As a busy mom, you never get much time outside of your daily duties.
You’re up early and in bed late, you have a household to run, children to ferry around, meals to prepare, homework to help with and a million other tasks.
Your kids come first and that’s a given- however, it doesn’t mean to say you need to give up on yourself completely.
Chances are, you had your own goals, dreams and aspirations before starting a family, and while your priorities might have changed somewhat, you still deserve to have time invested in yourself.
Maybe your children have recently started school leaving you with a small window of time, or perhaps you could speak to close loved ones, ask for help or take them up on their babysitting offers once or twice a week.
If you’re able to free up a block of time for yourself every now and again, you can work on self development and ensure you’re moving forward as a person, reaching towards your goals and feeling happy and productive within yourself. Here are a few ways you can go about it.
Exercise is great for so many reasons. Not only will it help you to look your best, but you’ll feel your best too. You’ll be naturally full of energy (much needed when you’re caring for a young family) and it’s something productive you can do with your spare time.
You could hit the gym a couple of times a week if your partner, parents or a friend will watch the children for an hour or so. The rest of the time, you could get the family involved. Go on long hikes or bike rides at the weekends, or take walks around new places so that you’re racking up lots of steps without even really thinking about it.
Have you always struggled to get the baby weight off, even though your kids are a little older? (I know I have). Do you feel frumpy, or have you been advised by your doctor to lose weight?
If so, working on your fitness and exercising more is a great form of self development.
If you can’t get out of the house regularly, there are plenty of exercises you can do from home, follow along to a YouTube tutorial, practice yoga in the garden or even try extreme cleaning- you can kill two birds with one stone that way!
If you invest in a fitness tracker (I am a huge fan of the apple watch) and really go for it with your cleaning (vacuuming, washing windows, scrubbing floors etc) you’ll be surprised at just how much your heart rate gets up and the good it’s doing for your body.
Start a home business
A home business is a great way to improve your skills while also bringing in an income. You can put as many or few hours into it as you like, if you’re selling things like digital creations then you won’t even need to worry about shipping or stocking any inventory.
If you’re making your own items to sell then Etsy is a great place to start, you don’t need to worry about setting up a website or pay for marketing since the site already has a large amount of traffic. You could purchase items wholesale and sell them for a profit, or you could sell services such as writing or website design- it all depends on your interests and skills.
The right software makes running a business from home so much easier these days, from enterprise fax server software to helpdesk software, legal software and live chat services- you can automate some areas completely and have time massively in others.
There are lots of businesses you can start without much money, and do right from the comfort of your home.
Another option is to consider freelancing or blogging (much like the one you are reading right now), it might not seem like a typical home business but it’s a great way to earn money from home.
It can take a while for a blog to get established enough to earn an income, but if you start as a hobby it’s something you can monetize later on. If you have skills such as copy and content writing, app design, web design or illustration you can sign up to a freelancing site, bid on the jobs you want to do and start earning right away.
Take up a new hobby
Hobbies are important for people of all ages, they give us something productive to do when we’re free, help us to build skills and give us something to work towards.
It could be anything from baking to flower arranging, a sport or craft of any kind.
If you have anything that’s ever interested you but you’re yet to take the next step to learn more about it then it’s so worth taking the plunge.
It can even give you a chance to get out of the house, potentially meet new, like minded people and who knows what opportunities it could lead to. You could use these skills later on to set up your own business, or just keep them purely for pleasure.
Think about where your passions lie, if you’re not sure- what did you enjoy when you were younger? What were you good at, or what interested you? If you’re unable to get a babysitter easily, find things you can do from home, perhaps when your children are in bed or having quiet time.
Hobbies are fantastic for self development, and there’s no major commitment with them either. You can do them whenever you have a free block of time, even if it’s only once in a while.
Study from home
Study keeps the mind sharp, and can really help you to improve your skills. Qualifications look impressive on your resume, and can help you to get a good job (or a better job) in the future. Even if you’re a full time mother and housewife right now, if and when you choose to go back into work in the future having the right certification can make it much easier for you. Best of all, you can study from the comfort of your home, in a flexible way which is ideal for busy parents.
Not everyone is in a position to go back to university full time to gain qualifications, so this is ideal. There are thousands of courses, you can study just about any topic imaginable and it’s not as expensive as you might think. You can earn yourself a diploma in less than a year of part time study, and could even study a couple of them concurrently. A few hours a week when you’re able to, and within twelve months you’ve earned yourself a wealth of new knowledge, and some impressive qualifications to put on your resume and LinkedIN.
Lots of moms find getting back into work difficult after raising a family after having a huge gap in their education and work experience, so this is something you can do to bridge this.
Think about the career you’d like to get into, or move up to once you eventually return to work. And then study a subject that’s going to help you do that.
Being part of something bigger than yourself such as a good cause really is a win-win situation.
You get to help a charity continue with the great work they do, with no government funding places like soup kitchens, animal shelters and women refuges rely solely on donations and volunteers to keep running.
You also get to feel good knowing you’ve made a genuine difference, and from a selfish point of view it looks good on your resume too. You get to set a good example to your children, teaching them the importance of empathy and helping others when we can.
All of us want our children to grow up kind, and what better way to set an example than to let them see us be kind to others. You might not have lots of money you can donate, but giving your time can be even more helpful.
It can be tricky making time for yourself especially when you have kids and a busy life, but remember, you’re worthy of your time too.
You might not always get much of it, so when you do, working on yourself and developing personally is a great use of it. Self development stops you from falling into a rut, keeps you on track with your goals and helps you get to where you want to be in all areas of your life.
What kinds of things do you do in a bid for self development? How do you find fitting this in around your busy lifestyle and raising a family?