Whilst doing some research for my next post, I came across the video below. It cracked me up but, since I’m a work-at-home mom too, I can totally relate. I know I can get pretty feral if my husband goes away for longer than 10 hours.
It’s probably no secret that today’s mom is busier than ever.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a mom working from home or at the office. Either way, you’re still trying to balance work and family.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a mom trying to run the household whilst managing your children’s after-school activities or one who home educates her children and are with them throughout the day.
In today’s fast-paced modern society, chances are, you’d have lost your tribe of other moms who are always there to support you. And the hectic pace you live your life often means you have no other time left for anything other than mothering.
It’s a running joke in many parenting groups that if we get to shower during the day, we can consider it a win.
We laugh when we say this but I know that personally, I’d appreciate a break from the relentless ennui that only parents – and usually moms – experience.
To be responsible 24/7 for a young child who is completely dependent on you (for its very survival) every single moment – who wouldn’t need a break from that?
But it’s also a fact that even when moms need a break, we don’t usually go for one.
Many of us will do everything we can to provide the best for our families, often sacrificing our own needs and wants.
We lose contact with old friends – especially if they don’t have kids we can go on playdates with – because heck, ain’t nobody got time for that.
We don’t take care of ourselves like we used to.
Be honest, when was the last time you did your hair and make-up before going out of the house? When was the last time you even cared?
And really, why would you care?
Nobody knows your own name. Now, you answer to “so-and-so’s mom”.
We lose ourselves at the same time that we focus on being a mother.
Why do we do that?
Because now, we have so many conflicting demands on our time, that we end up running round and round like headless chickens trying to accomplish them all.
What to do when moms need a break
I don’t know about you, but I personally breathe a sigh of relief when everyone goes to sleep.
Because then, the house goes silent enough that I can finally hear myself think. That time, when the entire world seems to be sleeping, when there’s no one else to make more demands of me…that’s the only time I have to focus solely on myself.
How about you? What do you do when everybody’s sleeping?
Have you tried reading a good book, calling or chatting with an old friend or just sit and enjoy the silence?
It’s incredibly precious, isn’t it?
And trust me, you need it and deserve it.
Actually, everyone – not just moms – need and deserve the chance to just focus on themselves.
So, when you need a break, don’t be afraid to ask for a break.
Are you doing this whole mom thing solo?
Then, ask a trusted friend, a family member or another caregiver (babysitter? nanny?) to watch the kids for a bit and go do something fun for a few hours if you can and a few minutes if you can’t. The kids will be just fine and you’ll be a lot calmer and a lot more patient when you return.
It becomes incredibly difficult to act with grace and love when you’re running on empty. And you start resenting the people you love because you’re just too damn tired.
So, look after yourself, okay?
And see that guilt you’re feeling for even considering going out or doing something for yourself – without anyone else? That’s normal but also something that you need to learn to set aside. Because even though the feeling is normal, it’s also not true.
Have you ever watched the safety drill instructions given on a cruise ship or a plane?
Remember what they tell adults who are travelling with children?
They’re supposed to put their own oxygen masks on first before taking care of the kids.
Because if the adults pass out, who then will look after the children?
Motherhood is exactly the same.
Have a Break, Have A KitKat
If you think about the example above, you’ll hopefully realise just how important it is for you to have a break (have a KitKat? haha – sorry, couldn’t resist).
Other times, you need to practically carve some time out of your incredibly busy schedule, if you must. It doesn’t even have to be a few hours.
Even ten minutes of quiet meditation, where you focus solely on yourself, might be enough.
And sometimes, the only time you have is right before you drift off to sleep. This is what happens with me most days and I used to resent it too.
Now, I make sure to do something that isn’t related to working or mothering whilst I wait for sleep to come.
Sometimes, I spend an hour or so beside my sleeping child and husband whilst I play some games on my phone. It’s something I enjoy and rarely have time for now.
I used to feel guilty about that too. I should be sleeping, working, doing some house chores etc. instead of playing this game but you know what? I love it. I enjoy it. And I deserve a break. God knows, by the end of the day – after juggling all of my responsibilities, I need it.
They say that the mind is especially susceptible when sleeping. And in fact, according to Jack Canfield, the most important 45 minutes of the day is the last 45 minutes before you go to sleep.
“During the night,” he wrote, “your unconscious mind replays and processes this late-night input up to six times more often than anything else you experienced during the day…as you drift off to sleep, you enter into the alpha brain wave state of consciousness – a state in which you are very suggestible.”
So, cram as much self-love and self-care activities as you can in those 45 minutes.
Love yourself so completely during that period and allow no room for anything else, especially anything negative.
You don’t have to book a cruise to the Caribbean (although lounging on the beach would be lovely). Sometimes, the best way to look after yourself is to stay exactly where you are, listen to your body when you need a break and just focus on loving yourself.
So, if you’re a mom remember to do these things:
- Be fearless. Ask for a break when you need it.
- Cultivate relationships with people you can trust to look after your children so you can actually relax when you go have a break.
- Grab the opportunity to wind down whenever you can, no matter how small it is. Sometimes the window of opportunity can be as big as a few hours and as small as a few seconds.
- Take advantage of bedtime, when everyone is finally sleeping and nurture yourself.
- Make sure that you listen to something loving right before bedtime and imagine yourself cocooned in love and positivity as you drift off to sleep.
What do you think? Did we miss anything? Share your experiences below! 🙂