As a working mom, I've struggled to find time to myself. I've often explained motherhood as my second full time job.
After my twins were born, everything began to have an increased priority in my life. That priority usually had four things on it: the twins, my husband, my job and me.
If something didn't fall on that list, it probably didn't get done. And often, my own health and well-being would come after some of those other priorities.
As the kids grew older and more independent, it's been easier to expand that list of priorities. To be other focused. My husband and I made it a priority (from the start) to do things like go out together (without the kids), even if it meant using a babysitter. (As an aside, I've been shocked how controversial this can be, so many people I know refuse to leave their children with someone not related to them. So far, we've been fortunate).
And we also have joined a gym, where there is a place for kids while we work out. It's not ideal, but it's helped me keep my sanity. I've finally found places (like my book club) and been able to focus more on friendships.
One of the great things that's been happening recently is that my husband has taken the kids down to visit his grandfather once a week. That means, when I get home from work, I don't have to do much of anything. It's true, most of the time I still do responsible stuff like yard work and laundry. Or working out. But I don't have to worry about whether or not someone eats their veggies. Or that someone has their shoes before we go to the gym.
I love my kids and I love spending time with them. But spending time (even a small amount of time) on things that I enjoy - spending time without them has been very helpful. I realize how much more I appreciate them.
Absence does make the heart grow fonder, in this instance. I love being a mom, but I love being so many things other than just a mom. I feel so fortunate to be able to have time to myself and time to breathe.
To be even more sappy/idealistic, if I had one wish for every parent, it would be this. That each parent would be able to have time to themselves to explore their own interests, in addition to being a responsible parent. Although I think that was partially the point of Virginia Woolf's "A Room of One's Own"...