Girl’s night out? ABSOLUTELY! First, I need to arrange the babysitter, bathe the baby, get the kids fed, find something to wear, do my hair and make up, and get out the door before the baby screams for me. Sound about right? Why does it feel like planning time for yourself is as time consuming and stressful as planning a wedding? We end up just staying home half the time just to avoid the stress of going out, and that just burns us out more. If you’re a dad and the one playing both roles or the primary role…feel free to swip-swap mom for dad as you read along. I know there are many dads doing it all and you deserve a break too!
What mom wouldn’t be stressed? So much goes into keeping them alive and yourself sane. Especially when they’re little. From breastfeeding to bottles, diaper changes, and all night cry sessions, to making sure they don’t pull a lamp on their head the second you turn your back. We can all agree that there have been many times that a jump for something falling before it hit a kid, could have earned any one of us a gold medal in the Olympics. They get into everything and test every nerve you have. Even taking a shower or going to the bathroom takes planning. How many times have you had to put the baby in a bouncer or stroller and set them by the bathroom door or next to the shower? Almost every time I’m sure. I’ve been there…I know!
I’d like to tell you that it gets better the older they get, but it doesn’t. That’s just when you turn into their chauffeur and/or sideline mom. Your schedule starts to look like: Monday cheer, Tuesday Football, Wednesday karate, Thursday tutoring, Friday gymnastics, Saturday is for games, and Sunday is for losing your mind while they’re all home and needing your undivided attention. Navigating and planning your kids’ schedules, especially when you have more than one, is more challenging than navigating the President’s itinerary.
Raising kids and keeping them alive takes a lot of work. It’s no wonder that you have no time for yourself. Sending them off to school or daycare and going to work often feels like a vacation…and maybe the only one you get. But, it is imperative that we take time for ourselves. Your sanity depends on it. You are no good to anyone if you are so stressed that you are pulling your hair out and/or losing your shit. As a single mom, I know how hard it can be to plan time out…or to even afford it. I would go out with my friends and come home and regret the money I spent out, or on the babysitter. All the enjoyment I had that night was replaced with stress and worry again. But the fact of the matter is…we need that time. We have to have that time.
You deserve some alone time and some time out with friends. You deserve to go to the bathroom or shower in private, without someone banging on the door like their the cops there for a drug bust. Hiding in the laundry room…the one room that everyone in the house avoids like the plague, is not an adequate time out for you. If dads can spend their days off on the course or tinkering in the garage while he recharges…so can you. If you have a partner, talk to them. Tell them what your needs are. Tell them you need some you time. Not to sound like a man hater here, but guys aren’t that intuitive. Many can’t tell that you’re at your wits end and need a break. They just think you’re being a bitch for some reason and steer clear in hopes it’ll pass. You have to vocalize your needs. If you don’t have a partner, then perhaps ask a friend, neighbor or family member to help for an hour or two. You need this time to recharge. My ex’s were useless and I had a very small support circle while raising my kids alone. Those I could ask, were typically who I was wanting to go out with, but my friends did step in and help from time to time. I had to save for nights out and babysitters, and I often had to ask my mom to come into town just to give me a break. I even went as far as taking PTO at work a time or two, just so I could go sit on the beach alone while the kids were in school. But, I made it happen. I got time to myself, so that I could refuel. You can only run on fumes for so long.
So, plan a mom’s night out. Go have some wine and laugh with your girlfriends. Forget everything going on at home for a couple hours. If that’s out of reach or budget for you, then go walk the mall and window shop, read a book in the park, or sit on the beach and watch the waves. As someone that is almost to the home stretch of raising six kids on her own, I can tell you that the dishes will probably still be in the sink and toys and backpacks will probably be all over the floor when you get home, but they will survive if you go out…and their world will not come to an end because they had to cry for you for a few minutes after you left. So, take time for you and have a mental recharge before you have a mental breakdown. You can only take care of others if you’re taking care of yourself, and your kids deserve the best version of you. You can’t give them that if you’re not valuing yourself and your needs as much as theirs. Call your friends, call the babysitter (or spouse), and plan some you time! You earned it!
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