May 29, 201211:55 AMReal Moms of NJ

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10 Tips for Peace and Quiet

Girl playing in the bathtubDid you ever read a parenting magazine article that advised readers to “make time for yourself”? Did you laugh out loud? That piece of advice always reminds me of the Friends episode when Rachel finally realizes she wants to be with Ross, only to discover he’s gotten engaged to someone else, and Monica tells her, “You’re just going to have to get over it.”

“Oooohhhh, is that all I have to do?” comes Rachel’s sarcastic reply. “Why didn’t I think of that?”

Of course you know that it’s important to have “me” time. The question is, how? I can’t promise you a week’s vacation, but if you’ve got a preschooler or toddler underfoot and feel like you’d kill or die for an hour—or even 10 minutes—of (relative) peace and quiet, here’s my top 10 list of tips for getting it.

10.  Get your kids used to being cared for by other adults.

You’ve probably heard this advice before, but if you haven’t done it yet, here’s how to get the ball rolling right now: Forward this post to your best mom friend in your neighborhood with a message saying, “Want me to take little Tommy for an hour or so on Wednesday? You can reciprocate whenever!” If she takes you up on the first half and she really is your bff, she’ll come through on the second half.

9.  Seek out places with free babysitting.

There are more than you think. In my neck of the woods, the YMCA (for members) and Wegman’s supermarket offer it—and there’s no rule that says you have to work out while you’re at the Y or food shop at Wegman’s; you just have to remain in the building. There’s even a sizable café inside Wegman’s. So have a latte, bring your smartphone, and catch up on emails, return phone calls, or sit and read Anna Karenina if you feel like it.

8.  On your kid’s birthday, stash some presents in the attic.

Then when you need a break, “find” them.

7.  If your child is too young to notice, give him battery-operated toys without the batteries.

For my son’s first birthday, my sister-in-law bought him the Little Tikes Little Champs Sports Center. Batteries were not included, but my son couldn’t care less. He loved this toy as it was for months before the novelty wore off. Then, on a rainy day when he refused to nap, I put batteries in, and all the lights and sounds made the toy new again.    

6.  If your kid loves baths, give her one during the day instead of rushing around like a crazy woman after dinner trying to get everything in before bedtime.

Let her play for as long as she likes.

5.  Stick to the AAP guideline saying kids should have 2 hours—at most—of screen time daily.

This sounds counterintuitive, but your child will be more likely to sit still and become absorbed in an age-appropriate show if he isn’t used to having the TV on all day long.

4.  Have a playdate.

This is another counterintuitive one, but sometimes another child can occupy your kid better than you can.

3.  Got slightly older kids? 

Tell them they can either play together nicely or clean their rooms. Once they start fighting, it’s time to clean their rooms. If you come through on the threat a couple of times, they’ll learn to play for a loooong time.

2.  Got a spouse at home?

Go to the bathroom…for a looooong time.

1.  Whisper in your hubby’s ear that if he takes the kids out for a bit, you’ll make it worth his while.

This one is probably your best bet. Just sayin’.

What would you add to this list? Let us know in comments!

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There's nothing artificial in these blog posts from New Jersey's hardest-working women. Where to go, what to do, and how to do it—with kids—are all part of the mix.

Meet Our Bloggers!

Editor Judy Grover is the mom of two rambunctious boys, who, she admits, completely run the household. Like this "jokey" line admitting her feelings of parental inadequacy, her posts focus on the joys and challenges -- in the rawest, "real mom" way -- of raising her toddlers into considerate, thoughtful men in the face of demands from both career and peers.

Essex County Real Mom Anna Sandler lives happily ever after with her Jersey-raised husband and three NYC-born children in the land of jug handles and disco fries. She loves baking and crafting with her kids, even if everything they make doesn't turns out Pinterest-perfect. Anna has never met a holiday she doesn't want to celebrate, and enjoys sharing ideas for everyday fun (indoor beach party, anyone?), as well as how to commemorate bigger moments from birthdays to first days of school.

Mercer County Real Mom Lauren Kim is a writer and the editor of mom blog and home décor website, MomHomeGuide.com. When she is not spending time with her children and spouse, she loves crafting and tackling various DIY projects around the house. To see more of Lauren Kim’s favorite pins, visit her Mom Home Guide Pinterest Board. Follow her on Facebook for more on her favorite craft and home décor finds.

Middlesex County Real Mom Renée Sagiv Riebling is a mom of two who never irons (Quick! Grab it out of the dryer while it's still hot instead!) or cooks anything that requires dicing, but she does love sweet sticky faces and family outings (check out her Jersey Jaunts column for ideas). She understands all too well about the minutiae of mothering, and her blog posts focus on parenting pointers--from experts or experience.

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