Everyone tells you that your life will change when you have a child, but no one tells you that using the bathroom by yourself will become a luxury. (Yes, I've used it while holding one in my lap as I'm sure all moms have.) Your world literally gets turned upside down when you become a parent, and it can be easy to lose yourself.
Stress as a parent? That's an understatement. But so is the love you feel , too -- neither can truly be described. So, we deal the best we can, and you learn to steal little moments for yourself. You have to find a balance or you will explode on your kids, husband or the local Old Navy girl who says you can't return the toddler shoes that your child says were too itchy. As the mom of four, I've had moments when I wanted to run away. Forget the kids running away, how about me?
Making sure these other little people you had have clean clothes, brush their teeth, eat good food, do their homework and make the right choices can be exhausting, and that's why you have to make time for yourself. So here are my lifesavers!
Exercise! This is a huge stress-reliever for me. I literally run away from my problems. Who cares about fifth grade math when I'm struggling up a hill? Not me! That's exactly why I love to get my fit on.I listen to music and have some time to zone out, by myself and nothing else matters. I also love to do yoga -- nothing like a good back bend to make you feel like you're young and yourself again!
Start your day with peace. I get up 20 minutes before everyone else, so I start my day with 20 minutes of peace. I need this time to check my e-mail, drink my coffee, remind myself what our crazy schedule is like for the day and just breathe before all the morning chaos and the house goes crazy with socks,shoes and backpacks we can't find. (Yeah, the struggle is real.)
Just drive . There have been moments when I wanted to scream and cry (Yes, let me be the toddler!) and wondered if I'm really mommy material. We all have those moments when we just want to pull our hair out (or someone else's) and wonder why we signed up for this "parent thing' anyway, so just drive. I have literally grabbed the kids, strapped them in their seats, turned up music and drove, just around looking at houses, fields, trees, breathing. Buying myself a few minutes,so I don't hurt myself or anyone else. Sometimes the drive ends with a Starbucks or McDonald's run and that's alright. We all pile out of the car and start over again and my mental health is back.
Get it on! Yes, in the words of Marvin Gaye, take time and get it on! Nothing like the best cardio ever to de-stress you! Sex is a natural stress reliever, so why not? Share the stress, bond with your partner, get under the covers and get busy! It's a win-win!
Just remember at the end of the day, do what works for your family. Do not compare yourself to other parents. Don't try to be SUPERMOM because even supermom isn't supermom. What matters to you is important, don't listen to other people and find you and your family's happiness. Be the best happy version of yourself, if that includes watching your favorite guilty pleasure TV show (Bachelor anyone?) go for it! Stealing little moments of sanity will help you deal with the big moments of stress (like the science project that your third-grader has due tomorrow and hasn't started on yet) so make time for mommy, too.
Your kids will thank you for it in the end!