December 16, 2010 10:00 AM

Courtesy Random House

So often, moms can’t find a minute for themselves.

And even more often, they feel guilty about taking that free minute for a manicure, a phone call, or a nap.

Pals (and working mamas) Julie Klappas and Lyss Stern were those kinds of moms.

“We both have two kids under 8 years old, and we were laughing while telling each other, ‘I haven’t had a second to go to the bathroom today,’ or, ‘I haven’t even had a cup of coffee,’ ” Stern tells PEOPLE Moms & Babies.

“But it wasn’t funny! We thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice to have just 10 minutes of free time?’ We knew if we felt this way, other moms probably did, too.”

So in their minimal free time, Klappas and Stern joined forces and penned the book If You Give a Mom a Martini … 100 Ways to Find 10 Blissful Minutes for Yourself ($17).

“You need to tell moms out there that it’s OK to take that time,” Stern says. “If we don’t take care of ourselves, nobody else will.”

Based on the theory that everybody has 10 minutes a day to do something for themselves, the authors complied a list of ideas that run the gamut from free (“Shop your closet!”) to extravagant (“Go into a jewelry store, look at that beautiful diamond ring and just try it on for 10 minutes”).

Courtesy Michael Jurick Photography

There’s also a forward from Christie Brinkley, and advice from Kelly Ripa (she watches Judge Judy in her 10 minutes) and Jill Hennessy (she sits under a tree while strumming her guitar).

Other ideas include playing Wii Sports when your kids aren’t home, throwing out your “granny panties” and only keeping the sexy lingerie, and escaping to the grocery store for a few minutes to enjoy some free samples.

“It’s completely overwhelming how little free time you have once you become a mom,” Stern says. “You’re juggling so many balls at once and trying not to let one drop. But try to remember who you were before you had kids — you should still love being that fabulous person you were, and still are.”

Kate Hogan


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