Get the kids in bed early

If there is one tip I could give to mothers in improving their physical and mental well-being is that – try to get your kids in bed early.

Mothers always yearn for ME TIME. The meaning differs from one mother to another but the concept is the same – having time for yourself. It can mean getting your beauty touch-ups done, time to enjoy a movie, shopping, studying or worship. It could be taking a rest from the rest of the family to just do nothing and get some quality sleep. If you have an understanding partner, they will learn to give you that time even without you asking for it. Otherwise, it will be up to us to make it happen.

If my husband is around, he would usually give me My Time on Friday afternoons – the long break between office hours or certain hours over the weekend when he brings the kids to play with their cousins at the grandparent’s house (5 mins away).

My Me Time means I could focus on my part-time studies, eat in peace and just enjoy simple things that bring me joy. I do not have a specific day for it and it usually happens at random times of the week. But one thing I am sure of is that I try to make my nights free from the kids. Which is why I turn them in early. For now, early means before 10pm. But they rarely go past 930pm unless there is a special occasion. For example, takbir raya, big family activities etc. Most of the time, especially on school nights, the house is quiet by 9pm. Leaving me to attend to my own matters such as studying, cleaning the house, doing laundry, soaking in a bathtub, extra TLC to the skin and all. Of course, I am also tempted to turn in early which I usually do anyway.

So, how does it work? Don’t the kids rebel against sleeping early? So far, not much drama. They are manageable.

I finish work by 5 pm and after fetching the kids from daycare and religious school, I would usually be able to reach home by 6PM. Latest, by 615pm. I would prepare a simple dinner. Sometimes, my MIL would give us a tiffin meal if she cooks extra. In the meantime, the kids will respectively take their own evening showers, turn on the air conditioner for the bedroom and resort to their own activities until it is time to eat.

My eldest son would use the time to complete his homework. My younger daughter would either sit with him at the table doing her ‘homework’ scribbling something, read a picture book or play with her toys. I don’t allow them to watch Tv or play games on the mobile phone on a school night. So, once my son is done with his homework, he would usually read a comic book or assemble his lego. It’s a different scenario when their father is home. He is pretty liberal with TV time but that only happens on a Thursday night when he is back for his weekly visit. He is working in a different state. In other words, I oversee the kids more on their academic days.

Taking the husband out of the picture, we usually have our dinner by 7pm. Followed by Maghrib prayer and then with whatever that the kids want to do. By 8 till 830pm, I’d already been reminding them to keep their toys away and for the son, to pack his bag for tomorrow’s class. The kids would then have their milk – a mug for my son and a bottle for the girl. I have restarted my son on taking milk properly as I find that he has problems with his teeth. It is gradual with the plaque and loosening but I don’t really want all of them to fall off. He needs the calcium for his teeth and bones. Lights are off once they finished their milk and that is when my Me Time starts.

How do you allocate your Me Time?