself Java when her preschooler is in gymnastics! What do you do to carve time just for you? What will you start doing today to unload chores on your kids?
Related: Why it’s OK