Working Moms and “Me Time”: Mornings or Evenings?

working moms and me-timeHere’s a fun little question for today, ladies: if you could only choose one, which would you prefer for yourself: mornings or evenings? If you’ve successfully claimed one for your “me-time”, what are your tips? For example, I know of one mom who could get up and work on big projects from 4-6 but had to leave the house to do it; I know of another friend who trades off different nights to stay late at the office with her partner so one of them gets at least an evening to themselves. I even know of an entrepreneur who’s said the secret to her productivity is her divorce — her ex has the kids for at least three nights a week, which gives her both mornings and evenings and the freedom to work until 3:00 in the morning if she wants to.

I’ve written before about how my naturally “productive time” directly conflicts with dinnertime, and Kate recently rounded up some tips on how to work after your kids go to bed. We’ve also talked about how to find time to work out as a working mom.

I can see pros and cons to both — on the pro, for the morning, you’re fresh and your mind is at its absolute best! But on the con: sleep is beautiful and far too fleeting!  (Particularly if your kiddo often wakes you up in the middle of the night so you’re a sleep deprived working mom.) On the flip side, evenings are easier to claim — but after working a full day, and dealing with “end of day” wrap-up with kids (often dinner, bathtime, bedtime — even if you and your partner share those parenting duties!) then evenings often find me bleary-eyed and unfocused.  (Case in point: last night I settled in for what I hoped would be a long, uninterrupted stretch with my downloaded Mint transactions, my accountant’s “tax planner” questions, and all the various tax documents I’ve gotten in the mail… but instead I wound up clicking around on various screens, buying $200 worth of stuff I’ll likely return, and… nope, not a minute spent on taxes. Hmmn.)

Another factor, of course, is what you want to do with the time… (Is it a sign of adulting that I’m considering doing my taxes as me time?) If it’s just obsessively read political news and silly books and maybe watch TV, then YES, I have successfully claimed the time between 10 PM-1AM. But if it you want to work out, write, read non-silly books, or otherwise do anything involving brain power or attention to detail, then I’d much rather prefer the morning time. Hmmn.

How about you, ladies — would you rather claim the mornings or evenings as your “me-time”? If you have successfully claimed them, what are your best tips for other working moms? What do you do with me time when you have it?

Picture via Stencil.working moms and me time - image of a woman at sunrise

Working moms and me time: what are the best tips to make "me time" a thing? Is it better to claim mornings or evenings for yourself -- and how to do it?


  1. My husband has always (pre-baby) claimed Friday nights hanging out with his pals, and throw in another night as well. Pre-baby it didn’t affect me, but now it does.

    I tried the “well Thursday evenings” are mine, but I just didn’t enjoy it. And wound up missing the baby, etc. Also friends couldn’t always leave THEIR lives to meet up, so I would just stay at home and you guessed it, lost the “me” time.

    Finally I had the brilliant idea (which we are still using) where I claim MORNINGS.
    I always take the baby to daycare before work…except those mornings. It’s a given I get one morning a week to even out his pre-destined Friday night. If he takes another evening out (i.e. not home helping me with the baby) then I rack up another morning for that week.
    I LOVE quiet time. I choose from a couple of coffee houses in the town that I work in, get up at the same time, just leave super early and have an hour or so of just me, coffee, and a good book cozied up on one of the couches or comfy booths at those coffee houses. I tried it with inviting the friends who actually wanted to get up early as me too, but I found I got the most out of it by going SOLO. It recharges me and I NEED that time now (I prob did before but just didn’t realize it).

  2. I would love more evening alone time, but by the time both kids are in bed, I am spent. I can handle a light read or TV and just don’t have the focus or energy for anything else. I’ve taken to working out in the mornings, which is the only time I can reliably claim as my own. My best “alone time” is during my lunch break and on weekends. If I don’t get uninterrupted alone time on the weekend (especially Sunday), I feel too depleted going into the week.

  3. Margaret says:

    I’ve been thinking about this topic actually because like X10 I also bring my baby to day care and pick her up too. I do enjoy this time with her but there are times that it can be draining. I’m planning on asking my husband to take over that once a month – he will enjoy it and I’ll enjoy the break, while not having to give up the fun parts of that responsibility entirely.

    In general I would prefer to have evenings to myself, although I know they wouldn’t be productive! If I had mornings to myself I’m sure I’d get a lot done.

    • I just had the same conversation with DH and assuming my job is still on board, I’ll be working from home a day a week and he’ll do daycare drop off and pickup that day. I used to work from home every Thursday and always scheduled my midwife appointments when pregnant and really loved both how much work I got done as well as getting to sleep in a bit and not having to get dressed. I think that little bit of extra me time alone is going to be great.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I solo parent for 50% of the year for 2-3 months at a time. When I’m solo parenting, I have a sitter who comes every other Wednesday night and she does dinner and bedtime. I have 6-8PM to myself to do… WHATEVER I WANT! I go running and then get a smoothie… or get my nails done and go grocery shopping… or meet a friend for coffee. It’s amazing and totally makes me a better Momma.

    When my spouse is home, I carve out a chunk of time for myself during naptime on the weekend. I usually do a long gym session or fitness class, followed by coffee from my favorite coffee place. Sometimes it’s alone, sometimes it’s with friends, but it’s always lovely.

  5. AlsoAnon says:

    I’m really struggling with the second shift (feeling like all I do take care of baby, chores, then fall into bed) and not feeling like I have any me time. IMO working out is not me time. Weekends I can only fit in family time and socializing, which for an introvert is also not me time. I don’t think I can outsource any of my second shift work because it is laundry (can’t save it for once per week), dishes, bathing baby, etc and DH already does 50+% of the child care and housekeeping. He also does all the cooking. What are your tips? Get a babysitter?

    • mascot says:

      Is housecleaning outsourced? Can it be? Now that we’ve put weekly cleaning in the budget, it’s a game changer. House stays clean enough that we feel fine having people over on a short notice and we can only scatter so much clutter in a week.

    • The struggle is real, especially for introverts. Once or twice a month, I arrange to have a night off in the middle of the week. I’ll eat with DH and the kids, and then I leave the house and do something ALONE. The catch is that often times, I’d feel more refreshed if I could relax in my own house, but it’s better than nothing. I’ve been known to take an occasional vacation day to stay home alone and putter around the house, without an agenda.

    • It is so hard when baby is young. I can promise you it does get easier as their needs change. Growing out of bottles and pumping changed our lives so much (both of us, because hubby and I split washing/sterilizing). Laundry gets much more predictable – fewer outfit changes due to bodily functions and more clothes of a particular size because they fit longer. Sleep (often) becomes more regular so you’re not feeling like you should sleep whenever you can because nighttime will be unpredictable. Baby is a rough stage. It will get better!!!

  6. I do a combination of early mornings and lunch hour. I get up early and get some work in so that I can take a long lunch to work out (mostly) or run errands. It also gives me the freedom to slip out of work 1/2 hour early to stop at the store or whatever on my way to get our child. So I guess the “me time” is over lunch, but early mornings enable the me time. I get the above poster’s view that working out shouldn’t be “me time”. In a perfect world, it would be like taking a shower or eating dinner – a rarely negotiable part of existence to stay healthy. But for me (maybe because I am an introvert), it is so valuable to my mental health and is when I do my thinking and de-stressing. So in a busy day, I’m going to pick that over going out with the girls 9 times out of 10.

    As far as going out with friends, hubby and I moved to a new, small town about 18 months ago. I’m still working on developing a social life here. The winters are rough, so I can’t say there’s much I want to do to “go out”. In the summer, hubby golfs once per week, usually Saturday morning. I go to the pool by myself, either when he gets home from golfing or Sunday afternoon. Other social things are less regular and we usually just run them by the other as they come up, and we make them work.

    I also get Starbucks nearly every day, which for some reason totally feels like “me time” even though I either take it to work or bring it home after work and sip on it as I make dinner or whatever.

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