Do you have mommy burn-out? Tomorrow is Mother’s Day and all I really want is to escape my kids for the day. I know I’m not the only mom who feels that way…and then feels guilty about it.
Six hours. That’s all I the time I get kid-free every week – if I’m lucky. My youngest is still in preschool and I have to try to cram in all my work, phone calls for bills, gyno appointments (because who wants to take a little boy along to the lady doc: “Mommy what are those foot holders for?”) etc. in those six hours. That’s if I wasn’t stupid enough to volunteer at school on one of my free mornings…for the next six weeks. I know, I’m an idiot. But that damn ‘mom guilt’ is in the back of my head keeping a tally of how much I do for each of my boys so, in a moment of weakness/guilt, I signed up to volunteer. Idiot.
Self-care is the most important component to a mom’s sanity. Trust me – I’ve danced on that line too many times! Right now I’m counting down until my baby starts kindergarten (three months, nine days) but nobody can sit around waiting for an entire season to pass before they regain their sanity. So…here are some band-aids I use to keep afloat when I’m drowning in mommy-hood. Maybe you can find something that will work for you, too!
- Stories. I love all stories, whether they are books, television shows or movies. I love how I can get lost in them. Getting engulfed in another reality can really help you unplug from all the monotony of raising children.
- Make a date with yourself. My husband travels a lot for his job. I’ve learned that the best way to avoid boiling over is to stick to the rule: if he’s out of town more than two nights I have a babysitter. Simply going to a movie by myself, having dinner with a friend, roaming the mall without a kid in tow or sitting alone in a coffee shop reading while I let someone else do dinner and bedtime is wonderful! In the middle of hubby’s busy conference season, I completely lose my shit if I don’t follow this rule religiously. Trust me.
- Get moving. Don’t worry – I’d be the last person to lecture anyone on getting a gym membership! However, I love it when I wake up with the urge to tear apart and rebuild the garden pond, plant flowers, rearrange furniture, explore a new mall/museum/state park. Doing something physical helps burn frustration energy and gives your mind a challenge.
- Give your life a soundtrack. I cannot function in silence. I have had a Pandora account since they first started and the $5/month I pay to avoid commercials is money well spent. I devote time to building playlists or stations for every aspect of life. I need The Black Keys station to write anything. AC/DC or The Beastie Boys help me get house cleaning done and I love Paul Simon to hang out with friends. Katy Perry is great in the mornings to get me dancing. I also love Spotify and download things from iTunes whenever a song speaks to me…like Justin Timberlake’s latest!
- Get beautiful. Don’t get me wrong – I drop my kids off in my pajamas a lot! But after almost 12 years of motherhood I try to put on a bra and wear make-up much more than I did when I was in the hell of diaper-hood. Wearing mascara and a pair of earrings makes me feel like I’m trying to be normal. I still can get ready (makeup included) in less than four minutes. Trust me, I’m not glamorous. But I feel like a million bucks when I try to be a girl.
After the trend of perfect Pinterest moms and the pendulum swing of moms needing coffee and wine to survive our kids – I think we need to find a happy medium. Most importantly, we need to support each other and know that just like everything in life this is just a phase. Hang in there. I’ve heard rumors that we’ll miss them when they move out. But for now I’ll keep counting down to becoming an empty-nester. (13 years, 3 months, BTW.)