Mom put your records on

I was going to start this post by asking you to imagine your hands in warm, soapy dishwater. Then, I realized that I may in fact be the only woman on earth who still actually does 100% of her dishes in the sink, you know, by hand. I digress a moment to lament that fact, however, dishwater isn’t really a necessity in this story. What is? Twenty minutes of semi-private time, an iPod, and some earbuds.

Making Time for Mom

Need a break? Create some momentary zen.

I read a lot of articles chock full of advice on how I can create time for myself. Well, I’ll be honest with you. The only free time I get comes when I am in the shower, or after everyone has gone to bed, and I’m too busy working online to actually relax and unwind.

What I have found, is that I can actually create some quality time thanks to a pair of earbuds and some great music while I am doing my regular daily chores. For me, it’s when I’m doing the dishes, folding laundry, or tidying-up. Granted, it has to be during times when Evan is being entertained by Daddy, but I have found a lot of value in this.

Why with the music? Why not just enjoy the silence?

Silence is good, but when was the last time you turned up some amazing, moving, beautiful music and just fell into it? You know, the kind of music that made your heart feel like it was going to burst from your chest, before just looking at your children gave you that feeling? You know what kind of music I’m talking about, and if you’re like me, you may have stopped really communing with your favorite music somewhere along the line.

This also makes me realize how much I have missed reading, but it’s a little harder to score 20 minutes in a locked, quiet room to read.

So, in the evenings when the boys are in the living room roughhousing, I am doing dishes, and listening to some of my favorite music. This fleeting escape is really good for my soul, and I think even if you can’t really get away for a break, that just tuning into something that moves you is an amazing way to revitalize and maybe even find some inspiration.

Do you have any tricks for scoring a moment of free time?

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25 comments

  1. no dear crissy…i too do my dishes by hand, not by choice, by having no dishwasher in our old house with an old gold speckled countertop peeling in places… one day my the photos posted on the side of my fridge will come to be real…including the dishwasher…

    • the best thing though is that our kitchen has two doors into other rooms of our house -and they SHUT! but it doesn’t keep three kids or our dog from entering my quiet zone…i like to clean my kitchen in quiet at the end of the night, if I’m not crashed asleep with the kids…one thing I am going to get to make this nicer though is a cushiony mat in front of my sink. I did not think it would make much difference but my sister has one and WOW it was so nice to shift your weight on and feel the cushion undernieth!

  2. Music definitely helps me relax! I love listening to Pandora as well, for the variety!

  3. I read a few great books by Kerri Wyatt Kent on this topic! So refreshing to know that so many mothers feel the same way I do. We just need a breather (or some music) sometimes!

  4. I hardly listen to new music anymore. I get alone time by getting up early and reading the paper, enjoying my coffee.

    http://www.nycsinglemom.com

  5. I have no tricks to add. Neither sitting on the toilet or taking a shower do it at my house. But I must add that I, also, wash dishes by hand. We ahve a brand new dishwasher here and we’ve never used it. By the time I load it, turn it on, wait for it to finish, cool down, then upload it – I could be completely done. Plus, I use a lot less water!

  6. I am with you! I wash 100% by hand for 6 of us. No dishwasher and no place for a portable dishwasher. I so wish I had one!!
    We listen to music frequently. Pandora has been great!

  7. You’re not the only woman in the world doing 100% of dishes by hand! :) Our dishwasher never worked since we bought the place and we never had its replacement as a priority. I love listening to music, my toddler is a music addict and we have something on pretty much at all times of the day! We take CDs from the library, a great old-fashioned way to discover new artists. My new current favorite is a kids CD that I actually enjoy listening to – You Are My Little Bird by Elizabeth Mitchell. Like you I don’t really have ‘free’ time, I work during her naps and sleep time. But I do actually enjoy my food shopping trips to Trader Joe’s all by myself once every three weeks. I also have my mom come over once a week for a couple of hours so that I can work without distractions, that’s my down time.

  8. I had to come tell you that you are not alone. I also do 100% of our dishes by hand, in the sink. Mainly because we do not have a dishwasher. Or for that matter a place to put a dishwasher.

    I really should put some music on the iPhone. Not sure why I haven’t. My free time is during afternoon quiet time and after everyone has gone to bed at night as well. Cleaning isn’t even free time b/c it is interrupted pretty consistently. Hubby works 24 hours on, 48 hours off unless he has OT or is working in for someone… so like now he is working 3 days straight (will be back home Tues morning).

    I do like to put music on when I’m cleaning sometimes, via the radio b/c it is hooked into the sound system, and my four year old hates it. LOL. Maybe we just have different tastes in music? :)

  9. I have to physically leave the house. Otherwise all I think about is all the things I should be doing.

    I like having a dishwasher because I can be doing other things while it does the work. Even read a book during that hour. I listen to music with the kids. It seems in our case to have brought about people with a wide variety of music interests. They will listen too: classical, country rock, classic rock, alternative, etc.

    Every person has there own way to unwind. I have found at different stages of raising 6 kiddos has need a different “relaxing” activity.

    Good Luck to you! Find what gives you the peace you need.

    Blessings

    MusingMom6

  10. LOL – This is my exact escape, too! And I, too, do all of my dishes by hand. I have to turn the music up loud so I can “tune” out all of the other noise that I encounter the other 23 hours and 40 minutes of the day. My husband sometimes offers to do the dishes but 1) I usually have to do them over again and 2) I NEED that time!

  11. What a fun idea! I would love to imagine myself listening to some great music while blissfully ignoring my kids, LOL. Probably not going to happen anytime soon though. Finding free time for myself is few and far between. Trying to get me time is what has spurred my bad habit of staying up way too late. Maybe one of these days I’ll find a way to get some in without cutting into other things.

  12. I still wash 100% of my dishes by hand. Target had some totally awesome Caldrea (I think? it has a fancy name) dish soap that’s all natural with totally great scents -like plum nutmeg- on clearance for a dollar a bottle. They were originally 8 or 9 dollars, and I bought all they had!

    Unfortunately, if I used earbuds, my daughters would build an atom bomb in my living room and blow up the entire neighborhood.
    When my eldest isn’t other wise socially engaged, I let all three of them play upstairs and paint my nails. This happens once a month if I’m lucky.

  13. I think a lot of this lies in a quiet attitude and motivation. I remember when I was a working mom any free time I had was spend spinning my wheels…trying to get the housework and laundry done, grocery shopping, etc. I didnt learn to use THOSE events as me time. One was driving to work and back as it became my quiet time…even in rush hour traffic. I used music to tame and soothe my very rushed and anxious soul. I could either blare it and sing along (yeah, you have seen the type in the car next to you) or put on something sweet and memory inducing that might make me a bit melancholy. I always say life without music would be so…lifeless.
    I love to also do outdoor work in the summer with headphones. I used to do all the mowing because I got in my workout with a push mower AND got a major job done and me time to listen to music to boot.
    I also use music along with cleaning to work out some frustration I might be feeling. No headphones though. I blast then. It helps undo pent up frustration or even anger until you can discuss or work it out on its own. My kids actually love it because I like all kinds of music…even most of theirs.
    I have to laugh at my hubby though, cuz he knows this whole cleaning pattern I have when frustrated. I swear sometimes he just eggs me on in order to get his underwear and socks all done. LOL!
    I also love to listen to music when cooking. I blast then too but is late afternoon or early evening when kids are done with homework…I realize some have kids napping so cant do this.
    The whole bubble bath thing…um I think this is only in Neverland… 30 years of parenting the bathroom is the LAST place I can get a moment alone. Without fail, I will hear MMMoooOOommmmm yelled within a minute or someone knocking at the door or some “emergency”. Lord…total truth, even the dogs follow me in there! LOL!

  14. Yes, I run away and lock the bathroom door lol Actually my favorite is on a Sunday morning listening to NPR and reading a book….

  15. I love coming downstairs on a Sunday morning, start making breakfast with country music in the background. It puts the kids in the right mood and they know the TV will not have cartoons on it while Mommy has her music on!

  16. Sitting here, dishwasher running and jazz on the radio. I’m content and life is all good. You are so right, that 20 minutes to reconnect, tune out and tune in to music that fills you soul can make all the difference in your day.

  17. I was without a dishwasher for 7 months, and in that time I did a ton of dishes by hand and listened to several audio books. While I loved it, I hated spending 2 hours a day on dishes. Because that’s how long it takes to keep up with dishes for seven.

    Now, MUSIC…I could go on and on about how music MOVES me. Music inspires me, helps me be productive. I need it.

    But for those moments of free time? Sometimes I have to go into the bathroom with my itouch, lock the door, and answer some emails or play a game in silence. :)

  18. This really makes me laugh because I used to love washing the dishes for the very same reason. Now our kitchen is not enclosed and I’m in the middle of it all – the noise, the TV, the video games, the talking. So I carve out time for myself in my Mom Cave.

  19. That’s great – I say get your me time whatever way you can! I usually get my me time when I’m cooking. Most of my recipes are on my computer or online so I can use this time to fix dinner and get a little break.

  20. Ahhh love me some music. There is so much I love. 80’s love songs, country, R&B and much more. I however hate hate hate earbuds, so when I’m cleaning(yep my free time) it’s blaring on my TV. No tricks for free time here. I like to take hot baths in the evenings, just lie back and chill. Oh the grocery store is free time as well

  21. I live by my pandora radio stations. My computer is currently in the kitchen so I have full access while making supper.
    Don’t laugh, but I actually have a Britney Spears (used to be HUGE fan) station. Most of the music is by females and I totally find myself busting a move. How can I not move to Rhianna or Christina? If I’m alone, I totally bust out the old moves. If I’m not, I just end up getting a little spunky…lol.

  22. As I sit here typing this comment, the music is in my ears. Can’t imagine life without it, and I love how it can bring you back to one moment in time. It keeps me sane and happy…

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