There’s not a question in my mind that I love my daughter, love spending time with her, and enjoy the privilege of staying home with her. However, mommy-ing (yes, I just made that up) is a full-time, 24/7 job with pretty crappy sick leave and poor lunch hours. Sometimes, moms need a break. Before you start saying that you “don’t have time” or you “can’t trust anyone” or “what kind of mom leaves their child with a babysitter?” I’m not suggesting abandoning your precious bundle for a month long reprieve in Hawaii, just an hour or two to catch your breath, put on some lipstick, and wear a shirt without stains. You can do this!
Why you need this: As if my reasons above aren’t enough (aren’t you tired of spit up stained clothing?), I believe that an hour or so of time to myself does wonders for just about everything in my life. I don’t mean the “free time” I have during my daughter’s nap while I fold laundry, wash lunch dishes, and scrub the avocado off the wall. I mean actual free time to read a book, talk on the phone, get a manicure or even work out! After an hour out of my home, I feel as though I have a second wind and can tackle just about anything. I have found that even the smallest bit of time to myself is a real lifesaver and works wonders on my mental health. It’s even better when I can get together with some close friends and enjoy some free time with them.
What should you do? If you haven’t yet left your child alone with hubby, you might want to start off slowly. If you’re a little scared, get in your car and ask dad to watch your child for 15 minutes and go to the nearest Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks and order a coffee. Sit and sip it for the next ten minutes without interruption. You’re welcome. If you are ready for something a little braver, take a trip to the nail salon and get a mani or pedi. Have a little more faith in your significant other? How about a brunch or lunch with a friend? You might even try a shopping trip for yourself, and yes, it’s okay if you buy something for the baby too! Ready for a babysitter? Go out with hubby for a quick dinner or to see a movie. You will be so glad you did.
What are the benefits? Three weeks after I had my daughter I braved the outdoors for my first solo trip since she had been born. As I headed to the nail salon, I felt like the worst mother in the world. Who on Earth leaves their 3 week old to go get a manicure? Apparently, me. It was the most wonderful hour of my life after I pushed through all the guilt. When I came back, I felt like I had been rejuvenated and was even happier to see my daughter sleeping peacefully in her father’s arms. A little bit of free time goes a long way! After getting out and about, I usually feel refreshed and attack my never-ending to do list with a renewed energy. Call me crazy but I definitely find that my marriage does a lot better when both parents have some down time. We each learn to appreciate the other’s effort so much more and when we return from our free time, we are that much more calm and relaxed with one another. Happy parents make for happy kids!
As moms, I believe that it’s important to take care of ourselves to the best of our ability. Without proper mental and physical rest, we become cranky, overwhelmed, and exhausted. When mom takes a break, everybody reaps the benefits. It’s the best gift you can give your family!
What are some ways that you like to unwind?