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Dublin: 10 °C Tuesday 11 December, 2018

Parents Panel: What's your best tip for getting some 'me time'?

From winding down with Netflix to walking out the front door.

AS PART OF’s weekly Family Magazine, we wanted to create a space for parents to share their views. A place where mums and dads could share their experiences, lessons learned, and even mistakes along the way. 

This week, we’re asking our Parents Panel how they carve out those little moments for themselves, or their partners, amid the chaos. How do you make sure you get some ‘me time’?

Here’s what our panel had to say…

Top L-R: Olly Keegan, Alan Dooley, Denise, Ken Hyland. Middle L-R: Ríona Flood, Ross Boxshall, Marta Lisiecka, Denise Cumiskey. Bottom L-R: Kait Quinn, Susannah O’Brien, Derek McInerney, Suzie Kelly.

The Big Shop: I’m at the stage now where getting out to Lidl on my own to do the weekly shopping is basically me time. It’s all good though, I wouldn’t change anything about it. It’s all very full on now when the kids are young, but things will mellow out as they get older.

- Susannah O’Brien

Winding down with Netflix: We both cycle to work and that is pretty much our time to ourselves! We’d both like more ‘me’ time but just haven’t seem to have nailed it yet. During the week after Charlie is in bed we usually watch something together on Netflix which is a nice way to end the day.

- Kait Strickland

‘Who needs a bath anyway?’ As a single parent I never get time for myself. You would love sometimes just to hand them over to someone and say ‘I’ll be back in five minutes’ – but you never get that. It is a 24-hour job with no one to share any little milestones reached or battles that were won that day. But at the end of my lonely day, I wouldn’t change it for the world, They grow up so quickly – and who needs a bath anyway, I can have one in another couple of years.

- Denise Cumiskey

Source: Shutterstock/Ulza

A Google calendar: We use a shared Google calendar so we each know what evenings etc are free and we can get some time to ourselves with the support of our partner. Sometimes, it’s taking an extra hour when shopping to sit down and have a coffee and read a book. Other times it’s meeting up with a friend in the evening for dinner and not having to worry about feeding our son or putting him to bed.

- Olly Keegan

Learning to appreciate alone time: Being separated from the boys’ father means that we coparent. Because of this, I get them Monday to Friday and he takes them at the weekends. This means that I have the weekends to myself. I have slowly started to learn to be on my own and appreciate my alone time. Sometimes normal things like sorting the clothes can be very relaxing when you don’t have kids undoing all your work!

- Suzie Kelly

Walking out the front door: I walk out my front door every night that I possibly can to get at least an hour of exercise (generally a walk) for headspace and stress relief and of course some physical benefits. My absolute favourite thing to do is meet a friend for a coffee or breakfast on a Saturday morning. I absolutely love my children but I miss my me time more than anything else since I became a parent.

- Denise

Be husband and wife, not just mammy and daddy: This, to us, is probably the most important part of being a parent. Reminding ourselves about why we got married is extremely important. Making sure there is time to be husband and wife, instead of just being mammy and daddy. About once every 3/4 months we go away for a night to just tune out.

- Alan Dooley

Source: Shutterstock/Elena Nichizhenova

‘I don’t' The simplest answer would be – I don’t. My parents are in Poland and in-laws in the Midlands and all are working full time. My parents visit us twice a year and we go to Poland a couple of times, during these times we make sure we go to the cinema or a dinner together.

- Marta Lisiecka

Minding each other: The real trick for us, I think was to make sure that we took every opportunity to spend some time together. Naturally, we still needed our own “me-time”, but we worked well as a team and always made sure that if one of us wanted/needed a break we made it happen.

- Ken Hyland

It’s a work in progress: As a first time parent with an 8 month old I have definitely not mastered the art of getting time to myself. Having just started back to work, myself and my husband are just about juggling everything and managing to keep all of the balls in the air.

- Ríona Flood

Cherishing switch-off time: People say it’s easy to lose your own sense of self as a parent, I kind of disagree. I am being myself with my kids! My role as a dad is all consuming but that’s what I signed up for.

It would be a bonus to be able to go on romantic dates with my wife but we never expected it to be “business as usual” with four young children. Having said all that, I cherish the time when they are all gone to bed and we can switch off before going to bed.

- Ross Boxshall

More from the Parents Panel: What’s the best piece of parenting advice you’ve ever been given?>

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Michael Freeman

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