A Busy Mother’s Guide to Finding Time for Yourself

This article was written by Grace from graceandlivewell.com.

Where does all the time go?

As women we wear many different hats: partner, mother, daughter, co-worker, friend, carer, coach, teacher, motivator, nurse, homemaker, driver. Our days can become never ending ‘to-do lists’ and trying to meet everyone needs.

By the time we finally sit down at the end of a long day, we’re too exhausted to be creative or make a decision beyond ‘shall I have a chocolate chip cookie or a jaffa cake?’

Then we feel guilty as we’ve promised ourselves we will eat no chocolate so that we fit back into our summer wardrobe! Sound familiar?

Or maybe the list is over-whelming and you don’t know where to begin. Quite frankly for a couple of years I had a daily fight with ironing.

I know it is ridiculous – and I never won, because no matter how much I wanted to beat that ironing mountain, on the very rare occasion I got to the bottom of it, the very next day it started again.

For the record.  THIS IS NO WAY TO LIVE!!

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Check out this guide for all you busy mothers out there! This one is for you. Learn how to find time for yourself, relax and rewind.

Hi, I’m Grace!

After focusing on raising my three children for twenty years, I realised creatively I was running on empty. As I reflected, I realised I had left all my dreams, passions and would be adventures behind, though as my kids often remind me ‘we are the adventure!’ and that’s true … to a point.

Joking aside, I felt I had a couple of points to prove, one was to cook professionally which I now do, and the other was to be happy with myself. I started the blog ‘Live with Grace’ after completing a coaching course, and now hope to inspire and share stories to other women who want to live their best lives.

It sounds trivial who could be bothered by ironing? Yet I would see this pile every day and it was a reminder that I hadn’t achieved all that I had set out to do the day before. That no matter what was on my list for that day, I probably wouldn’t succeed. 

This inner struggle wasn’t really about the ironing, it simply acted as a symbol for me, that I wasn’t good enough, that I couldn’t cope. This mindset is incredibly negative and damaging. 

After a few years of soul searching and exhaustion, I realised I needed to change my thinking and adopt practical solutions.

I got help, my husband’s and son’s shirts are professionally ironed. 

It’s relatively inexpensive and saves me a couple of hours per week!  The professionals do a far superior job and I do not resent the time I’ve given up.  GAME CHANGER.

I taught my older children how to iron.

I iron a lot less, I simply don’t iron half of what I used to. I fold and give the pile of laundry to whoever it belongs to put away.  If I have sorted the washing, put it in the machine, hung it out and folded it, (rarely ironed) someone else can at least put it away.

The ironing pile, it is out of sight, it taunts me no more.

I allocate maybe an hour a week now to ironing (maximum), rather than an hour a day. I have saved SIX hours right there.

Once I was in the correct headspace I could see the potential of changing my daily lifestyle and replacing it with a daily routine that included ME TIME! 

This is what we all need to do, understand and find way to manage our time.  Adopt practical solutions and understand you may be spending more money but you are buying more time!

image of busy woman, working and multi-tasking. Using laptop and iPad, no time to herself.

Once we have the time, think carefully how you spend it.

I found the time! My youngest was a baby then and come naptime the temptation for me, was to collapse and do nothing.  I would make a cup of tea and switch on the TV for an hour. 

After finally coming to terms with the ironing mountain, I rewarded myself with TV!! Any TV, probably rather dreadful TV, but if I am being honest I did look forward to it.  Sometimes, I’m embarrassed to say, it was definitely the highlight of my day.

The thing is when we get to this point we can be pretty close to running on empty and convincing ourselves that providing we are meeting everyone’s else expectations, our own passions, interests and dreams can become forgotten.  Now I had found the time I needed to use it to best serve me.

This is where I was about six years ago.  I had been a full-time mum for twenty years, (with a small gardening business) and after someone asked me how I spent my free time, I genuinely struggled to come up with anything. 

Even the things that I loved to do: cooking and gardening, they had become part of my day, things I had to do.  Rather than things I enjoyed and relaxed doing.

It was a starting point for me to examine my life more and work out what I wanted to do, how was I going to carve back some ME TIME.

I decided ME TIME wasn’t meeting up with my friends, that to me is essential and separate from what I’m talking about here.  Socialising with our friends be it a coffee, a drink, a walk or a weekend away are important, vital!

ME TIME is about that nag at the back of your mind, when you’re lying awake at night, thinking there must be more to life.  It is remembering the dreams we had and finding ways to explore these yearnings.

I’ve yet to meet a mum who can understand where all the time has disappeared to since she had a baby.  It simply doesn’t come back.  We need to reassess how we spend our days and prioritise.

I cannot magic you more than 24hours a day, but I want you to really understand where those 24 hours go.

Also think about how you would spend free-time if you had it. (It can be tempting to scroll endelessly through our phones, or put the television on, but these won’t nourish you). 

image of two women chatting and socialising whilst out shopping. Happy women often spend time with friends to get a break from stress at home.

I promise you if you start making time for yourself you’ll feel better and this will have a knock on effect on those around you.

Often, others can see women at home with their children, many juggling jobs as well, and think they can’t or shouldn’t want anything else. ‘They have enough to do.’ I would argue our society quite likes us to feel like this, it stops us getting ideas! 

When our lives are full it is when we most need to find our own time.  We should never be running to empty, not even close.  A bath, maybe a good way to finish an exhausting day, but you need more in life than a good soak to look forward to.  (Also use the lock on the door, or you’ll be pestered constantly).

I believe we must grow and move forward.  Nurturing ourselves, benefits all around us.  Communicating how we feel to those that love us is so important.  It can easily become a competition of whose had the most uninterrupted sleep or who went out last. 

By making our partners aware how much we need time for ourselves it can be the most important step we make in finding time for ourselves and ultimately become happier.

If you’re a single mum or dad is rarely at home, reach out to extended family and/or also your friends.  Consider looking after each other’s children once or twice a week. Make it a fixed part of your routine.   

The ultimate guide to learn how to get some me-time for yourself, no distractions.

Once our children grow up, and time may at last seem more plentiful, it is our confidence that can stop us from trying out new things.  It may be a long time since we have learnt a skill or taken up a creative course.

Please try something new, you may not enjoy it at first, especially if you’re out of your comfort zone.  Remember this is normal but remember also that you owe yourself to give it a chance. 

Learning new skills can be intimidating especially if we’re in a group environment.  Yet it is vital that we listen to ourselves and if you have always wanted to paint, sign up for a class.  I think you’ll love it, but seriously, what is the worse thing that could happen?

You create a painting that you’re unhappy with, (I’m positive your teacher will find elements that they like and will be encouraging) you may have to go back next week and start again, maybe you even get paint on your jumper. 

Image of a woman finding time for herself to experiment with hobbies and fun activities. She is trying out pottery as a creative outlet from her busy home life.

YOU can cope with this!  

Worse possible outcome is you not going to that paint class and never finding out that you love painting, just like you knew you would.

Another possible outcome, five years from now you sell your first painting, in a local exhibition, it gets posted online and someone calls who loves your painting and asks could you do something similar for them.  

This is how we make life interesting.  Think of the skills you have learnt on the way, the like-minded people you may meet and where this one six week class may lead.

It is exciting, isn’t it?

From amazing guest blogger Grace, learn how to get some alone time without the guilt. You deserve to get some self-care into your routine, and here's how.

Right now I’m offering a free two week course, for you to do at home, where you document how you spend your day and how it makes you feel.

By the end of the two weeks, I hope you understand how you can carve out time for yourself each day and also have a small challenge in place.

Let me know how you get on and when I hear back from five amazing women who have signed up to a new challenge in their lives, I’ll sign up for that painting course I just spoke about – I’m about to finish a course on nutrition, so there will be room for something new!!

My email is [email protected]  Simply leave your name and email and I’ll ping over the course.  It is as simple as that.

After finishing the blog today, I had a quick look at my Instagram account @grace_and_live_well and this was the first post of the day! 

‘If you use your time well, you have more time for making your difference in life.  That’s why we’re all here’. 

Brendon Buchard

How perfect is that?!

Live well

Grace x

This article was written by Grace from graceandlivewell.com. To read more from Grace, please follow her blog link and send her your support.

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Adopting Mindfulness From a Beginner’s POV

So I’m just going to jump straight in with this one. I’ve only just started this blog and I’m already slacking, from now on please expect a new article every Friday.

Since the start of the UK lockdown I’ve had this drive to better myself and my life.

But I had no idea how to do this.

It all started whilst watching some random YouTube videos that came up in my recommended, talking about self acceptance. I thought to myself, ‘is the universe trying to tell me something?’.

So I did some reading and researched in as many ways I could during a worldwide pandemic.

Becoming more mindful, was one of the ideas that kept popping up wherever I looked. So I dug a little further.

I listened to an audiobook on Audible called Habbits for Happiness by Dr Tim Sharp and this really brought everything together for me.

I couldn’t recommend this audiobook enough for beginning your own mindful and self-love journey.

Each chapter of this audiobook spoke about different habits you should incorporate into your life, in order to essentially become happier.

I followed all the steps exactly, one of my favourite tasks was setting my SMART goals, which I will discuss more in another post.

And this was my foundation for my mindfulness journey.

Unfortunately, it would be no help to share my personal goals, targets and habits as these will be different for everybody.

But here are some steps I can recommend that have helped me establish a more positive day-to-day life.

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The ultimate guide to mindfulness for beginner's. What it involved and how you can become a pro in no time.

Beginner Habits for a Better Life

Drink more water

This is a tip you see everywhere as we are told it can improve a lot of health problems but there is a reason for this, water is amazing!

I highly recommend working your way up to the recommended daily allowance of 2-3 litres. More on this and developing a water drinking habit in an upcoming post.

Give yourself some time for self-care

Always make time for you and doing things you enjoy. Whether that’s having a nice, relaxing bath or doing a spot of gardening.


This one can seem very daunting at first as it did for me, but the sooner you start the better.

Meditation is something that you can take at your own pace, you choose how long you do it for and how often. I currently aim for 15 minutes every other morning.

Give yourself a stabile sleeping pattern

Although I don’t have any advice for the insomniacs, I can’t recommend a repetitive sleep schedule enough.

I have recently discovered the Bedtime setting on iPhone and it has been so useful in establishing myself with a routine.

Take a moment of everyday to notice everything around you

This is essentially what mindfulness is all about. I like to remind myself to be mindful by using a trigger.

For example, I will often have a mindful shower, a mindful meal or a mindful cup of coffee.

Listen to podcasts

This is something I have recently brought into my morning routine and they are so great.

In terms of becoming more mindful, I couldn’t recommend The Mindful Kind by Rachael Kable more!

I also love Radio Headspace by Andy Puddicombe as the episodes are around 4 minutes long each and come out the morning of every weekday.

Take up yoga

This is another one which can seem off-putting to a novice. I was one of those people too.

Yoga can be incredibly difficult but there are so many resources out there you can use from home, and you can simply take it at your own pace.

I love using beginner YouTube videos, I recommend SarahBethYoga. Of course, when gyms open back up, going to yoga classes is another option to consider.

Breathe with purpose

This one sounds a bit silly, we all breathe with the purpose of living. But really concentrating on your breathing and how it affects your body is an incredidble mindfulness exercise anybody can do at any time.

You may of hear of people slowing their breathing and counting to 10 in stressful situations, but that’s not all it is useful for.

Ever wondered what mindfulness really is and if it could change your life for the better? Get reading my latest blog post and find out how I've found adjusting to this new lifestyle and if I think it is worth it. . . . . . ignore - blog blogger new fresh newbie beginner article post pinterest news adopting mindfulness mindful thoughtful meditate meditation breathing tools techniques novice rookie pov point of view

I can’t describe to you how implementing these changes in my life has really helped me feel better in myself and become happier over the past month.

Find out more about my new morning routine, which details how I like to start my mornings in order to set myself up for a mindful day.

It can all seem overwhelming at first, but the majority of tasks involved in this article only take a few minutes to complete.

Remember to start off gently and try not to tackle everything at once. Try implementing a couple of new habits each month until you feel more comfortable.

And please, if you take anything from this article, please do check out some podcasts and audiobooks.

They’re just such an easy and useful way to digest new information, especially whilst travelling or doing some house work.

The top platforms I suggest are Audible and Spotify.

Ever wondered what mindfulness really is and if it could change your life for the better? Get reading my latest blog post and find out how I've found adjusting to this new lifestyle and if I think it is worth it. . . . . . ignore - blog blogger new fresh newbie beginner article post pinterest news adopting mindfulness mindful thoughtful meditate meditation breathing tools techniques novice rookie pov point of view

Recommended Reads

Many of these can be read in a book format, or listened to via an audiobook.

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