Guilt-free 'me time'. It ranks right up there with non fattening ice cream and a man that puts the toilet seat down, ideal but impossible in the real world. But is it really? Some things are out of our control, like getting hubby to drop the lid, but as fantastic as it sounds guilt-free 'me time' can be yours. Read on for tips on how you can take a little time back for you.

 

Choose an activity or hobby you really enjoy so you feel as if you've gotten the most from your 'me time'. It could be as simple as a cup of tea or as elaborate as horse riding.

'Me time' won't just happen. Plan it into your day/week/month so you can look forward to it, organise child minding and ensure housework doesn't clash.

If necessary, plan the rest of your day around your activity so you know time has been allocated to housework and the kids. This will help you relax and enjoy your 'me time' even more as you'll know there is time for everything.

Be realistic about how much 'me time' you can schedule so you aren't running yourself ragged trying to fit everything in. You will feel unhappier if you have to cancel 'me time' even if it was unachievable in the first place.

If you feel you don't have any time, try taking 15 minutes to do something just for you. Paint your nails, give yourself a facial or eat ice cream with a trashy magazine.Let everyone know when you're having your 'me time' and what you expect while you're doing it. Do you want silence? Help around the house? Make sure your kids and husband respect this time.

If you're having trouble prioritising your 'me time' and it keeps getting pushed back in favour of dishes or sorting squabbles then get some perspective! One great way is to imagine you're 80 years old and query which you were more thankful you did - got back into your painting or made sure the kitchen floor was clean? The other way is to think of yourself as you would your best friend or Mum. If they spent all their time working would you recommend they keep on or take some time for themselves?

So, you've got the 'me time' down, now you just have to feel good about it. How to stop that inevitable feeling when you're lounging about with your feet up?

Pinpoint exactly what it is you're feeling guilty about. Is it a valid feeling and if so, what is it telling you? Should you be spending more time with your kids or do you actually do quite a lot but have never recognised that fact? Make changes in either yourself, your beliefs or your life so you know the next time you're taking time for yourself you've done something about the situation.

Remember you are a woman and individual as well as a Mum. When you think of yourself wholly and solely as a Mum you act like one and dedicate all your time to Mum things. As a woman what would make you really happy?

Choose not to feel guilty. When you've done everything you can for the family and home make a conscious decision to not indulge in guilt. Feeling badly will only mar your free time and don't worry, the kids and housework will still be there when you get back!