We've all had those weeks where we don't remember having a minute of quiet. Something is always demanding your attention. These things range from important i.e. "I need you to sign this paper for school" to less important i.e. "I need you to never take your eyes off me as I reenact the entire movie of Frozen complete with scene and costume changes."
I'm home with the kids all day, so I obviously interact with them more often. My husband fields much of the attention giving as soon as he gets home because it's exhausting. When he's out of town for the week, it all falls on me and I realize how lucky I am to be a part of a team.
If it's an occasional week here and there, that's okay. However, if these weeks are the norm, it's time to make some changes.
1. Find your team.
Join a play group or a bible study. Meet your neighbors or reach out to friends. Once you feel you can trust them, work out a time where you can swap kids for the afternoon. That'll give each of you an hour or so of quiet which may be just what you need. The solution may be as easy as a gym membership that includes childcare. Or, it may also be time to reconcile with a family member who's dying to know your kids better. If it's safe, allow them access to you and your kids.
2. Use your alone time to do something you love.
A couple of weeks ago, my mom graciously offered to take my two youngest overnight on a Sunday. On Monday morning, I put my older two on the bus and the house was deliciously quiet. I was tempted to catch up on laundry or clean up, but I stopped myself. This is MY TIME. I'm going to use it doing what I love. Something that gives me energy. What did I do? I took a long bath listening to soft music. I got dressed and curled up with a great book by the fire. The chores would still be there in a few hours when the kids got dropped off. No need to do them now. You know what gives you energy because they're the things you long for when days are hectic. Think of these as your "energy-giving" hobbies.
3. Don't have energy-giving hobbies? Find some.
For me, I love reading, being creative, or getting outside. Most things that fall into those categories are good for me. For some, it's a guilty pleasure TV show, time with a great friend, a coffee shop, shopping, or ax throwing? I guess that's a thing now. If nothing comes to mind, it's time to explore. Hit a craft or sporting good store. Walk around and see what strikes you. Unless it's an ax. Feel free to enjoy ax throwing, but don't let it strike you.
The truth is, we can't run on empty too long before things start to fall apart. (Hence the title "so you don't commit a felony") That's only kind of a joke. When we don't get necessary time away, we do things we regret. Safeguarding against that is necessary and fun. Don't just do it because you deserve it. Do it because the people you love deserve to get the best version of you.