What to do when you can't find a babysitter but your desperate for some "me time".

Don't have a babysitter?

We’ve all been there. You’re in desperate need of some “me time” or a little more adult time but you feel like you’re out of babysitting options. First let’s make sure you have completely exhausted all possible babysitters. In today’s society, a lot of SAHMs are not married to a man making $350,000 a year. We’re living on budgets and simply calling up a babysitting service is completely out of the picture. You could consider calling grandparents but even if they do live nearby they’re likely to have a full-time job and not interested in spending down time caring for your children. Here are some options to consider before you give up hope on finding a babysitter.

Check your local YMCA.

Most YMCA's have a Parents Morning/Night Out program. These programs are completely free if you are a member. All you have to do is drop your children off and come back to get them.

Tag in your moms’ group. 

Ask a mom in your mom group. Make it small. Drop the kids to her while at the park and take 30 minutes to yourself. Grab a group of friends and swap turns. This steady rotation allows you to plan for how to spend this free time. Don’t have a mom’s group? Call up your friends and family. Make a swap. Your turn one month theirs the next. Showing you’re willing to help often opens others to help you.

Reconsider your parents and in-laws. 

This time be more candid about what you need. Explain the stress you’re under express that you understand their need for self-care as well. Instead of asking for a weekend ask for a couple of hours. Offer to take something off they’re plate. Cook a meal and bring it over to them. Offer for them to babysit at your house where the kids are likely to be more entertained. Pick up their dry cleaning. It may seem foolish to add more things to your to-do list, but again it’s about getting some alone time. And be realistic with what you can offer. Even if it’s not the same day. The next time you cook a meal double the recipe and take it to them as a thank you.

Enlist the teenage neighbor. 

Don’t be afraid to pay for some extra help. Have the neighbor come over for some time, while you take some time out. Even if you don’t feel comfortable leaving your children the extra hands will help.

"Seriously, I don't have a babysitter. Now what do I do?" 

Ok, so you’re like, "yeah, yeah, yeah, those options don’t exist in my world." So, keep trying to figure out the members of your support team. In the meantime, here are some ways of getting your "me time" without a babysitter. First things first, go into this with an open mind and complete understanding of the definition of self-care. Self-care is what we’re trying to achieve here. We all need a break but in reality, getting time away doesn’t always make going home any easier. Self-care is about taking an active role in protecting your mental, emotional, and physical well-being and happiness. With that being said, open your mind to letting yourself be a little spoiled. Allow yourself to seek out these “all about me” moments, without regret. A happier you will make a happier family. Here are some ways to get the time you need without having to pay a babysitter.

Take 5 minutes to breathe. 

Sounds simple but it has worked. Set an alarm and every 2 hours make sure you take at least 5 minutes for yourself. Play the quiet game. Make it story time. When my kids hear a certain alarm sound they know it means “stop what you’re doing and quietly read” until I tell them they may continue their previous activity. Other options for me might be a quick dance party, with one of MY favorite mommy songs. It might be a 5-minute JoJo Siwa video and I just sit on the couch in peace. I’ve given myself permission to pullout YouTube whenever I need a moment of peace. It’s not something we do for a long time. But, a quick video will not hurt.

But sometimes I just…...

Put on YouTube. 

There’s a lot of debates about screen time. But YouTube has many educational videos. We mostly stick with the educational songs. My children run around dancing and singing. I’ll put on the “dance and move” songs. These allow my children to remain active and not just staring at a screen. I equate it to the modern mom popping in a CD. I might possibly put on some children’s yoga or exercise. I find YouTube to be a great parenting tool, if used appropriately.

Get up earlier in the morning. 

This one is one I’ve tried many times but continuously fail at. But I recognize that if I could just commit to getting up before the children I could complete more task and not be as stressed throughout the day. better yet, I could simply take that much needed bubble bath, have time to do my hair or catch up on my shows. The important thing to do is make sure the activity you choose is something of importance to you.

Put your kids to bed early. 

This is one I use often. Sometimes the day just needs to end. If I’m having a particularly tough day, well eat dinner watch a movie at straight to bed at 7:30. Use this time to reconnect with your husband. Just watch some shows and sit with each other in silence. Have a romantic dinner right at home

Go to IKEA. 

Take a trip to IKEA and let the children play in the kids’ area. You could walk around and shop. Just sit in the cafe area and relax. Take a book, talk to some friends or just scroll Instagram.At this point its about being in survival mode. This seems like a win win day for all. i mean who doesn't like IKEA. 

Go to the gym. 

Many gyms have a babysitting service. You could go get your workout in. And let’s not forget “exercise releases endorphins and endorphins make you happy”. So, thank you Elle Woods for that knowledge. But in all seriousness, endorphins are similar to morphine, which act as pain relievers and give you a sense of euphoria.

Which brings us to our next tip….

Work out with the kids. 

Like I said before it’s not all about getting away from the children. If I’m just not feeling it and I see I’m catching myself being short with the children, we’ll go for a walk. It’s not just to get them out the house but it allows me to get a little exercise time. It also helps their morale of their mood. Most times I’ll pop on a quick cardio video and the kids jump right in with me.

Schedule an extra play date. 

Allowing yourself that added adult time may help with any woes of loneliness. Having a go to mom friend who understands you and doesn’t judge your parenting nor your children can change your day to day struggles.

Join a mom group. 

I mean it’s a no brainer, if having one mom friend can help, having 5 couldn’t hurt. It gives you more opportunities for extra one on one playdates. Mom groups allow for extra planned events, which gives you something to look forward to. They’re the perfect group of people to tell all your mom problems to, without feeling like you talk about your kids too much. And it could give you a host of potential babysitters.

Set up independent kid’s activities. 

A lot of times I find myself running around all day trying to entertain my children. I become mentally exhausted. It’s nothing that coffee can fix. I just need a moment to sit and relax. These are the times for independent kids’ activities. I’ll set up independent stations for the children. It could be anything from a coloring table, a block station, reading corner, card game, to playdough. I put on a timer and the children switch after 10 minutes. This gives me at least 30 minutes to get something done for myself.

Create an open-ended activity.

The children play these activities together but with minimal help from me. I’ll set up one coloring table with crayons, color pencils, glue sticks, scrap paper, and stickers and let them go to town. If the children start to quickly say they’re finished I just prompt them with more ideas. This is also the times where I pull out the sensory bins (rice, sand, or water) which keep the children going for an hour. I try to make sure we do one of these a couple of times a week. It might help to do one every day.

Bottom line

We all know self-care is important. We also know finding the time for it isn’t always easy. But really take some time to try out the activities listed here. Come back and let me know how it has helped. Be sure to schedule in the small mental breaks to take care of yourself. Regular self-care is the goal. What are some self-care activities you schedule with your kids every day?