It’s hard coming to terms with the fact that we kind of need to slip away from our little ones in the first place, because some of us are REALLY hard on ourselves and we feel guilty for having that “I need a minute to myself” feeling. But, I’ve said it once, twice, a million times and I’ll say it again…getting that exclusive mom time is key to coming back refreshed, recharged and ready to take on tempers and tasks better than if we are around the clock burning out on home duties and child rearing. If the kids are acting absolutely crazy, one of those days where they’re just fighting and picking at each other, etc..and I get to go upstairs even for just a 10 minute shower while someone watches them, even THAT small of a break gives me the chance to recharge and come back better able to handle the meltdowns. It helps restore my patience and I think that’s what I lot of us are lacking with back-to-back endless hours of having no breaks from wild little ones.
The other day, I had nothing on our schedule except that I wanted to go to the gym. When I go to work out, it’s only 25-30 minutes but it’s really intense and sweaty and that’s a far cry from the slow treadmill-walking pregnant lady I started out as last summer..so I’m REALLY happy about my work outs now and they feel like a huge win! But in order for me to get that half an hour workout to myself 10 miles down the road in Nags Head, I have to haul three little kids to the YMCA to put in the daycare area. That’s a LOT of work…and sometimes it almost gives me an excuse not to go. I have to pack toddler diapers, infant diapers, wipes, pacifiers and paci wipes, two waters for the big girls, snacks, brush their hair, get them dressed, make sure they’ve eaten before we leave and especially Autumn since I’m nursing…I mean it’s just like this WHOLE charade to get out the door and the first three times I did this with all three kids, Autumn wanted to eat again before going in so I had to do that AND change her diapers at least twice in the car before taking them into the building…it was STRESSFUL.
The thing is though, as stressful as it is…what better way to alleviate that stress than going in for a good workout and getting some quiet time to myself?! It definitely cancels itself out and the girls have so much fun getting to go play with all those toys and other kids. I feel sooooo refreshed and thankful I went, every single time. I truly think they also appreciate the break from their stressed out mom, if I’m being honest. If I made the excuse that it’s hard, I would never have built up these mom skills to handle getting outta the house in the first place and I’m thankful for the challenges (eventually…not during them, during them I’m usually cussing a little or crying) – but they prepare me so much better to slip outta the house again later and get that CRUCIAL mom time.
So what is holding you back from getting out? Here are some things moms frequently mention make them give up and not leave the house when they need it most:
1. The struggle of how much work it is to pack up the kids and drive there, feeling like it’s more trouble than it’s worth
2. Guilt about leaving them
3. Being too tired between getting yourself ready after prepping the kids to be dropped off/taken care of at home by someone
4. Not enough time to squeeze all that effort into a day
5. Feeling like others can’t take of them the same way you can
6. For longer trips, nursing moms that have to stop to pump/bring cooler for breastmilk
There are a lot of reasons we “just can’t” follow through with mom time, so we say. The truth is that we can but so many of us are not willing to endure the stress of the preparation it takes to leave and make sure the kids are taken care of….and a big factor in that? TIME. How is your time managed on those days where you want to slip out for an hour or so? Do you have a “mommy’s leaving the house” to do list? YOU SHOULD! One of the biggest things that takes us SOOO long and drags out is not the tempers, the bad moods, the diaper changes and the feedings, it’s us walking around the house scrambling to remember what the next step is to take. “Did I already pack the pacis? What else am I forgetting? Where are my sunglasses? Did I already pack my wallet?” Here’s kind of how I rock this out nowadays and I hope this helps you, too!
Let’s use the gym for example. I’m going to the gym, here’s how this scenario looks for me now:
1. I already have a gym bag by the front door with everything I need in it. Towels, deodorant, shower stuff if I want to slip one in while there (kind of PERFECT for moms with little ones who don’t get showers daily!), I know that the one thing I need to do is transfer my wallet, phone and a new water bottle to that bag…that’s IT. Mama’s packed!
2. I also have my gym clothes separate from all of my other clothes..so those are always easy to find and grab fast!
3. The diaper bag I usually check nightly to ensure is packed, and when I go to the gym, I just add a couple of snacks and the girls waters. I have a list for this, too now to double check all is well and ready to head out the door and we’re not missing anything!
4. Before heading out I know I need to get each girl dressed, brush their hair and feed Autumn right before putting her in the car. If I do that and drive straight there, I can drop them off and have at least an hour window of time to workout and shower at the YMCA if I want to.
5. When I pick them up, I pump some organic kids hand sanitizer on their hands and throw them a snack in the car on the drive home and they stay SO happy! Usually by the time we get home, that’s when Autumn is ready to eat again..perfect timing!
6. I’m big on leaving time buffers and not stressing too much the days I go to the gym, I want to say I’ll “be there between 9 and 11” so if I’m not running perfectly on time, there’s no stress over it!
7. There is never any harm in preparing for even the smallest task the night BEFORE! Why not?
TRY not to make excuses for yourself when it comes to that much needed time! Carve it out and prioritize it like you would any other activity.
This is how I look when I’m overdue for some mama time, poor little Autumn Jean models my cry face for today’s blog 🙂 haha!