How do you make time for yourself?

Parenting any special need takes its toll.

I think I have slowly gone through every stage.  For a time, I tried to be Super Woman.  Eventually that led me to the title of Crash and Burn Mom.  Then there were those several months of being Pity Party Patty (any reference to Patty's living or dead is purely coincidental).

Now I am somewhere in the middle of it all.  I finally had to grasp the fact that I cannot afford outside help (our THERAPIST is our "outside help").  For me, that meant having a little funeral for the death of a clean house dream. 

I have learned ways to treat myself without spending much or going too far from home.  At least once a week I spend an entire evening hibernating in my bedroom with a movie, while my husband takes the wheel.  We can have regular "dates" when we just wait until the kids are in bed.  Take-out and Netflix can be very refreshing. We sometimes will hire a babysitter to come thirty minutes after everyone is down for the night.  We'll go out and do something while they get paid to sit, watch TV and text their friends (meaning - we don't have to pay as much!!).  If someone wakes up sick or something, we can head right back home.

I am always trying to come up with little things I can do to keep myself rejuvenated for my kids and my husband.  Some days I simply have to throw in the towel and have a good, healthy meltdown.  But I'm constantly learning to pace myself, as my kids grow and their needs and disorders take on new phases. 

Not only does money always play into self-renewal, but so does childcare.  In our case, we sometimes need to divide the kids up between two different sitters.  It took me a very long time to actually take people up on free childcare offers.  It is the first thing I offer to others in difficult circumstances, and I mean it.  Yet, it has been painful for me to let others do the same (so, maybe I'm not TOTALLY out of the Super Woman stage).  Now, however, I stop immediately and write down it down.  I have even been known to ask, "Really?  Well, what are you doing Friday?"  I really do enjoy reaching out to others.  What a turd I'm being when I deprive someone else the same thing.

Granted, babysitting our kids is not like sitting someone else's.  Our "list" of information is more like a novel.  Some of us could never entrust our children to a teenager (others, not even anyone short of a medical degree!). 

All of our situations are different, but our need to keep ourselves healthy is the same.  How do you do it?  Have you come up with any tricks to make it easier?  What is your cheapest/favorite way to give yourself a break?