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SAH is hard work! What are your ideas for non-food, non-spending $ TREATS for you?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

Being a SAHM is way more challenging than I'd ever imagined.  Lately life has thrown some extra stress our way, and boy, my days are even more busy, more financially strained, and more stressful.  After making it through the day... or through some particularly challenging part of the day... or completing one small thing on my list... or my 3yo takes a rare nap, I WANT A REWARD... A TREAT... A LITTLE SOMETHING to congratulates myself or console me for getting through these times.  Just something purely for me.  My usual treats have become food (I heart sweets), shopping/spending money (that I really shouldn't be spending, even if it is "just" a cuppa joe or a thrift store shirt), and internet time (which isn't very satisfying, absorbs me, and leaves me busier later).  I used to enjoy reading novels and yoga but there's just not enough solitary time anymore.  I guess my creativity is being used elsewhere because I can't seem to come up with much else these days... sigh.


So what are your little treats or rewards that keep you going?  I need something that satisfies these requirements:

1. Must be non-edible

2. Must not involve spending money

3. Must take very little time

4. Must be able to do on the job (i.e. does not require a sitter)


Do these treats even exist or am I just looking at this the wrong way??  I know being a parent is it's own wonderful reward, but that's a different thread, and I'm hoping for something a bit more immediate and tangible! winky.gif 


post #2 of 20

Oh - well - I had a good one until you said it can't require a sitter...  I was going to say a hot bath with a book and a glass of wine while hubby watches the kids.


One thing I loved last year was when I enrolled both kids in the Y swim classes at the same time ... and I would sit in the hot tub and watch swim class from there!!

post #3 of 20

I am interested to see what people say on this one because like you I tend to spend money (which is not an option since we are suppose to be saving money :0 ). I  use to love to take hot baths but our bath tub at my MIL is just not big nor comfortable enough to do that. I also love reading but have been so tired by the time I have quite time that I usually just take a nap haha! ;)

post #4 of 20
Thread Starter 


Originally Posted by HappyMommy2 View Post
One thing I loved last year was when I enrolled both kids in the Y swim classes at the same time ... and I would sit in the hot tub and watch swim class from there!!

Ooh that sounds great!  We're hoping to join the Y this winter when we won't get outside as much, but it's not in the budget for now.


Originally Posted by Sarah Broyles View Post

I am interested to see what people say on this one because like you I tend to spend money (which is not an option since we are suppose to be saving money :0 ). I  use to love to take hot baths but our bath tub at my MIL is just not big nor comfortable enough to do that. I also love reading but have been so tired by the time I have quite time that I usually just take a nap haha! ;)

Yep, living on a budget has really made me aware of how much I spend on little treats... a coffee at the drive thru when dd naps in the car (heaven), thrift store finds that I justify because they were so cheap, a little extra something at the grocery store, something new from amazon that I spend my little free time picking out, or the biggie: eating out because we're out of town or running errands around lunchtime... it's not much each time, and then I can't believe how much it adds up to! 


I had the (naive) idea one night that I would try enjoying a nice bubble bath for a treat WITH my dd.  You can probably imagine that it didn't turn into much of a treat for me.


post #5 of 20

How much time are we talking about? 5 minutes? 20 minutes? 

post #6 of 20



-Read a magazine. You can borrow them for free from the public library! I enjoy a mix of 'easy reading' (Whole Living, Martha Stewart Living) and more intellectually stimulating magazines (Brain Child, The Economist, etc.) 


-Listen to a podcast. There are tons of great ones out there that can be listened to online for free. Let me know if you need any recommendations. 


-Write/Journal. I keep a "Gratitude Journal" that I write in every day. I take a few moments to jot down a few things that day that I'm grateful for. Some days this is easy, and other days require a bit more thinking. During the stressful times, its nice to make a conscious effort to step back and appreciate the good things in my life. 


-Do a few yoga poses. My favorite 5 minute yoga routine is to string together the four warrior poses. Begin in the Downward Facing Dog position. Push into Plank pose. Transition into Cobra pose. Push back into Downward Facing Dog. Lift right leg up, swing it through into a lunge. Transition into Warrior I pose. Open from Warrior I to Warrior II. Then, transition into Reverse Warrior pose. Open up into side angle pose. Repeat on the other side. 


-Have a fun project going at all times that you can work on in short spurts. It could be anything...crafting, sewing, knitting, planning a garden, finding new recipes, organizing photos, etc. Most of my current projects are home decor related and even though I can't dedicate hours at a time to it, I still enjoy working on it here and there. Have you heard of Pinterest? There are tons of easy DIY project/craft tutorials on there. 


I'll see what else I can come up with and come back later. Hope that helps!






post #7 of 20

Some of mine might not really help you but this is what I concider reward;


bike ride in the park (when my kids were littler I put them in a cart that attached to my bike)


reading fiction, if only for 5-10 minutes

turning music on and dancing

baking bread and eating warm with hummus... mmmmMMmmmm!!  (cheap to make both yourself)

making iced coffee in the middle of the day



post #8 of 20

Library: If your 3yo is anything like my 2.5yo, she'll have fun getting lost in the children's section and finding new books to thumb through. And you can sit with your own book or just enjoy the peace and quiet for a few minutes. They also have DVDs you can check out, if you're not TV- or movie-free.


Park: It's free, outside, and even wandering around a park without a playground is a pleasant way to recharge. I like going there even in bad weather and I find that we all sleep better when we get even a little bit of fresh air during the day.


Drive: I don't know if you have access to a car during the day or not but sometimes the only way I can keep my sanity is to strap my little ones into their car seats and go for a short cruise with the music going and the windows open. DS loves it because he gets to see lots of trucks and trains, and DD usually falls asleep before we get home. Barring a car, what about just taking the bus around town for a little while? Little kids usually love to ride the bus (or subway or train), and bus fare is relatively cheap.


Clip coupons: You might not be into this, but if you need to be frugal right now and want a fun-ish activity to do with a 3yo, clipping coupons might be it. You can ask her to find things she recognizes from the kitchen or your household, or just tell her where to cut with her little safety scissors. Couponing is something I made a resolution to start doing and I think it might coincide nicely with my son's enjoyment of cutting paper and finding small things in big stacks. Or he might just crumple and tear and throw, but it's worth a try. smile.gif


If you want to start knitting or crocheting, a woman in my knitting group routinely buys huge bundles of needles and hooks from the local Goodwill. She claims they have the best crafting stuff there, including even yarn. It's time-consuming but satisfying and YouTube videos and Ravelry.com can teach you anything you could possibly want to learn.


Good luck, mama! I know how stressful it gets when you feel like you can't get a break or do anything just for you.

post #9 of 20
None of you listed which cities you are in ... I don't blame you with the recent Fbook thing going on... but there's generally free stuff to do in every city worth its salt in the summer. Free concerts in the park, movies in the park, fun library outings and special events at state parks. I bet if you poke around you can find some cool stuff. Pack a picnic, a blanket and go have an outing! You might make a new friend or see something new. It always invigorates me.
post #10 of 20

Foot Spa! There's an article in Mothering from May-June 2009 that has good ideas... http://www.mothering-digital.com/mothering/20090506/?pg=4#pg60 I hope that link works. If not, I just googled the article name: This little piggie went to the spa by Angela Cannon-Crothers.

post #11 of 20
post #12 of 20

I love to put my little one in my Ergo and go for a short walk.  It helps keep me calm and remember my priorities.

post #13 of 20

I usually take a cup of hot tea (if cold) or cold tea, juice etc (if it's hot) outside to the deck and try to remember to breath. I bring a book and chill for a bit. Being outside is a great way to calm, even it's it's just a deck on the second story like mine is :)

post #14 of 20
Thread Starter 

Yay, these are great ideas!!  Keep 'em coming!  I'll add one that mommy212 reminded me of... on the rare days I wake up before dd, I'll make coffee and head to the porch with a book.  We have outside kitties, and there's usually one there to purr on my lap while I read and wake up.   

post #15 of 20

This is a really great thread!  I have a very happy SAHM-hood but I really don't want to be spending money on treats because they usually ARE food! whistling.gif


-I like to lay on the hammock with a book or nothing. 

-Take walks

-We have a great cafe near us that is in a church.  It has a tea for $1.50 (I know you said no food or money but I'm just sharing that it was a small compromise for me. The tea has no calories!)  It has a train table and a huge, usually empty room for dd to walk around in.  It's not busy and crowded like a usual coffee-shop.

-I do like to play video games sometimes. I see a difference in playing the Wii in the living room vs being on my computer at my desk.  I totally agree about being absorbed.  For some reason, mentally, it's easier to be more social out there and quit within a reasonable time.

-I have a small flat screen in my kitchen so while I cook and tidy I can watch DVDs (Usually the Simpsons or Arrested Development) but I also get guilty pleasure movies from the library.  I can watch the one with "swears" while it's only me and the baby at home.

-I love Playaways from the library.  They are like books on CD but it's a single, small unit where you plug in your headphones like an ipod.

-I can also borrow digital books from the library and listen.

-A game of irl solitare

-Call and chatting with a friend

-I have been considering taking up letter writing.  I love reading other people's letters from long ago and think it's a shame that's going by the wayside

-Keeping a journal

-I love baths!  Maybe you could time it with nap time



I'll write more later if I think of some more.

post #16 of 20

I like doing a little crafting with whatever I have in the house.   Handsewing is portable, put-down-able, and free if you own a needle and use recycled materials from your house. Applique motifs, making tiny stuffed animals or dolls from felted sweaters, hemming cloths for kitchen towels, etc.  I find it rather meditative.

post #17 of 20

I tend to have the same problem as you, but here are a few things I have found that are free and don't require extra care:


-going for a run with DD in the jogger, especially if I can find a friend to go with me.  

-heading outside or to the park with a book.  DD, 2.5, will rarely let me read inside, but outside she is usually content to play without me for a while.  

-playgroup with friends.  This is always so nice for me, and the kids are usually content to play together, especially if outside.

-For a couple months I was swapping childcare with a friend in the mornings so we could each go workout.  That was a really nice way to get a break and it was free, minus the work I had to do watching her child.

post #18 of 20

play darts

do brain puzzles (sudoku and the like)

read a (recent) newspaper

read child education books

ironing (lol, i usually find this quite relaxing; it's the only housework thing I 'm able to 'enjoy' out of free will ;-)

read fiction (I also do enjoy reading quality children's books aimed at childrn 10 and older)

read or check through a magazine

reading preferably on the porch or in the yard with a cup of tea (no sugar ;-)


be creative with recycling-at-home (I keep a lot of things that may come out useful, also pieces of fabric, or I cut up old clothes for this reason, then I may get ideas of making someting out of these materials) - I also create original patches out of these for the torn legs of my ds's trousers, many of his 'worn pieces' became unique fpor this reason ;-)

chat with a neighbour

play frisbee with my kid in the park (not really 'off duty', but it's fun!)

read through cookbooks for future creative meal-or-snack-making

be online for a while and do e-mails, looking up info

finally get to arrange all our family pictures in albums

draw/paint (when you have enough time at hand)

listen to music, or put on the radio/music while doing another task

bake cookies (for the kids!)

play with the cat

plant some flowers in a pot and watch them grow :-)

stare out of the window and loose myself in thinking

write/create cards

redecorate house (move small items around the house for a 'new' look)

biking (home-trainer)

play with a bouncing ball or jojo ;-)



And no, I do not do all these things every day or all of the time, but these are things I2ve been doing at least once, and some on a regular basis, as a break to myself






post #19 of 20

Reading is  the only  thing that keeps me sane some days.  I put DD1 into bed wit her own books and tell she doesn't have to sleep, but she has to read and be quiet.  Then I read while I nurse the baby to sleep.  The only issue with this is the risk of dropping a hardcover on the baby.

post #20 of 20

There are a lot of things that keep me going that don't meet your requirements and aren't especially healthy... but there is one thing that DOES meet your requirements and DOESN'T have health risks associated with it (other than making you go blind). It always makes me feel better!

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