“Mama… Mommy… Mom… MOM!!!!”
I hear my little man yell this from the other room just as I sat down to eat something for the first time today. It’s 2:30 p.m. at this point by the way. Of course, I get up from the kitchen table and go check on him. Everything is fine, he just wants a snack and to have my help with a puzzle. Being the ‘good mom’ I am, I fill up a bowl with some veggie straws and plop myself down next to him on the floor to help build a super-hero puzzle. We play for over half an hour before I quickly realize my lunch is now cold and still sitting where I left it on our kitchen table. I’d like to just say this is motherhood (and somedays, it is). But, it doesn’t have to be. In fact, it shouldn’t be! Even good moms need a time-out!
Let’s be honest; the late nights, early mornings, or even middle of the night wakings are exhausting. Passing out snacks over and over again all-day when we haven’t even made the time to feed ourselves is damaging. Changing diapers and wiping bums meanwhile, we can’t even pee in peace (I know you’ve all been there, too).
This is all part of motherhood, and while my kids truly are my greatest joy, it is draining overtime. And this mama needs a time-out.
We’ve all heard about the importance of self-care; I know it plasters my Instagram feed more often than not. It honestly seems to be all the rage right now. While I love a quiet hot bath and definitely agree that a mani-pedi never hurts, neither one of those will truly restore my nearly-empty ‘mama tank’ (as I like to call it). What I really need is a time-out.
Now, what on Earth does that ‘time-out’ even look like? This took some trial and error and self-reflection on my part to figure out, but a few different things work best for me.
- Exercise – I always say there isn’t anything that a good workout can’t fix; mom tank included! I try to squeeze in a minimum of three during the week. Even 30 minutes of uninterrupted time to just sweat it out can work wonders.
- A full night of sleep – I know, I know. I can hear you all laughing already! Moms don’t get a full night of sleep hardly ever. We are normally late to bed, awake before the sun, and sometimes even up a few times in the midnight hours. All of this is exactly why it is needed and is such a huge way to replenish that nearly empty tank. I’ll normally tell my husband at least once a month that I need this kind of break, it will typically be on a weekend evening. That night I will head to bed when the kids do and he lets me sleep in the next morning. It’s glorious!!!
- A trip – Again, I can hear you all laughing. But, hear me out! I have a 4-year-old and an 8-month-old, and I can count on one hand the number of nights I’ve spent away from them. I actually struggle big time leaving them! However, the overnight dates away with my husband and the one girls’ trip I took were so worth it! I came home and my mom tank was overflowing.
- 60-second reset – This is my go-to and honestly the easiest to achieve on a more regular basis. Take yourself to a different room in the house, lock the door, and set a 60-second timer. It is amazing how quickly we can change our mood and emotions when we have a quick minute alone to do so. While this probably won’t be enough to completely refill your tank, it will most definitely get you through until you can do something more restorative.
Keep in mind, just as we are unique moms, so are our tanks and what will fill them. What works for me, may not be what rejuvenates you. And that is totally ok! I have lived a good part of the last four years wearing the title of mama, and thinking that it meant I had to hold it all together all the time. Obviously, motherhood smacked me in the face, squashed that thought, and humbled me pretty quickly. We can be good moms, pack all the lunches, give all the bubble baths, and kiss all the ouchies, but we also need a break every now and then.
Motherhood can quickly cause us to burn-out, so here’s to trying to take a mom time-out!