Motherhood

What Do You Do For ‘Me’ Time?

What Do You Do For

What do you do when you have time completely to yourself? Anything funny/random? Or the classic soak in the bath with epsom salts?

I used to find it tough to take solo time in the evenings, because the boys would get so clingy. They would drape themselves over me as I moved toward the door, and then Toby would theatrically bang on his bedroom window as I walked away from the house, like Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate. But then Alex had an idea…

He said, “Guys, let’s have a boys’ night! Popcorn and Shrek!” And I got “kicked out” of the house. I asked Toby and Anton if I could please stay, but they giggled and said, “No, Mama, it’s a boys’ night!” Somehow their thinking that I wanted to stay made it so much easier for them to happily let me go. Whew!

Sometimes I take a bike ride, but my favorite thing is to get a chair massage at our neighborhood nail salon. It’s only $10 for 10 minutes, and you feel totally pampered and taken care of.

Here, seven women share what they do when they’re flying solo, and how they carve out time.


When I have time completely alone, there are two things I find myself doing: 1. Opening a beer, a package of crackers and a wedge of cheese and finding a documentary on TV to watch. I’m very into IPAs, Stoned Wheat Thins and/or Mary’s Gone Crackers with some kind of nutty cow’s milk cheese. I recently watched The Wolfpack, an amazing documentary that I highly recommend. That sounds like heaven to me right now. — Lina

I know this sounds insane, but my favorite activity when I am actually home alone (i.e., NEVER) is to clean out my closet! I find it so soothing and it hearkens back to a time when my life actually had order (rather than the total chaos that reigns now). DREAM. — Poppy

Every Sunday, when the kids are napping, I pull out the weekend New York Times and read the etiquette section first, then Modern Love, and I hope for a new Diagnosis column, which appears every few issues. It’s better than any medical drama on TV. Abby

I belong to a random online gym that does 15- to 20-minute daily workouts and I feel like a better mom and person when I complete one. It makes me feel strong inside and out, and I have become pretty addicted to that feeling. During the day I have a hard time relaxing; exercise feels like I’m accomplishing something, but it’s still really a time out for me. — Allison

I actually enjoy throwing medicine balls (like this dude — although obviously I’m WAY slower). I hadn’t been great at making time for exercise after my daughter was born, but after a string of migraines earlier this year, I started making it a priority and haven’t had any since! I think there’s something in me that craves movement. When Louise was a baby, we were driving down the highway and passed workmen lifting porta-potties onto a trailer — and I felt oddly envious of them doing something so physical. So strange, right?! — Liz

I’m pretty lame with my day-to-day me time — in the evenings I enjoy hanging on the sofa, reading an article or watching a funny clip. But a couple winters ago I went big: at the spur of the moment, I traveled with some friends to the Caribbean for a couple nights. It had been a particularly rough week in an already rough winter and we impulsively threw it together on about 24-hours notice. We felt so guilty about abandoning our friends and family in the bitter cold that we swore a vow of secrecy and left no social media trail. But as spoiled as it sounds, it was incredibly restorative and I came back ready to deal again. Linsey

I’m a stay-at-home mom of four boys, and we have afternoon quiet time. The youngest two take naps, while the oldest two read books or play in their room. I rely on this hour or two to decompress, breathe, watch cooking shows or just stare at the wall. I have realized how just a small amount of uninterrupted personal time can be the ultimate reset button for everyone. Sarah


What do you do when you have solo time? And how do you make time? I’d love to hear…

P.S. Traveling alone, and would you start an Articles Club?

  1. “boys night” that is so cute and clever!

    My relaxation involves a cup of tea (or glass of wine depending on the week) a style at home magazine and a feta-spinach croissant from my local bakery. You’ll find me in the park, or on the couch, enjoying my treats in pure bliss!

    Laura
    http://www.cookwineandthinker.com

  2. I like to sit down with a cup of tea, a sweet treat (cinnamon rolls are my fave), and either a good book or a good t.v. show. If it’s a t.v. show then I’ll multitask and doodle or paint in my art journal. If it’s winter then I love to take a nice, long, relaxing bath with a good book, but ever since we moved to our new place we don’t have good bath tubs. :( :( :(

  3. I love doing things alone. I take a yoga class Friday – granted there are other people there we don’t talk to each other. The only interaction is my yoga instructor silently modifying my pose. Also I love taking my book and reading at the park, on a random NYC bench, or in a local coffee shop. Other favorites are running, going to the movies, getting a massage, or drinking a beer while watching a hockey game at a pub.
    If you want to meet new people, doing things alone is the best way. It’s much easier to approach one person than a group.

  4. Lately, I’ve been setting my alarm for 6 am and going to Ashtanga yoga in my neighbourhood before my husband and toddler wake up.

    If my husband is away traveling or at a show for work, which he often is, I have a beer, order my favourite Indian food and watch either a Wes Anderson or Harry Potter movie. It’s my most therapeutic trinity of things!

  5. Kristie says...

    I love a good freedom run alone in the hills! I work part time and it’s my favorite thing to do after school drop off on my week day off. Sometimes I come home and take a hot bath mid afternoon before I pickup the kids from school! The more indulgent it feels, the better the benefit!

  6. Raphaelle says...

    I go for a run every morning around 6:30am while everyone’s still asleep.
    i used to think that people who did that were either crazy of had way more energy than I do, but I forced myself to try it for a week, and now I’m a convert! I’ve suffered from insomnia for years, but since I started this new routine, I’ve never slept better in my life. I’m out at 9:30pm, and up at 6am. I have a ton of energy, my skin is glowing, I’m a better mom for it!

  7. Capucine says...

    I actually think this is a watershed question; far vaster, deeper and more important than it seems for women who are mothering.

    I get every Saturday off, starting after breakfast until 12:30. It is my only time I’m not taking care of someone right now. I create in my art space in our home; paint, sketch, knit, sew – nothing for anyone. My husband generally takes the kids on a bike ride. For the last year, I’ve worked through Marie Kondo’s sorting steps one hour of my Saturday at a time. I started this Saturday-inviolate routine after my second baby. I knew I need something to fill me up when I was drained, and the time to do it. Demanding that time and allowing myself to begin creating art were two of the hardest, most courageous things I have ever done. If you poll a room of mothers about their partner taking the kids on a set time and day weekly, you will realize what I mean about courage: asking for that is HARD. Identifying what fills you up so you have a hobby to turn to with snippets of free time is also very HARD.

    I recommend Marie Kondo’s sorting if you have no idea what hobby is ‘you’ and no courage to ask for regular reliable alone time. Sorting your stuff can break up the icebergs in the way!

    • I recently read The Fringe Hours, which is about exactly this. If you haven’t yet, it sounds like you would really relate to the book. I’m not yet a mother, but found a lot of value in it.

  8. I totally relate to Liz’s story about being jealous of the workers on the highway! I used to be super physically active when I was in school– played multiple sports and all that, and like she said, really craved physical activity. Now as a new mom, I rarely have time to workout and I’m really missing that. I taught high school for a few years and would get so jealous seeing all my students playing sports all the time! I guess I need to quit moping and join a gym.

  9. Alicia says...

    I used to use any time that I wasn’t with the kids for getting something else done (ie chores, groceries, laundry, hang a shelf) because I would feel so guilty to do nothing with my time. But then I started getting resentful of my husband who actually has some great hobbies. Now I take that time for myself. I might watch a tv show or listen to a podcast. Still working on the guilt though.

  10. Simone says...

    Knitting with a glass of wine or a nice beer. Or the soak in the tub with Epsom salts, always a good backup! Lately, too, I’ve been having fun with those adult coloring books that are all the rage.

  11. I knit.
    I brush my dogs till they are their fluffiest. (Amazingly relaxing)
    and sometimes I like to take a long drive with the car windows down, singing along with Petula Clark.
    xx

  12. Ali says...

    Great tips! I love to take a walk in the evening around our neighborhood while listening to a podcast.

  13. i think my favorite comment is from the woman who snuck away to the caribbean for the weekend with with friends and no social media trail! would love to put my husband on baby duty and do that this winter :)

  14. I come home early from work, leave my son at the daycare until 5 p.m. and just veg on the couch, reading blogs, and doing absolutely NOTHING.

    I also like to read, clean out my closet, blog and go over my budget… sick. I know.

  15. Tori says...

    I have a newborn (almost 4 weeks) and am cherishing this time with her but I did not realize how much alone time I was used to now that I have none. I heard women talk about not having time to shower, and wondered how that was possible? Well, it is real!! I have never enjoyed a hot shower so much in my life! Also, before the baby I loved solo grocery store runs on early weekend mornings, quiet walks to work, and cooking or baking in my kitchen.

  16. Courtney says...

    I’m lucky enough to live three miles from my sister-in-law (a fellow soon-to-be second-time Mommy with a toddler). Our kids are only four months apart and our second(s) are due within a month of one another. And, while play time often includes snippets of me time because of our fortunate circumstances, we have a weekly date. Wednesday nights are Mommy nights — meaning Mommy is gone. Obviously, it doesn’t always work out, but more often than not it does. We tried it without the scheduling at first and it just didn’t work. Now, Daddy expects one-on-one time, we have no excuses and we have a great time. What do we do? That’s the wonderful thing; whatever we want. This week we’re getting pedicures, and I’m sure we’ll soon be back to pairing wine with the new and best local cuisine :)

    To those mommies struggling with guilt — it’s good for them! Really, let Daddy be the “person;” if only for a few hours…

  17. My morning time is my favorite time. Sometimes, I’m lucky enough to have morning AND night time. At night, I take a bath, light a candle and read up on a few articles or watch a good movie. In the morning, I enjoy every single sip of my coffee and plan my week.

  18. Madison says...

    Although I try to find little things throughout the day that are all about me (i.e. enjoying my morning smoothie) my absolute favorite thing to do is go to the movies by myself, in the middle of the day, in the middle of the week. I love curling up by myself with a tub of popcorn and no responsibilities while I get caught up in what i’m watching on the big screen.

  19. Erika says...

    Me time? Reading A Cup of Jo. Every night as soon as my daughter falls asleep.

  20. This quote is the best thing I’ve read all week. Legit LOLs solicited. “We felt so guilty about abandoning our friends and family in the bitter cold that we swore a vow of secrecy and left no social media trail.”

  21. Justine says...

    I begin to the same online gym as Allison and those workouts are indeed a sanity saver! I used to wait until I was alone in the house to do them, but now I just power through them along side the family while they are doing other stuff. They know not to bug me when I’m sweating, lol.

  22. Lindsey says...

    Reading this blog is one of my favorite daily “me time” activities!

  23. Allison says...

    things i love to do when i’m alone:

    1) eat cereal right from the box while watching bravo and/or netflix documentaries
    2) escape the city and go for a long drive in the country
    3) scroll through old photos on my phone
    4) leave dishes in the sink for as long as i want
    5) hangout with my boyfriend in silence (this counts as being alone, right?)

  24. Michele says...

    “Me time” is so hard for me. I’m an older mom (had my son when I was 47 – I’m 50 now) and work full-time. I don’t even feel like I have time to get stuff done, like clean the house, let alone to do something for me. I also feel so guilty for doing something alone. I feel that I’m missing out on being with my son and can’t enjoy myself. Logically, I know it would be good but I feel like I’m stuck. I”m not sure what’s the answer.

  25. We have coined the term “private time” with our kids. That’s when we can go to our bedroom, shut the door, and have complete calm, while the other parent watches the kid. For alone time, I love going to the spa, or even just window shopping on my own. Or a cup of coffee with my phone or a good book. More often than not, my alone time, involved me passing out of tiredness on my bed for a luxurious afternoon nap.

    Analog House
    http://theanaloghouse.blogspot.com/

  26. Bethany says...

    I, too, love to ride my bike. It is such a quiet and calming activity for me and I feel like, for once, I’m moving a little faster than the world around me.

  27. Jen says...

    I drink whisky and watch movies while taking a bath. Sooooo good. As a kid I used to read in the bath, but now I really like candlelit nighttime baths with whisky, but then I get bored after a while! So having my laptop on a stool next to the bath means I’m really chilling out but not bored, and it’s the perfect time to watch terrible films you know your partner would never watch with you. Especially for Friday nights, when you’re all tuckered out from the working week!

  28. Nora says...

    I take 5-15 minute breaks 4-5 times every day where I get to contemplate, or soak myself in gratitude for all those small things I take for granted (being alive! living in peace, having good food and healthy kids) or breathe and let myself feel grounded in the moment…. I’m an introvert and need time alone to recharge and function, and both kids AND adults wouldn’t dream of interrupting or disturbing prayer time! Best excuse to be left alone when I need a few mommy minutes to myself >D

    Since I had my second kiddie I’ve swapped jogging for fast walks in the mornings with her in a wrap on my back, I find the motion also seems to be an energy outlet for her and she naps better and longer – which means time for mommy to have tea in the company of Dr Who before everyone comes home.

  29. Laura C says...

    As a non working mom with two little girls, I only have ‘me time’ in the mornings… like now, I like to read cup of jo, sending emails and watching some Scandal or Person of Interest episodes!
    Oh, and that shower with no knocking at the door- priceless.
    xxx

  30. I travel a lot wth work and often on my own. At first I (and my boyfriend probably too) was worried about how this will affect the dynamics of our relationship but it actually makes us miss each other and appreciate each other more.

    My favorite things to do when I’m (travelling) alone include:

    – Getting lost in a new city (knowing I have maps on my phone just in case helps) and just walking around with no direction or plan
    – Reading in cafes in busy places where you can take a break from your book every so often and just people-watch
    – Eating cupcakes for breakfast, lunch AND dinner because I can!
    – Shopping! Even if I don’t buy anything, I can try on 15 dresses and 100 pairs of shoes without being frowned upon

  31. I’ve recently made a new rule for myself that when I’m given alone time, I can’t sneak in other family-related errands. I would sometimes find myself at Target buying diapers, convincing myself that at least I grabbed a coffee or a magazine for myself. But it didn’t provide any actual down time. I’ve decided to completely ignore errands and fully focus on being alone or just having fun. I take a walk, get a pedicure, call a friend or read a book at a nearby coffee shop. I loved this post and reading the responses.

  32. Dee says...

    I was just telling myself last night, what would I give to just finish a damn book in a matter of days like I used to? But truth is, my me-time is office lunch time reading Cup of Jo! :) Weekends, just a few sneaks of Instagram here and there.

  33. What a great idea. It must feel better on your end that they WANT you to go.
    I struggled with this for a while and then I figured out what was wrong. I wrote about it here:
    http://myowngoldstar.com/2015/08/24/figuring-out-happiness/
    bc not everyone’s idea of a relaxing time is the same…which is so evident from the comments above. Your posts are always so spot on!

  34. Tracy says...

    i just read all the comments; this was so good and gave me great ideas that I’m going to try with my husband and kiddos! Istarted getting monthly massages when I was pregnant with my 2nd, and after he was born I kept on going! I’ve found it amazingly restorative. I realized I could probably use that time to work out…but nah ;) I’ll figure out the exercise thing in time. I’m still somewhat astounded by how little (no) time there is with working full time and now 2 kids. I also try to work from home on Mondays as a way to ease into the work week, and it gives me the silence I crave after a noisy house all weekend and before my coworkers inundate me with questions.
    Shopping alone sounds sooooo good right now. For now it’s a whole lot of online shopping! ?

  35. Nina says...

    Wondering around hobby lobby or TJ Maxx is delightful sans child. Getting my nails done is another wow, this feels so decadent and lovely. I recently started a new job ans work 4 10hr days. Its been nice to have some time for me…then go have lunch with my son at school and volunteer I. His classroom. But he was sick Thursday and Friday and seemed better Sunday but claimed he was still sick today- my day off! So aggravated! I wanted/needed my me time. ! I am making his Halloween costume…a wolf tail that is taking an inordinate amount of time…so he watched tv in the living room and I went into the bedroom and watched you tube videos of Jimmy Fallon and worked on his tail. A few hours of laughing and I felt much better!

  36. Netflix marathon on the couch!

    The other night I went to a concert by myself. That was probably by far the best me time I’d had in a long time. It was amazing! :)

  37. Joanna, you actually inspired me to start an article club with my girlfriends. Our first club meeting was in July and we are loving it so far! I quickly threw together a tumblr site to keep track of everything we are reading/casting and eating and we have been using Doodle (another great rec!) to choose our monthly meeting date. Among us we have a beautiful blend of working professionals; some are moms some are not, and some stay at home. The perspectives are fascinating and the opportunity to break out of our normal routines is such a treat. It’s lovely to see how you are building communities of women through the ideas you share on Cup of Jo. Many thanks again. xo

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Aww, I’m so happy to hear that, Rachel! Made my day :)

  38. Jen says...

    I am REALLY bad at taking alone time. My daughter is now 9 months old and I still feel a little guilty when I go to do things by myself like GROCERY SHOPPING! WAXING APPOINTMENTS! But I try to practice mindfulness whenever I do have time to myself and that’s what really helps! Being present in the moments I do have to myself.

  39. I start work at 12.00pm every day so in the mornings I do ‘me’ time if I can. Lately its been re watching Greek and just relaxing as I have only just started work after 2 years of being unemployed and I find I need to take the mornings to slow. Once or twice a week I head down to work early and window shop at the shopping centre across from work, its still a novelty that I have money and I don’t have watch everything I spend!
    I am not an introvert or an extrovert I find it just depends on who I am spending time with and how my anxiety is going. There are days where I need to lock myself away and have more ‘me’ time as my anxiety has flared up and I just need to focus on myself!
    I also love going to cafes and enjoying a slice of cake and reading a book for a couple of hours. I love finding cafes that are hidden gems and having this special spot where I can go for a bit.

  40. Melissa says...

    I never used to work out ever, even before my little guy was born. But T25 has been changing my life! It’s 25 minutes a day and I feel so empowered and stronger because of it.

    I’ve done it with my husband occasionally and we have so much fun just laughing and challenging each other! We actually can’t wait to buy Cize, it’s a dance workout program Shaun T came out with. I mean how fun to just be in the privacy of your home doing a dance routine with your hubby or by yourself. I can not dance hahah!

  41. Gretchen says...

    I’ve tried the solo glass of vino out with a magazine, book or my notebook to write down. Once you settle into the newness of it, I is extremely relaxing.

  42. Mac says...

    I indulge in a hot bath + book nearly every night. My girls take two hour afternoon naps (AT THE SAME TIME, YOU GUYS) and I spend the first hour being productive (while listening to podcasts) and the second hour catching a nap myself, reading, or watching Antiques Roadshow which I am not ashamed to say I LOVE. Friday mornings my husband takes the girls for donuts while I get a sleep-in, and Sundays me and the girls make breakfast together to return the favor. Plus I’m in two different monthly book clubs, so I get out with friends two nights a month. As I write this, I’m wondering if one can overindulge at me time…

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that sounds great! good for you, mama! xo

  43. As a SAHM, it took me awhile to admit my need for “me time!” Luckily I snapped outa that craziness! Haha!

    First, “me time” out of the house on my own is essential to my survival! Haha! Every other Saturday is my day. I like to go buy a big ol coffee & treat, go to the library to pick up our holds & read in a window seat. I also love getting my nails done. Recently I discovered how much I enjoy going to thrift shops on Saturday mornings. This Saturday I found some gems! I came home with a big ol smile!

    Second, “me time” on a daily basis is important too. I listen to podcasts during my daughter’s nap. I have a routine of making myself a yummy afternoon drink whether it’s an ice coffee or a La Croix virgin mixed drink (mint & grapes)! Also Friday’s are my movie/tv day! During Luna’s nap, Friday afternoon you will find me on the couch (no matter if the dryer is filled with laundry!), I watch a movie.

  44. Hanne says...

    Evenings home alone with our son, post-bedtime: tea, knitting, TV, Netflix and reading books, blogs, news, magazines and news papers. I love knitting (I never thought I would become that woman!) and I get a lot of great patterns and inspiration from Paelas.

    Once a week, when my husband is home, I go interval training with my sister, HIGHLY recommended!! 4×4, so easy and so effective.

  45. Twyla says...

    My mental-health me-time consists of an Earl Grey tea latte, blog-reading, and crossword puzzles. I try to get out of the house to do this or I end up cleaning something. I also try to incorporate a relaxing essential oil blend so my mind can calm down.

  46. Christine says...

    I’m a bit of an introvert so as much as I love coffee or dinner with friends, etc. it doesn’t count as “me” time to me because the thing i need most is time ALONE. Even if it’s time alone in a sea of other people, like wandering around the mall or something. I found that not being able to just go out and do random errands for an hour was a thing that really got to me when I had my first. I need time out like that after a full day home with 2 (I’m on maternity leave), and I’ll need it just as much when I’m back at work as I’m in a professional environment were I’m “on” and surrounded by people all day. Oh, and exercise doesn’t count for me because I do it because I “have” to, not because I enjoy it…. But for some reason a trip out of the house alone, and with no deadline, is just what I need after a trying day — even if I only make it to the grocerystore.

    • Tracy says...

      Omg reading this was like looking into a mirror!! I feel the same exact way, and my job is the same with people around constantly around me. Hope you get your time after going back to work. If you can swing it, working from home one day a week (or every other week) helps a bit. It does for me at least. Some of those days, I work and do house chores, other times I’m strictly working, and sometimes I go run errands on my lunch “break”! I still need more me time than that, but after a usually hectic weekend (going from 1 to 2 kids is no joke, huh?), I tend to look forward to Mondays since I get the house all to myself!

    • Tracy says...

      I just read what I typed and realized that wasn’t very relaxing-sounding “me” time haha. The fact that you’re alone feels amazing, as you can imagine :)

    • Christine, thank you for writing this! I am a young mom, and since our little boy joined our family, my husband has regularly encouraged me to go out for girls’ nights to recharge (bless him!), but I usually find myself MORE exhausted afterward. Reading your post, I had an AHA moment! The introvert in me needs alone time to recharge! For my next girls’ night, I will be taking a solo trip to the mall. Thanks, again, for the epiphany moment.

  47. Knit, loads of knitting and day dreaming x

  48. whenever i get an (albeit rare) night to myself with no projects due or work to bring home yadda yadda yadda. i go down the road to this ritzy restaurant i used to hang out in in my 20’s (all my friends were servers then- now I know no one which is even better). i order a glass of lemony prosecco (or two) and their intensely decadent flourless chocolate torte. i bring a book or chat with other people at the swanky bar (so many people stop to tell me i’ve “got it all figured out!”) and just let myself feel chill and youngish and fancy-free. it’s usually a $20 indulgence and it takes me a lot farther than it would have spent on anything else “normal” or “necessary”. i’m a better mama and wife for it. <3

  49. Jenny says...

    Getting kicked out of the house reminded me of something a friend of friend does: she tells her kids she’s going to work. They don’t twig on that it’s Saturday night and she’s heading out to dinner with friends. Bye mom!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahaha that’s hilarious!

  50. Samantha says...

    Napping on Saturday afternoons when I actually have a free Saturday afternoon is just priceless. My week days are very busy, and so are my Saturday mornings. On Saturday nights I always go out and on Sundays I usually spend the day with my boyfriend. So, Saturday naps are very special to me. Also, if I have the extra money to do so, I like to get pedicures at a nail bar. It’s more expensive than a regular pedicure at a salon, but the place is nicer and more relaxing, the attentions are much better and the nail polish on my toes looks impecable for about 3 weeks. I don’t know how they do it!

  51. Suzanne says...

    As a working momma, me time is called the lunch hour, which allows me to knock off errands, indulge in coffee with a friend (or, lately, browse AirBnB from my desk for that perfect dreamy Paris studio rental). Doing so frees up golden weekend family time and allows me to be present and play without thinking of errands that need doing . So love your blog, Joanna. Like you, I hail from the mitten state, did the law school thing and married a Brit! Must be the water here.

  52. When I do get alone time I get cozy in bed and watch a movie that I have never seen before! I make a rootbeer float or some other treat and take far too many pictures of my cat!
    xoxo Kennedy
    Northern Indigo

  53. That’s such a lovely way of you taking time out!

    I’ve always sewn whenever I’ve had any free time. When my children were small I made lots of things for them, but as they’ve got older I’ve also increasingly focused on making clothes for myself! I love putting on a podcast and becoming completely absorbed in the familiar processes of setting in a sleeve or binding a neckline. It feels like my version of meditation…(albeit one that curiously results in a wardrobe of handmade clothes!).

  54. Tracy says...

    One of our favorite family traditions is a Friday night “sleepover” where my husband and young son cuddle and ultimately spend the night together in our king bed, often watching sports or a movie, while Mom gets an early night of reading/bath/relaxing, capped off with a full night of sleep in the guest room. It is heaven for me to get a few hours of quiet space, and everyone loves it!

  55. Betsy says...

    The gym. Forever and always the gym.

  56. Becca says...

    I am a person who likes to be alone and since having my daughter and working outside of the house full time it’s rarely happened. Mostly my fault I think, I think I don’t want to miss any of the fun my husband and daughter would have. However we’re 4 weeks from #2 and I am getting weepy just reading this – what I wouldn’t give for a “cozy mystery” (LOVE that), tea & cookies, and a blanket. Not the best time to resolve to get more “me” time but maybe it’s a good future goal. Thanks for posting the question Jo!

  57. I can’t remember the last time I was alone and had me time. It’s been at least 2 years. I think there was a day when the husband took the oldest out for an afternoon before my daughter was born. The closest thing is my 4:30-7 am chore time each day before the kids get up and 8-9 pm after the kids are asleep, when the husband and I sit down and watch tv. I’m knitting if I’m not too tired, which isn’t too often lately.

  58. Ali says...

    I am enjoying reading these comments and the hobbys that so many have. My two littlies have just started mornings at Kindergarten, and I have a few hours peace to do whatever I want. By whatever, there are things that take precedence. At the moment, I am using it to study for a German exam (we are Aussies living in Germany) so I can return to work. If I didn’t have to, then I think I would enjoy going window-shopping by myself, because finding out which stores are where and have what with two littlies has been surprisingly hard. Time spent at laid-back coffee shops and a good weekend newspaper is probably next, because that is what I used to love doing pre-children.

  59. Liz J says...

    Both my partner and I are only children, so we’re used to, and both love, alone time, which is such a welcome change for exes who were frustrated that I didn’t want them to come with me on every expedition! I’m in my early 20s and find that not a lot of people my age seem to like having big chunks of time to themselves, but I operate on it. Sometimes (rarely) I feel lonely, but mainly I feel lucky I don’t need to rely on other people for enjoyment.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that’s so interesting. alex is the same as you guys, and when we first started dating, i was weirded out that he wanted to take walks alone, go read in the bedroom, etc. sometimes. but of course now i know he’s just an introvert and recharges by being alone — and then comes right back out to hang afterward! meanwhile, i’m such an extrovert, i actually get sort of tired and sad if i hang out alone for too long. i’m kind of jealous of people who can happily spend time alone!

  60. Very interesting to read about everyone’s version of relaxation! I actually relate to spending alone time cleaning the closet or organizing things, because it makes me feel accomplished (and I can also put my favorite TV show on in the background!)

    -Nicole
    Meet Me in Midtown

  61. I, in fact, do the old Epsom salt bath routine. I’m convinced they detoxify my body, and from the perspective of the bathtub, my tiny NYC bathroom actually seems bigger.

  62. Mischu says...

    Alone time is such a rarity! Since I became a mom life has radically changed and getting dressed up to go out is no longer part of my weekly to-do list. I have to admit, going out is no longer such a priority, but if I find myself with alone time I rummage through my dress closet and try on everything. My daily uniform revolves around mostly pants or jeans since I spend a lot of time on the floor playing with my son or working at school. Wearing utilitarian clothes ameliorates that daily rush, but once in a while I enjoy revisiting the dress days.

  63. Jordan says...

    My comment is sort of unrelated, but I would love to know how Lina was able to watch “The Wolfpack”! I tried looking around but the only websites I can find say that it is not available until October. I am a high school History teacher and this semester I am teaching Sociology – this documentary looks so interesting and would certainly tie into my curriculum! Sorry for the random question!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh yes! i asked her because it doesn’t seem to be available until october 13th, and she thinks she remembers watching on verizon on demand. hope that helps!!

  64. I’ve been listening to podcasts (“Undisclosed” and “Serial Dynasty” are two favorites right now) while I color my Enchanted Forest adult-coloring book and sipping a good cold glass of rosé. Perfect trifecta.

    • Maggie says...

      This +1,000

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      love that!

  65. I’m not a mom, but I work full time and still live with my parents (not so unusual where I come from), so I consider it “me” time when I’m alone in the kitchen cooking just for me, when I can get out of town for the weekend to a beach house or a mountain house and read my books, go to the beach, watch movies, eat whatever I want, when I go to my ballet lessons or the gym, twice or 3 times a year when I take a long foam bath, and when I have the luxury to go on a trip abroad alone and spend the time however I like: discovering the city, staying at the hotel, eating alone, doing things in my own pace!

    • Lea says...

      It’s a bit eerie how you basically took the words out of my mouth and wrote them down before I had the chance! :)

  66. I create! Being home with just the kids all day I find my mind filled with ideas- a painting I’d like to make or a book I’d love to write (always a children’s books of course). So I wait until “me time” arrives and then I grab some tea and get to work!

  67. I love scrapbooking, or what’s really a hybrid journal. I buy notebooks (exclusively Five Star when I first started, but now branching out to 4×6, 5×7, and patterned notebooks) and cut out favorite images and articles from magazines, add in business cards of new restaurants I’ve enjoyed, plus handwritten letters and postcards from family and friends, ticket stubs from shows (movies, ballet, plays, etc.) that I liked…and write my thoughts and memories, caption-style, to them, sort of like a master magazine/hard copy of a blog. :) The notebooks act as time capsules of who I was and what I was interested at a given point in time. It’s a soothing way for me to put my thoughts in order and work with my hands and be able to touch something tangible that *I* made, at the end of most days when I’m working on a computer.

    P.S. This activity is best done when sitting cross-legged on the carpet with a favorite old movie or Seinfeld rerun on TV. :)

  68. Rachel says...

    I always seem to gravitate toward the piano whenever I get even a few minutes of me time. The second I start playing, it’s like I’m in another world where time passes in some unknown way. By the time I surface, 10 minutes or an hour may have passed. I always have to check the clock to know. :) There’s something about it that is so restorative.

  69. Anne says...

    Yesterday, after a long week of working (including most of the weekend), I just felt tired from all the thinking I’d done. So I decided to give myself a break from reality and to indulge in some daydreaming. I set my alarm, curled up in bed and allowed myself to just dream away.

  70. I love going out for a long, slow walk with a podcast. Or, if I’m feeling extra lazy, an episode of The Good Wife in bed. I’m currently marathon-ing it on Amazon and it’s SO GOOD.

  71. Theresa says...

    Aw, “me” time…definitely a different beast after having a child. I’m a bit of an older Mom (42) with a 16 month old and I used to have “me” time A LOT! Now, trying to carve out me time is a bit challenging, but after she goes to bed I try to catch up on my mindless, TV watching on the DVR and my husband and I try (we need to get better) to swap out time when she naps on the weekend. I grapple with the fact we have two days on the weekend as a family (we both work full time), so sometimes taking time to myself makes me feel guilty…working on it! Any guidance on this would be great or maybe a motherhood post on this topic! :)

  72. Liv says...

    I love to indulge in trashy content. The Daily News, Fox Five, local news channel, Daily Mail and of course reality TV.

  73. Mary says...

    Workout. Every night my boyfriend watches our daughter and they make dinner together while I go run or go in the basement and do p90x. I hadn’t worked out for around 5 years and after having a baby was feeling pretty bad about my appearance and my health. Now I’m addicted and feel good about the way I look but more importantly love the way I feel on the inside. Also I love that everyday my boyfriend and daughter have one hour that’s just about them and not about mommy. They have their own inside jokes, stories, games, etc which makes my heart so happy.

  74. yael steren says...

    I don’t have a child, but whenever I have me time, I usually love to sit back with a book or watch some tv! xo yael

    http://www.yaelsteren.com/blog/

  75. Lindsay says...

    I am on may leave right now with two boys (3 and 5 months) and have quiet time every afternoon but find that I spend it cleaning or prepping dinner and don’t find it relaxing at all, so I am making an effort to go out in the evening for a walk with the dog and listen to podcasts. It’s a luxury to do this with two hands free and both the dog and I get exercise — a win-win. And I’m loving the Limetown podcast now!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      what did we do before podcasts? :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      PS and congratulations on your little one!

  76. grace says...

    catch up on news and favorite blogs, like cup of jo! ;)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      my favorite answer yet ;)

    • GoldenMoon says...

      Yup. Ditto. With the first free moment when the wees are asleep I peek right here to step out of my world to peek through the keyhole of the universe that Joanna rolls out for the day. Works like a charm for entertainment, provocative thought, news, cool tips on self care and of course everything fashionable around the sun. Thank you for the self care source that you offer me!

  77. Dee says...

    I love to take a nice, long, quiet nap in my house or pop on Sex & the City DVDS. Also, I noticed I get a lot more done around the house if my husband isn’t home so I will clean the entire house and I also try to get it done before he gets there to impress him with how hard I’ve worked. There’s something kinda therapeutic about cleaning. I’m not a big cleaner but when it’s quiet in the house it’s nice to get it done.

    • tod says...

      my granny always told me not to clean when my husband is away but to clean when he’s home so that he knows how much work it is. She said that men otherwise just get accustomed to a clean house and after a while they don’t appreciate it anymore :-)))

  78. I don’t have kids yet, so I guess all my time could be “me” time, but at the moment I’m in my last semester of university, and working on my blog, so those take up a lot of my time. When I want to take time for myself, I love reading a good book, listening to music (especially The Smiths), or watching my favourite episodes of Gilmore Girls while painting my nails.

    Kristi | Be Loverly

  79. Meghann says...

    Hiking.. we live in the Black Hills of South Dakota and quick, beautiful hikes are just out our back door.

    If that doesn’t seem to strike my fancy, treasure hunting in thrift shops or yard sales. Recent finds include vintage levis, old maps, and clay pots all under $1.

    If the boys are napping, yoga and mediation.

  80. Amy says...

    I have the same goal as Sarah – we’re about to have our third (of hopefully four!) and right now the non-napping 4yo has a one-hour quiet time in our bedroom that overlaps with the 2yo’s afternoon nap. When his nap starts fading I’ll let him know that he can either play quietly in the bedroom until a timer goes or take a nap; his choice.
    I’ll pre-cook dinner, tackle a small project, sit on the couch and stare at a plant, or take a nap. I think it’s good for the 4yo to learn to self-entertain (she’s very good at it now, and when I overhear conversations between her and her teddies it’s both amazing and hilarious!) and it’s definitely good for me. That downtime really helps me feel ready to tackle Part II of the day, especially when my husband is sailing for weeks at a time and there’s no relief coming at 5pm.

  81. Naomi says...

    As a stay-at-home mom, of a 2 year old and a 3 month old, and Navy wife, I rarely get alone time. But if by chance both kids are napping, I love making and using homemade face masks! And when my husband is not away training, I honestly, really enjoy grocery shopping alone. Funny, but it’s such a luxury to have my husband home to watch the kids!

  82. I realized recently that when I do have down time, I mostly spend it doing really mellow, vegging things. I LOVE to veg + putter (and need a lot of it :), but I was also realizing… “learning and growing” also makes me feel good and more vibrant. It’s something that I did so naturally when I was younger, but then once I got tired from work, it was just at the absolute bottom of my priority list.

    So now, after I’ve had a bit of total mellow time, I’ve been trying to think about “learning and growing” a bit. I’ve been learning guitar (very slowly!), and occasionally writing really bad stories, and sometimes I make collages. Love this post!

    Luscious + Intuitive Eating | http://www.katieseaver.com/

  83. annie g says...

    Getting time to yourself is important – and starting early is good. Kids need to know that you will go away but…come back again. Just like they do when they go off to school. A degree of selfishness (I know, the shock, the horror!) keeps you sane.

  84. In the last month or so, I’ve been going back to my creative roots and making paintings in a little studio space I’ve put together in the basement of our home. I’ve got two fine art degrees and have been painting on and off my whole life, but fell out of the habit a few years ago when I started my family. Now I’m rediscovering the joy in this activity and have even opened an online shop (link above) to share my artwork out into the world. I’ve only got a few hours a week to paint, and always after the kids are asleep, but it’s my precious “me” time!

  85. In the last month or so, I’ve been going back to my “roots” and making paintings in a little studio space I’ve put together in the basement of our home. I’ve got two fine art degrees and have been painting on and off my whole life, but fell out of the habit a few years ago when I started my family. Now I’m rediscovering the joy in this activity and have even opened an online shop (link above) to share my artwork out into the world. I’ve only got a few hours a week to paint, and always after the kids are asleep, but it’s my precious “me” time!

  86. Cynthia says...

    When my girls were little, my husband watched them on Sunday afternoons while I went to the fabric store. Mostly, I just wandered around and looked at the fabrics and patterns. I came home refreshed. I sew and do machine embroidery when I have free time. Sometimes I just relax on the love seat with a glass of wine and our dog. We have an empty nest, but I still teach full time(high school), and I look out for my mom, who still lives alone. And of course, the housework. It was so pretty this past weekend, I sat out on the porch and read on Saturday afternoon, and yesterday, I gave myself a pedicure outside. The Sally Hansen no light gel polishes are great!

  87. Emma says...

    I often use my “me time” to sew my own clothing. I find it’s a perfect thing for some solo Mama time…it’s productive, requires just enough brainpower, and I feel like I’m giving MYSELF something after giving so much to my littles all day. Sometimes I’ll stream Netflix reruns on my phone if I’m craving some background noise, but a lot of times I’ll just happily sew away and soak up the quiet. Bliss!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      wow, that is awesome!

    • Lori Jay says...

      I keep saying I’m going to take sewing lessons!

  88. Your husband is a genius!

    • Jody says...

      Yes! I love that he came up with an adorable way to make it easier for you to escape.

    • Jenny says...

      A friend of mine tells her kids that she’s going to work. If they know she’s going out to meet friends they are inconsolable to be left behind. Think she’s going work? BYE MUM.

  89. My favorite me-time routine feels luxurious but it’s so simple: I watch movie alone + give myself a mani/pedi. I’ve been doing this for most of my life, ever since I was a teenager. As an adult I’ve added chocolate and wine to the routine. There’s something about it that I find restorative, a reminder that I’m allowed to take care of myself, indulge my tastes and preferences (picking the movie, the treats, the nail color) without anyone around to influence me, and just relax completely. Saturday night my husband was working, so I watched Eat Pray Love with a glass of Pinot Noir and a bar of dark chocolate, and my nails are Minkmuffs from Essie. :)

  90. Kay says...

    My guiltiest me-time indulgence: historical romance novels. Don’t tell anyone, because I have an advanced degree in literature and writing. But some of them are really well-written! Seriously!

    • I love this. I’m also an English major with a guilty-pleasure thing for romantic fiction. Jojo Moyes is a recent favorite of mine.

    • Outlander?

    • Lauren E. says...

      Me three! English major here, also weirdly addicted to cozy mysteries (i.e. mystery novels that I can read home alone and not get scared of every creak in my apartment, but that also include recipes in the back and give long, detailed descriptions of food).

    • Shenoa says...

      The Dandy Gilver series by Catriona MacPherson is such a well-written cozy series. The heroine is so witty and wise. I am always so sad when I’ve passed the halfway point of a new one.

  91. My favorite thing to decompress is going out on a walk. So simple but for me, it does wonders. I particularly love it when I can take my dogs though I recently moved and had to leave them with my parents. It’s sad, though the walks by myself still work!

    XX LAURA
    girlwhowrites.com

  92. Rebecca says...

    This is great! I love to get a fresh kombucha and color. (There are so many great, meditative adult coloring books these days – might be a fun blog post!) As I leave the house, I tell my kids, “Nooo fun allowed without me!” And of course, they hoot and yell that they are going to have SO much fun. Works (almost) every time! ;)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      That’s so cute about your kids. Also how cool about coloring — the Secret Garden book looks especially beautiful and apparently sold more than a million copies: http://amzn.to/1LICJrb

    • Aidel.K says...

      Alisa Burke has some wonderful coloring pages on her site that you can print out. (It’s fun to do them with kids when you’re not having alone time.)

  93. Jessica C says...

    I don’t have kids yet, but as an introvert – I constantly need “me time”! I enjoy being with friends, but I always need to come home and “relax” afterwards in order to recharge! I love watching Family Feud by myself and shouting out the answers :)

  94. Natasa says...

    I go for a run and enjoying the rush of endorphins afterwards.

  95. My “me” time is a long, hot shower after the little guy goes to sleep. Every few days I tell my husband that I’m going to the spa for half an hour. The “spa” is shower time with a glass of wine. I wash my hair, exfoliate, and sip vino. It’s such an enjoyable little block of time!

  96. I have a quiet time when my little one hangs out in her bed either reading or sleeping for a hour each day. This is good oppourtunity for me to shower if I haven’t yet, read or start dinner. On the weekends I sometimes get an hour or two to myself. My favorite is to walk with headphones around the city, sometimes a little shopping but just being out alone is so lovely. Sometimes I think that I should be having a glass of wine with a friend instead of “doing nothing” but its always spur of the moment, and I have to remind myself that its not nothing to me, its freeing.

  97. I knit…for my kids. Is that weird? I also listen to audiobooks while I knit. I used to sew clothes for myself, but found it actually to be really stressful, because any time I didn’t get something perfect I felt like I had wasted my precious time and money. Children’s clothing doesn’t need fitting so it’s relaxing and I feel creative/productive!

  98. I know when your children are little, the whole concept of “me time” is practically hilarious but as they grow you get more and more of this time. Promise :) I have 2 teenaged sons now and me-time is now doing things alone that I craved when I still had hands in mine or pulling on my pantlegs. Grocery shopping for 3 hours, label reading, taste testing, menu planning….going to farmers markets, 3 different groceries to get the sales :) Taking a 2 hour time out to pick up a fabulous coffee, drive to a neighbouring area and going into shop at a store I’ve heard of of stalked online!

    But truly, downtime now includes my boys. Having a “date” with either of my guys is heaven and so important knowing I must slow down and pay attention during these very touchy years. We hit the movies, take a hike, go for ice cream, throw stones at the beach….some of my best discussions with my children have happened on random car rides to nowhere at all.

    Sending all of you…15 minutes alone in your bathroom. Cause that’s what you really want right? LOL

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      or a shower alone! one shower with no one knocking on the door! what i would give… :)

  99. Megan says...

    I can’t totally empathize with kids-free me-time YET as a newlywed, but I must say… My husband was out of town for the first time since we’ve lived together this past weekend, and much as I missed him, it was a JOY to be able to watch whatever I wanted on television, to have just snacks/dessert for dinner, and to hog the whole bed! It felt luxurious! Newlywed decision fatigue is a real thing, and it was nice to take a quick break, but, I was even more thrilled to have him back last night.

  100. Mallory Schulte says...

    My husband and I refer to alone time affectionately as “Mamma Mindy Time” from the TV series Friday night lights. The affectionate title makes it fun to declare the time for yourself. Typically, I like to bake something and eat an embarrassing amount while sipping a glass of wine/beer.

  101. My husband and I sometimes do “shift” days on the weekend where we each get a few hours of alone time.

    Mostly though, I have a sneaky half hour of me time during the work week. I leave the house with my husband and son, and get out early enough to grab a mocha and take a 20-30 minute walk through the city before heading to the office. I choose different neighborhoods (but usually end up in the West Village, where I feel most relaxed and charmed by the scenery). Sometimes instead of walking I’ll sit at a cafe and read, or sit in a park. It really works wonders for my mood and is the best way to start a workday. I look forward to it everyday!

  102. laeti says...

    I need to have Boys night at my house too! (I’m also a mom of two boys, 2 and 4). My favorite Me-time is going to the movies! For some unknown reason, my husband doesn’t enjoy theaters, so it’s not a Date thing for us. But I love it! I usually go after putting my youngest to bed, and I always get popcorn or candy!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      There’s something so nice about seeing a movie by yourself, I agree!

    • Lydia says...

      I do this too and LOVE it! There’s something so wonderful about turning your mom mind off and focusing on a different story than your own for two hours. I love sitting alone in the theater laughing as loud as I want or crying as hard as I want.

  103. I try to give myself some alone time every day, if not I don’t feel sane.
    Gym, old movies, reading, sipping coffee in a coffee shop with a magazine…anything if I can be alone for at least an hour!
    I swear I like people, but sometimes I like people only in moderation hahaha

    http://mademoiselleaventure.com

  104. Mary Jenkins says...

    I take a walk and listen to podcasts. There are so many good ones these days!

  105. I love to put on a podcast and cook dinner. When I’m alone, it doesn’t matter how late I eat or whether or not things turn out.

  106. I imagine that whoever I’m married to will give me all the “me time” in the world.. my absolute favorite way to unwind is to cook. the more courses the better, and I live for an over-the-top dessert.

    put me in the kitchen with wine (or a mimosa! ;), music, and a plan, and I’m a happy girl.

    OprahismyReligion.wordpress.com

  107. Christie says...

    I like to go shopping – first thing on Saturday morning, my husband watches our daughter and I throw some clothes on and head to my favorite outdoor mall. I buy a latte and just wander around the shops for an hour, trying on clothes (mostly not actually buying anything) and having me-time. I used to do that a lot before I met my husband so it’s a nice way to reconnect with an old life.

    • Oh I LOVVVVVEE Shopping alone like this. It’s been one of my favorite things to do since I was a teenager!

  108. Kathryn says...

    Me time? What is that? ;) We have 4 littles, so it doesn’t happen very often. But when it does I usually watch a movie and paint my nails at the same time.

  109. Jennifer says...

    I try to stay off line when I have time to myself because that always feels more restorative than losing hours to social media. My number one thing to do is drink coffee or tea at a cafe and read a book. Lately I’ve also been enjoying doing some sewing. It’s a task that takes focus and feels very productive. hand sewing especially is very meditative and calming.

  110. CM says...

    Me time–what me time? Sadly there is no me time right now. I’d love to know how others with a job, kids, elderly parents to care for and a spouse find time for Me time. I have failed miserably at it.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Do you ever switch off with your partner? Alex and I will usually do that on the weekends; for example, one of us will stay home during Anton’s nap and play with Toby, while the other parent goes for a walk, takes a bike ride, takes a nap, whatever… so you get a couple hours to yourself. Maybe that’s not feasible if you have other things you need to do, though. Sending a hug! You sound like a wonderful person.

  111. Cheers to Sarah for creating “quiet time” in a house with 4 boys! I come from a family of 3 girls, all very close together, with a single mom. My mom had no qualms about telling us to play on our own for an hour or so every day so she could hole up in her room at watch Oprah or something–we knew not to bother her unless someone was bleeding!

    And Toby pounding on the window…oh my gosh that is so funny and so sad all at the same time!

    • We’re expecting our first in May (YAY!) so I don’t have experience as a mother, but as 1 of 4 kids, my mom was big on telling us to go amuse ourselves so she could have time to read. I vividly remember running to her and having her hold up her finger because she was in the middle of a good part and wasn’t to be interrupted. Good for your mom for doing the same!

  112. On a daily basis it’s just a glass of wine on the couch after the kids are in bed, I’ll put on an old standby of a sitcom I love on Netflix, and read a magazine, draw, or paint my nails. This is what I did even as a teenager – I’ll never change! But I also try to go for a leisurely stroll around my neighborhood alone a few nights a week (my husband does the same, we take turns), and I love to read on my lunch break at work. My motto is “Happy mom, happy family”!

  113. I recently signed up for the platinum Audible subscription (you get 2 “credits” a month & it’s wayyy cheaper than buying them straightaway). I listen to audio books while taking an hour-long walk. It needs to be an hour or at least 40 minutes. Recent titles include The Royal We, Me Before You and Boys in the Boat. I don’t check texts or emails or answer any calls. It does the trick!

  114. Getting kicked out of the house- brilliant!

    I don’t do anything crazy- just yoga or resting with a latte at a coffee shop.