Much as children are great, it is often with a sense of relief that we pack them off to school for the day! At last! The chance for a bit of “me” time.

We check out 10 things you can do whilst your kids are away at school. Include some of them in your daily routine, and you won’t feel so harassed when the kids come home in the afternoon.

1. Pamper yourself

There’s no need to worry about your kids having hysterics just because you’re treating yourself to a face mask. You can do those little things that make you look and feel great without having the frustration of interruptions while you’re busy.

Face mask

Take a long, luxurious shower or bath, treat your skin to some of your favourite skincare products, and do your hair – or take a trip to the hairdresser to have it done for you. It’s also a great time for a beauty parlour or spa appointment. When you know you’re looking your best, you also feel fantastic, so make use of some of the time available adding those special touches that you just don’t seem to have time for when your kids are around.

2. Hit the shops

Taking the kids along on a shopping expedition is seriously stressful, especially when you want to take your time to browse around. They get bored. They announce it in loud voices. They decide to enliven your day with a temper-tantrum that has everyone staring, or they wonder off on their own, causing you stress and worry while you desperately try to find your missing eight-year-old amongst a crowd of shoppers.

Now’s the time to go and look for the shoes you keep meaning to shop for, or the must-have dress you want but aren’t sure where to find. Maybe you just want to see what’s available in stores right now or you’re hoping to find a good book at Kinokinuya.

3. Spend time with a friend

If, like most mothers, you’ve tried taking your kids along to visit a friend, you’ll know that the time you hoped to spend idly chatting about this and that invariably ends up becoming all about the kids. And when they aren’t actually bothering you with things they want you to do, see or comment on, you end up wondering what the heck they might be up to right now. Why are they so quiet? Are they really being good, or are they up to mischief?!

You need time to relax and socialise. Getting together with a buddy is way more relaxed if you do it during school time, and you’ll be readier for the demands of playing Mum when the kids come home.

4. Get a good workout

Condo gyms are great, but it’s hard to fit in a workout when you have the kids to look after. When they are at school is a fantastic opportunity to kick-start your fitness regime. Not a fan of sweating it out in the gym? Go for a swim, take a brisk walk or jog, or attend a local yoga or Pilate’s class. You could even do a workout in the privacy of your own home – we love Fitness Blender’s videos – without anyone getting under your feet!

5. Take up some part-time work

When you become a Mum your career can often take a back seat, particularly whilst your kids are younger. But once they’re at school and into a routine, this is a great time to get back into the workplace. Plenty of employers are looking for experienced professionals to support them on a part-time basis, particularly SME’s or start-ups where your experience can really make a difference.

If you are on a Dependent’s Pass (DP) getting employed is pretty straight-forward. Just ask your potential employer to apply for a Letter of Consent (LoC) and you’re good to go! Best of all, unlike an Employment Pass you don’t need to work full-time or meet any minimum salary criteria.

6. Check out volunteering opportunities

Singapore is a great place to volunteer, with so many charitable organisations operating within Singapore and the surrounding region. Whatever your choice of charity is – children, elderly, women’s rights – there’s something out there for you. Check out Expat Giving for vacancies, or just get on Google and see what’s out there.

7. Try something new

There’s always something new to deal with when your kids are at home, but these might not be the things you’d actually like to do. While the kids are at school, there’s nothing to stop you from hitting the art galleries, taking in a few local tourist attractions, or trying your hand at mastering a new art, craft or skill. Feeling creative? Why not pick up one of the increasingly popular adult colouring books? There are some great Singapore ones, where you can bring the Merlion to life!

8. Tackle your to-do list

We all know what it’s like to have an ever-increasing pile of ‘life admin’ to work through. Use your chunks of peace and quiet to file your tax returns, send off medical receipts, and schedule your AC servicing. Ok, it’s not that fun, but think of the satisfaction of ticking off those items on your to-do list. You can even use it as an excuse to treat yourself to some new stationery!

close up of woman writing her journal

9. Just relax

That doesn’t necessarily mean just lazing on the sofa, although that’s definitely allowed! For some of us, getting the tottering pile of things that we keep meaning to get round to done and dusted is enough to make us feel a whole lot more relaxed. Others might feel that they’d get to feel more relaxed if they could only fit in a jog every day, while some feel the need for a change of routine.

The time when your kids are at school is precious, and you will have some serious things to do, but by choosing your school-time activities on the grounds of what will help you to feel relaxed, you’ll be working towards a happier, healthier ‘you’ and that’s good for everyone you love.

10. Remember how lucky you are

Sure, life is never perfect, but just taking time to thinking of things that you can be thankful for every day will keep you positive. Trying to do that when your lively kids have taken over the house for the afternoon may be none too easy. Use your ‘quiet time’ to consciously acknowledge the good things in life – and that includes those bundles of boundless energy – your kids.

Family fun