It’s almost two in the afternoon. Reece has been napping for about an hour, which means I have another thirty minutes of quiet time. Yep, I get a full hour and a half that I can use to unload the dishwasher, clean my house, fold laundry, write a blog post that’s due in two days (cough, cough) etc. I didn’t. Instead, I wandered around my house, assessing the damage from the weekend, and decided I was just too tired. I needed a mommy break and THAT’S OK!
This past weekend was the Junior League of Tampa’s Holiday Gift Market. I spent three days working there as a League volunteer. It was also my daughter’s 8th birthday. We hosted a little dance party yesterday for 22 of her girlfriends. This meant that in between shifts, I ran around town picking up party supplies and cake and assembling 22 party favors. Needless to say, by Sunday evening I was exhausted. But instead of hitting the sheets early last night, I stayed up making a tooth fairy costume for my daughter’s school play this week.
So today, instead of cleaning my house, I decided to take a nice, long bath. Yes, I took a bubble bath in the middle of the day. And you know what? I’m not sorry. I took a mommy break and THAT’s OK.
Have you ever had one of those days when your life gets so crazy that you fantasize just a little bit about your life before kids? Maybe you look at your kidless friend’s Facebook post and feel a tinge of jealously? Of course, you immediately remind yourself how much you love your children and continue on with your day, still feeling overwhelmed and, now, incredibly guilty too. I’ve been there, and it turns out, statistically, you probably have too.
I don’t know how it happened, but someone, somewhere decided a long time ago that in order to be a good wife and a good mother, a woman needs to abandon her own pursuit of happiness. After all, her husband and her children are her happiness, right? Well, yes… I can honestly say that my husband and my children are the best thing in my life. Therefore, it was very confusing when those feelings of jealousy popped up. I found that I was almost punishing myself for having those kinds of thoughts.
Sure, so-and-so gets to go to Rome for a week and a half with her husband, but you have two beautiful kids. What is wrong with you? Rome is more important than your children? You don’t deserve to be a mother. All that negative self-talk only made things worse, I felt even more overwhelmed, helpless, and lost, and the cycle would repeat, over and over and over…
Then one night after the kids had gone to bed, I looked at myself in the mirror. I looked tired (that’s the code word people use these days – you know what it means.) I didn’t even recognize myself. So, I tossed on some workout clothes, ran downstairs, and announced to my husband that I was going to the gym. I finished my workout, looked at the clock, and decided to sit in the steam room, even though it was getting close to my own bedtime. I needed it. On my way home, I felt amazing, but not because of the workout or the steam room (although that was incredible,) but because I had done something for me, and just for me.
I started making time for myself every night – it became part of the routine, which was surprising, because if you’d asked me before, I would have told you there was no time for “me time” in my jam packed day. And yet it there it was – every day I was able to find some time for myself. The most surprising thing about it was that my husband and kids didn’t seem to mind. In fact, it seemed like they liked me even better now.
You see, selfish and self-care not synonyms. It is not selfish to do what you need to do to make sure that you, (Insert Name Here – not “Mom” – Your Real Name), find time to take care of yourself. It will make you a better mother. When you’re stressed and overwhelmed, your kids feel it. You’re short-tempered, you’re moody, you’re sad… I only wish I’d figured this out earlier. So today, even though I had tons of things to do, I took a bubble bath in the middle of the day. And now, I’ll move on down my to do list, checking them off one by one. Even though the list isn’t any shorter than it was this morning, I feel better after having some quiet time to clear my mind.
So for all of you busy moms, here’s a little list of things I do when I need a little “me” time and have a mommy break.
Take a Bubble Bath
This may or may not involve a glass of wine, that depends of the kind of day I’ve had. Sometimes, I just need one in the middle of the day. (The bubble bath, not the wine.)
Go for a Walk/Run
And I don’t mean with the jogging stroller (although, if you have good ear buds and don’t need to stop every 3 feet to pick up the sippy cup your toddler keeps throwing/screaming for then that could work too.) We live in a beautiful city, go explore it. I love running along Bayshore at dusk… seeing the sunset reflect off of the buildings downtown is magical.
Try a New Fitness Class
I recently stepped out of my comfort zone and tried a Hot Power Flow Yoga class and felt so invigorated and connected to my body. I was on a high all day.
Take a Nap
You know how people say “nap when the baby naps?” Well, actually do that.
Ok, this was hard for me to get into, but just taking 5 minutes a day to write the things I’m grateful for or the things I want in life has made a huge impact on my mood.
Plan a Night Out
With your husband, with your girlfriends – whatever. Just plan a night out without your beautiful children. I know you love them, but if you haven’t had a conversation that doesn’t involved diapers, sippy cups, or weird rashes it’s time.
Read a Book
Put your phone down, pick up a good book, and lose yourself in it.
And above all, moms, just be kind to yourselves. Whether you stay-at-home or work full time, you have a tough job. You can’t pour from an empty cup – it’s OK to take some time for yourself. Take a Mommy Break! Your sanity, your husband, and your kids with thank you for it!