Living in Stolen Half Hours

I live in stolen half hours these days.


It goes something like this: wake at 6 (I’m trying to teach the little dude to sleep in, but by all accounts that doesn’t really start until the teenage years), feed, play with the little guy while I dress and have breakfast, then he starts to grizzle and it’s time to put him down. Once he’s asleep… GO!

I’ve got 30-50 minutes to do whatever I’ve got to do. Often I rush around unstacking the dishwasher, hanging a load of washing or just having a shower. Yep. Glamour central. Then he wakes, but needs more sleep, so I sit in his room with my arm between the bars of the cot rocking him, holding my kindle in the other hand. So I sit, I read, I rock, for anywhere from 5 to 45 minutes.

Then he’s up, I feed him, and the cycle starts again.

I’ve been wanting to write about this for a while, but thought I needed to wait until I had the solution. But I may never have a solution, so maybe a problem shared is a problem halved. And maybe some of you are experiencing the same thing and just need to know you’re not alone.

Thankfully, he’s a pretty good sleeper at night, so I have enough energy to get out and about most days. That means some of the rocking is the pram moving while I walk, or he plays in the gym crèche while I pump some iron*, or I lunch with friends and jiggle him. Or whatever. But most of my time to play is in short bursts, full of boring domesticity which I never liked before I had a kidlet, and nothing’s changed on that front.

A couple of Wednesdays ago, I had a bad day. I didn’t get enough sleep the night before, not by a long way, and little C decided to scream for a while at 230am which was a very unwelcome surprise (normally, he wakes, I feed him and he goes straight down, and trust me, just getting up to do that is challenge enough). So at 6am when he woke for the day, all I could think was…urgh…

I cried while I made my breakfast (I think out of sheer exhaustion), I cancelled my trip to the gym, I didn’t go to mothers group, I cancelled a physio appointment and I completely forgot about a counselling appointment and didn’t realise I’d missed it until she messaged when I was half an hour late. I rang my mum and asked for her help, and slept for 2 solid hours in the afternoon while she looked after her favourite grandson.

But the one thing I did do that day was have a beautiful, loving friend come to visit. And she came up with some wisdom for how to live these days. She said;

How can you bring some beauty back into these stolen half hours, and make the day about nurturing yourself instead of feeling trapped and anxious.

A revelation!

We workshopped it, and I’m going to try to be creative in my stolen half hours. I love to write (obviously, here we are), I love photography, but haven’t been doing much lately. I have hundreds of photos I want to sort through and print out, to make into albums of the years gone by. And I want to generally flex my creative muscle. Maybe I can take the pressure off myself to make my art ‘good enough’ if I know it’s all about soul-nourishment.

Xx Sam

*follow #projectmilf on instagram to see what I’m getting up to – @theeverydayadventure

Do you feel like you live in stolen time as well? I’d love to hear from you.

How do you fill your short time slots with beauty for yourself?



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25 Comments on Living in Stolen Half Hours

  1. Suzanne
    March 20, 2014 at 5:10 AM (4 years ago)

    Oh Samantha, I remember those days when a good day was one that included a shower! You’re friend is exactly right about that precious time for yourself.

    Love your honesty and your great perspective!

    • samantha
      March 20, 2014 at 6:43 AM (4 years ago)

      Thanks Suzanne!
      I’m trying to take the time as it comes (and shower every day! 😉

  2. Naomi
    March 20, 2014 at 1:06 AM (4 years ago)

    Visiting you from the ListBuilders FB group. This is a beautiful post and stolen half hours are brilliant! I coach women to fly (whether it’s business, home basics, big dreams, etc.) and I am a HUGE fan of working in 30 minute blocks! You’re on to something 😉

    • samantha
      March 20, 2014 at 6:44 AM (4 years ago)

      Thanks Naomi! It’s like enforced pomodoro! 😉

  3. Kristen Rzasa
    March 20, 2014 at 12:04 AM (4 years ago)

    Great timing. A friend just had her seventh! Yep, 7 kids under the age of 16. I’m definitely passing this along to her.

    • samantha
      March 20, 2014 at 6:45 AM (4 years ago)

      Wow. 7! Just… wow.

      I hope she finds this useful, but with 6 already under her belt she probably knows exactly what she’s doing!

      • Theressa
        March 21, 2014 at 3:01 PM (4 years ago)

        I have 6 under 16 and I still feel like I’m stealing half hours! Basically, I take each day as it comes and try not to beat myself up if I don’t stick to my schedule -that’s a biggie.

        And if I have deadlines it generally means that I’ll be pulling an all nighter to get it done. Fortunately though, my baby is 4 years old now and displays maturity beyond her years which means she’s not so dependent on me now. In most ways, it’s a blessing but I often find myself reminiscing bout the good ole day’s when my kiddo’s didn’t have ‘so much to say’ 😀

        • samantha
          March 21, 2014 at 3:16 PM (4 years ago)

          OMG 6 kids!!?? That is amazing!!!!
          Yep, letting go of a schedule has been HUGE for me. So impressed that you manage to get anything done at all! xxx

  4. Elyssa
    March 19, 2014 at 11:42 PM (4 years ago)

    Oh Sam, this brought me back to the days with my babies! Now I am a (very young) grandma and when my granddaughter followed me into the bathroom when I really needed a minute of privacy, I remembered the anxiousness and sometimes resentment of parenting. As a grandma, I was able to make the moment into a game to give me the privacy I needed and not brusquely send her away. As a mom, I might have pleaded to be left alone for those few minutes.

    I am thrilled that new mommies today are seeing the importance of using their “half hours” for themselves and not for more chores. Life is meant to be fun.

    Also, your writing is exceptional. You brought me back 20 years in a blink.

    • samantha
      March 20, 2014 at 6:47 AM (4 years ago)

      Thanks so much for the kind words Elyssa!
      I love the idea of remembering to make it a game whenever I can.
      And as I look around me right now, the kidlet is playing on the floor, and the rest of the floor is covered with crap. And I think it’s going to stay that way today 😉

  5. Hunter Yoga (@HunterCYoga)
    March 19, 2014 at 11:22 PM (4 years ago)

    Oh I can so relate! Babies can leave you feeling so trapped in this cycle – just wanting to sleep, but then dreading sleep a bit because you know you are going to be woken up. Taking time for my passions (art & yoga) and self-care were the absolute saving graces of that time. Then it’s easy to slip into guilt because you are not “enjoying every moment.” This time can develop an amazing amount of self-awareness and personal growth, if we try.

    • samantha
      March 20, 2014 at 6:49 AM (4 years ago)

      OMG SO true!! I have had the most unbelievable amount of self growth during this period, and in fact am just working on a blog post about that! It has been hard at times, but I feel hopeful now, and although I’m still living in stolen half hours, I am at least taking some of those half hours to look after myself, see friends, get outdoors… I love yoga, this is a good reminder to get back to mums n bubs before he’s on the move!

  6. Caroline Cain
    March 19, 2014 at 7:46 PM (4 years ago)

    Beautiful stolen moments Samantha 🙂
    Myla was a great night sleeper during those early months but not during the day – 30min stints to get things done…unless she was strapped to me in the wrap then she’d sleep longer or at least be rocked back to sleep again. Still now at 17 months she sleeps longer when on my back – she’s just heavy so it doesn’t happen that often!

    Amazing how lack of sleep affects us – ours and theirs, those little blessings…

    • samantha
      March 20, 2014 at 6:51 AM (4 years ago)

      Lack of sleep is torturous, isn’t it!!
      Early on Charlie was the same, really short sleep stints, and then he also wanted to be in the ergo while I walked around as well. Totally exhausting. I think back then I didn’t even have half hour blocks to myself!

  7. Jack
    March 19, 2014 at 4:54 PM (4 years ago)

    Great post Samantha,
    I’m trying to build my business in stolen half hours and yes, yes, yes spend most of that time anxious and stressed that I’m not ‘getting enough done’ in those brief moments of opportunity.
    There must be a better way, thank you for starting the debate. Would love to hear from other ladies as to how they grow whilst being a full time Mum.

    • samantha
      March 20, 2014 at 6:55 AM (4 years ago)

      Thanks Jack!
      I found everything changed when I just chilled the fork out and stopped being so tough on myself for not getting more done. Of course, that means I get less done!! It seems that all of life post baby is a constant negotiation, and biz is no different! xxx

  8. Belinda Whelan
    March 19, 2014 at 3:59 PM (4 years ago)

    Oh wow, what a reminder! My daughter is close to 7 and those evenings of being woken and those early mornings seem such a distant memory now.
    Looking back it was pretty special spending so much time snuggling and feeding my baby girl and I honestly don’t know how I got through it.
    But after reading your blog, perhaps it was because I was taking the time to do things for me during my down time. I must remember this if I ever have another bub. Beautifully written and I hope you are getting better sleep.

    • samantha
      March 20, 2014 at 6:58 AM (4 years ago)

      Thanks for the lovely words!
      It definitely feels better when I take time for myself and don’t worry about all the crap around the house that needs to get done. I’m currently stepping over a few bags on the floor, but I’m also planning an afternoon out with friends, so I still call that a win! 😀

  9. Lisa
    March 19, 2014 at 1:59 PM (4 years ago)

    Sam, I don’t have kids so imagine me stumbling upon your blog and then commenting here because it FEELS SO REAL TO MY LIFE>but yeah, I don’t have kids.

    I feel like this is the perfect perspective to take when you have a lot of break ups/here/there/everywhere in your day and that’s me. The idea of taking these small moments available to me to do the things I always say I don’t have time to do because-I-can’t-get-a-spare-hour-to-save-my-life suddenly becomes DOABLE when I think about stopping for 5 to do a quick meditation or taking 10 to do some sun salutations, or sitting down for a mere 15 minutes and actually eating my lunch in a non-moving position.

    This was perfect and you totally STOLE my heart when you so genuinely stated,
    “but most of my time to play is in short bursts, full of boring domesticity which I never liked before I had a kidlet, and nothing’s changed on that front”.

    I never had kids (yet) ’cause I just felt the same way and it’s SO great to hear this truth rather than the typical…”WHAT? no kids, yet? you’re gonna love it and everything will get more interesting”. Hand to the face on that one- to them.

    And yet I imagine you as a beautiful, loving and perfect mother with such realness and light-heartedness and fun that I can’t wait to come back to your blog and read more. xoxo

    • samantha
      March 20, 2014 at 7:11 AM (4 years ago)

      Thanks so much for the beautiful words Lisa!
      And yep that’s so true, people say it’s all amazing, and it IS amazing but it’s also hard, and tiring, and boring, and makes you look at everything in your life.
      I love that you will try to take the small moments available in your days to do things for yourself. Like you said, you only need 5 minutes to meditate. Hope you start feeling a bit less frantic soon. xxx

  10. Taynia
    March 19, 2014 at 10:10 AM (4 years ago)

    Wonderfully relatable post. I have a three and a one-year-old – I remember the stolen half hours so well. Loathed them and loved them – all in the same breath. Nothing has changed. I still sneak time in bits and pieces. Here and there. And love every chaotic second. My babies are my breath.

    • samantha
      March 20, 2014 at 7:14 AM (4 years ago)

      Beautiful Taynia!

    • Michelle
      March 21, 2014 at 4:44 PM (4 years ago)

      Same here Taynia.

      They are my breath.


    • samantha
      March 20, 2014 at 7:20 AM (4 years ago)

      I hear you! Such an adjustment. xx


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