"For years, I have been spending my “non-work" time helping and waiting on others, my husband, my kids and now my parents. How can I get some private time and space for me?"
The bold move is to simply announce: “Every other Saturday is my day and you will all have to take care of yourselves on my day. " Your older kids will think you've gone nuts, your husband will think you are having an affair and your parents will think you are being “selfish". So this is not the ideal approach.
I assume you have noticed that no one says a word when your husband leaves regularly to spend five hours at the golf course. Don't want to take up golf? Look at your local recreation or senior center and see if anything looks interesting. If your family gets used to you going away at regular times for yoga sessions, knitting lessons or volunteer work, it becomes “your time" and soon, they will quit asking “Where are you going?" and when will you be back?"
My wife can easily spend five hours running errands and going to the grocery store on a Saturday. When her father moved in with us, he was ready to call the police after she had been gone for three hours. “How could she possibly still be shopping?" he would ask. He now accepts “her time" or at worst thinks she is a really slow shopper. The point is, over time, people get used to routines. Start with a regular class or two that everyone understands. They get used to you being gone and when the classes end that time slot has become “your time".
You may not even want to leave the house but you still want some private time. That will require that you have some private space. If the kids are gone, claim a bedroom and make it your study. Immediately, start locking it so everyone realizes it is off limits. If you don't have an extra room, look at the closets, a utility room or even a corner of your bedroom. Buy a locking fold down or roll-top desk big enough to hold a computer. You may want to start a family tree or catalog all of your recipes so you will have an answer when they ask what you are always doing on the computer. Again, your time away will soon become part of their routine and they will lose interest. So whether you are chatting with friends, playing solitaire or starting a new business, it has become Your Time-Your Space.
So many Baby Boomers have been caregivers for so long that they have lost “themselves". Drastic mid-life crises acts usually end up bad for everyone. Why not start reclaiming your life a little at a time. Following the steps above to claim some “my time" is a great place to start. It is not too late to make the next thirty years the very best of your life.
The “Baby Boomer's" quest for a good retirement life is solved in Rick's book A Smart Person's Guide to a Great Retirement. If you are over 40, get this retirement plan and start making the next 30 years the very best of your life. Enjoy your 2nd Adult life with everything we can provide.