All the parenting books tell you to take time for yourself. Carve out an hour each day for "you time". Make yourself a priority. These books are written by women who have no children currently living in the house, or by men.
I've tried, really I have, to make me a priority. But somehow my kids didn't get the memo, and so they think "Mummy is sitting on the couch with a book! She must feel like reading "Brown Bear" with me!" So instead of a chunk of time, I've started making little moments count. It's not the same as a day at the spa, but at least no one sees me naked this way.
1. Have one show for the kids that they only get to see while you take a shower. The more you hate the show, the better. That way the kids know this is a serious treat, not to be taken lightly. For me, it's Barney. I get to take a shower every day, the kids get to learn life lessons from the most annoying dino around, and I don't have to listen to his grating voice.
2. Keep a scented candle in the bathroom. Before you leap into the shower, light it. When you get out of the shower, you will be in a lovely scented, warm and soothing cloud. (Yes, I almost threw up writing that saccharine line.)
3. Have breakfast, or at least drink your coffee, ALONE. My dining room and kitchen are fenced off due to Boy Terror, so every morning I sit and read while I wake up with coffee. It's 15 minutes, and it makes a world of difference. You don't have to eat each and every meal with your child. Seriously, what manners are they going to learn from you that early in the day, anyway?
4. Keep a good magazine in the bathroom. You're there anyway, you might as well be entertained. The door is locked, the kids know that people, even mummies, sometimes gotta go, and you can stay in there as long as you want. I personally sit there until I hear war breaking out.
5. Some people say to sleep when the babies sleep. Some people say do all your housework while the baby sleeps. Maybe for those first horrid months, but after that you have to take advantage of nap time! I turn off the phone, tuck in the kids, and bask in the peace. That's My Time. I do whatever I absolutely cannot do when the Terrors are awake. I blog, I read a good book, I sit and stare out the window. I do NOT do housework.
6. Just before it's their bedtime, go wash your face, brush your teeth, and get into comfy jammies. This tells the kids that you are obviously going to bed now, so they won't be missing out on anything if they dare fall asleep. It also means you waste none of the precious evening doing mundane things. As soon as the lights are out, you can fall into relaxation mode. As soon as those Terrors are in bed, I am either on the couch reading, or curled into a blanket watching TV with Hubby.
7. The absolutely most important thing to remember is "No Guilt". This is a tough one for me, but it is crucial. Ten years from now, no one will remember that you didn't do the lunch dishes until dinner time today. Doing nothing, and loving it, is your right as a person who spends hours of her life cleaning puke out of her cleavage.