Signs you need this
Motherhood is absolutely a gift. Back when I thought thirty was old, and that I’d be in my twenties forever, I heard someone utter these very words. Another piece of advice these same people gave was that parenting was the most challenging endeavor one could ever take on in life. Everyone thinks they understand parenthood until they are actually knee deep in poopy diapers while also hallucinating due to having only one hour of sleep within a five day period. The good news is that this time is short-lived, and sleep becomes way more frequent as the babies age. (Trust me! I’m in the 10, 7, and 4 year-old territory, and it is spectacular.) What doesn’t go away is the need for moms to get out and live a little. Have you ever noticed yourself laughing a little too loudly at a cartoon episode you were watching with your kids? That’s your sign to get out of the house. When “mom” is uttered every second, on the second (and it sounds like a swear word) the least you can do is go out and get a latte. Have you ever asked your significant other how their day was in that high falsetto voice you use to talk to your four-year-old? This may be the most severe case of “mom needs a night out”. A happy mom makes a happy home. “Me time” is a direct remedy to fleeting sanity. Here are some rules I have given myself recently that have made my life extra fun.
I have started doing things that I enjoyed before being called “Mom”
Before I was a mom, my life was okay. It wasn’t stellar. I was living for the moment, not making great diet and exercise choices, and going out too much. But there were certain healthy activities that I just loved that I’ve recently rediscovered. One of these activities is music. I love live music in almost any form. (Sorry jazz. I keep trying, but I just don’t get it.) It’s amazing that anyone can master an instrument enough to project quality sound. To me, there is no release like that of a concert, big or small. This is something I have decided will happen more in 2016. I’ve already purchased our Zac Brown Band tickets for April. I’m making this a priority.
Additionally, I loved taking my dogs for walks and spoiling them like crazy before I had kids. Doing that is still so important. Sometimes I think our pets take on our stress if we don’t get a walk or a big play episode in during the week. It’s funny to me now, but I remember thinking raising a puppy was the hardest thing I’d ever do. Ah, naïve Tessa. Our pooches do so much for our hearts and our mental well-being. I am a happy person when I’m able to return the favor.
Finally, I used to write like crazy before I had kids. The kind of writing I did in college was late night, angst-filled questions of love and life, but it was writing. My topics and atmosphere have changed quite a bit, but I think it’s just as therapeutic. When Kelly and I were brainstorming about how to make more time for writing in our lives, we developed this blog. We are dedicated to improving our work, and this has absolutely helped. It wasn’t about having more time, it was about making time for something we really enjoy. And the great part is, I get to have partner with me in this exciting hobby.
Because there can be so many living things needing my attention at once and for long periods of time, I have to remove myself from my house and my classroom and get in the presence of girlfriends. No one can give me clarity like my girlfriends. They are brilliant, funny, professional, and most importantly, people who understand what it’s like to balance many things at once. One girlfriend session can fuel my sanity for months. It’s amazing the magic of friends. This is something that seems obvious, but as we get older, we don’t allow enough time for those connections. I have recently read an article in Huffington Post called Why Women Need Their Girlfriends that was really well done. It explained how much more important our girlfriends become with age. Life is too short to not surround ourselves with people who inspire us. This can be a 15 minute session where issues are hashed out with my best friend at work, or a night of good old fun. I recommend a night like this every once in a while. Remember dancing? Remember letting loose? Remember staying up past 11:00 pm? Me either most days, but every once in a while, a night out is all I need to release some work week stress and to unwind. It is usually a great reminder to me why I go to bed by 10:00 pm, but I never regret a great night with good friends.
Overall, family life is just fantastic, but carving out some me time is imperative for my mental health. Whether we have newborns or an empty nest, a cat or a dog, nurturing what makes us happy as humans in this crazy world is important to keep our focus when we are home. If I find myself in a situation where I’m still watching a Doc McStuffins episode long after my kids have gone to bed, I grab a paper and find some good local music; I get outside; or I call up my amazing friends, and life gets much sweeter.