Form friendships, trade favors. Consider leaving your kids for a few hours or for a sleepover with trusted friends with their own kids. Next time, offer to return the favor for them. Thomas says this is a great way to get quality self-time for more than just a few moments.

Parents can initiate these types of friendships with people from church, school or in their neighborhood. “Parents have to pursue it,” she says. “They have to be brave and initiate these to develop these relationships. Many people are willing to help, but you have to ask.”

Go clubbing. Check out babysitting clubs; there may be some in your area that you can foster relationships with and learn to trust to care for your child. Also, babysitting costs can add up. Don’t neglect giving yourself time because there's no money. Budget money ahead of time and make a habit of it.

Getting your kids involved in developing their own activities outside of school is also a great idea. Not only is this good for them socially, it can afford you an hour or two of time to yourself to take care of your needs. You may be surprised at a new passion or talent that your child develops.

Send them packing. “Send your kids with arthritis to camp and your other child to a different camp. That way everyone gets a break, siblings get a break, and your child with arthritis gets a break from having someone worry about them,” says Thomas.

These planned special activities can be something everyone looks forward to each year and can serve as “mini vacations” for parents. Parents sometimes don’t think of allowing their kids to go to non-arthritis camps. Most camps are required to make accommodations for children’s disabilities, so these are an option as well.

New found time

What's a parent to do with newly-found “me” time? Thomas suggests finding something that makes you feel fulfilled, other than parenting.

“You need to have something that you feel good about doing,” she says. “You want to have something that fulfills your personal and emotional needs.”

That can be anything from taking regular walks with a neighbor to signing up for painting classes at the local arts center to practicing mediation. You decide.

Also, if you're in a relationship, spend some time with your partner. Devoting time to fostering your relationship can provide you with a much needed shoulder to lean on when things get stressful.

While it may take hard work to give yourself permission to take personal time and persistence to get it, it's important for parents’ personal health. Being a happy, healthy individual can make you a better parent.