written by Rory Anderson, contributing writer, VP LiFT Consulting, Foster Division
When is the last time you took a day off from being mom? I know what you’re thinking. “How could I do that? I can’t even go to the bathroom without my 2 year old getting into my seldom-used lipstick and painting her whole body with it or my teenagers getting into a verbal brawl.” But seriously, when was the last time you did something for YOU? I don’t mean falling asleep in front of the TV at 2 a.m. watching British Netflix dramas because you’ve been up with a crying baby all night. I mean a purposefully planned outing you’ve prepared just for yourself — something you’re really looking forward to and know will fill your social and emotional need’s bucket.
Here’s the awesome paradox of doing something good for yourself: By choosing to treat yourself to something that fills your personal reservoir of social and emotional health, you often end up coming back to “mom life” with a renewed zeal and desire to be a better mom. In other words, even if we initially feel a twinge of guilt about leaving our kids or hubby for a few hours (or dare I say weekend?), in the end we are better moms and wives when we return.
As the summer approaches, many moms feel drained thinking about how to entertain their kids all day, every day. They fill their schedules up with camps and classes, swim lessons and sports — giving their kids opportunities to do fun activities. But what about mom?
Here are some mom-approved ideas to planning a few days to yourself this summer. Make a goal to do something for yourself once or twice a month, if not weekly. The most impactful way to make YOUR day a success? Plan a specific day and time for YOU at least a week ahead of time. That way you’ve got something to look forward to and when the day comes, you’re all the more excited for it. Of course, being the frugal gal that I am, I must suggest setting a budget for yourself each month so that you can indulge without feeling guilty.
- Pampering day: Get a massage, get your nails done, have a spa day with a friend, get a makeover at a cosmetics counter, or relish in a full-service pedicure. These are all ways to treat yourself. One mom I know, who has constant chronic pain, treats herself to a massage regularly.
- Alone time: If you’re an introvert like I am, you MUST make time for yourself. Go to the park and cozy up on a blanket in the sun and read a good book, or lock yourself in your room for a couple of hours while your kids take a nap. The power of alone time is priceless.
- Go out with friends: Getting froyo, attending a book club, shopping, going out to dinner or a movie, or just going for a walk are all great ways to connect with your girlfriends. My favorite is gathering for lunch dates. A young mom I know plans a day or night out with a different friend once a week, so she has a date to look forward to every week!
- Best birthday gift: A few years ago, a good friend of mine experienced the best birthday ever when her husband arranged for her to spend an evening alone at a hotel. He prepared a suitcase for her with all of her favorite things including favorite books, a laptop with her favorite movies downloaded on it, some chocolate, and her favorite PJs. He dropped her off and she spent the next 24 hours doing all of the things she loves to do without interruption. Sounds heavenly, right?!
- Guilt-free nanny: Ever thought about getting a babysitter during the day … just because? When I was a stay-at-home-mom with five kids under the age of 10, I swore off grocery shopping until about 9 p.m. because I loathed taking my kids with me. I wish I would have thought of paying a friend or college student to watch them for me while I went out for a few hours to run errands uninterrupted or to sneak in a lunch date. I know a mom who does this at least once a week. She says it’s a lifesaver and she feels like she’s a better mom because of it.
- No money/no time: Sometimes you can’t leave the house or don’t have the money to front the extra time away or activities. Taking a nap, meditating, sitting on your porch with a cup of cocoa, watching a movie, or just reading a book while the kids are having some quiet time are all great ways to re-center and re-balance.
Make a goal this month to do at least ONE activity for yourself … something that YOU find joy in doing … something that helps you feel renewed and ready to take on life … something that makes you feel like you can do this “mom thing.”