Motherhood is rewarding. Motherhood is exhausting. On rare occasions when we meet up, my mommy friends and I literally find ourselves “sneaking” away from our families. Of course, no one is ever too far away from the cellphone just in case there’s an emergency. But, it is important and healthy to disconnect from our children for brief periods of time. Taking a moment, or a few, to ourselves enables us to refresh and recharge.
Here’s 5 Ways to Take Mommy Time Out:
- Plan a Mommy Sleepover
We can go either way with this one. We can plan a really simple gathering or we can take it over the top and plan an extravagant event. So, let’s explore both, shall we?
On the simpler side, you could grab a modest hotel suite nearby or even kick everyone else out for the night and camp out at one another’s house. Grab your closest girlfriends, go potluck or order in, play some games and watch movies into to the wee hours of the night.
For a more elaborate event, you could hire a chef for the evening, bring in a glam team to do makeup or manis and pedis, hire a masseuse for the evening or any combination of services. The point is to pamper yourself while spending time with other mommies.
- Spa or Glam Day
Plan a real treat for yourself by getting pampered. This one is fun because it can either be done alone or with as many people as you’d like. We do so much for others, why not treat ourselves? A manicure takes less than 30 minutes. Really? It takes more time to defrost dinner. There are so many options when it comes to giving yourself the gift of glam. You step completely out of mommy zone by booking a hair appointment and come home with a new cut, color or both. Hang out for as long as you desire at the spa. Go get a makeup makeover at your local cosmetic counter. Either way, you’ll come back home looking and feeling like a million bucks.
- Plan a Solo Date
Sometimes, we just need to not think, plan or figure out. Why not drown out the noise of your everyday routine by taking yourself out on a date? Being a mom in charge means that we care CONSTANTLY figuring things out for ourselves and everyone else around us. Even if you can only afford to, albeit emotionally, mentally, physically and/or financially, squeeze out two hours per month, and GO FOR IT! Not convinced? Is that notorious mommy guilt about to convince you that you don’t need to take yourself off of mommy island for a couple of hours? There are an average of about 730 hours in a month. Are you really going to justify that you don’t deserve to take 2 measly hours to yourself? Do I have your attention now? Great. Enjoy your two hours and thank me later.
- Planned Girlfriend Dates
I’m not even going to make you promise not to think about or talk about the kids. Planning occasional girlfriend dates allows you to partake in real adult time. This is particularly important if you’re a stay at home mom. I worked from home while staying home with my daughters for five years. I loved being a stay at home mom. I was able to see every first step, hear the first words and so much more. I’m so thankful that I was able to spend those precious moments in time with my girls. With that said, I also remember feeling at times like I was so isolated from the rest of the world. I felt as if I made the decision to stay at home and I was extremely fortunate to be in position to be able to do so, and I didn’t have the right to complain about wanting some me time. Looking back, and we know hindsight is 20/20, I should’ve granted myself permission to hang out with my girlfriends every once in a while.
We often talk about not having balance. I believe this is one of the ways in which I allowed my balance to fall completely by the wayside. I wasn’t alone either. Most of my friends had children around the same time that I did, so we all stayed in our respective homes. We checked in periodically, met up for playdates and kids’ parties, family get togethers but we totally neglected ourselves when it came to having uninterrupted girl time. Being isolated became our collective norm. I now realize that there was nothing normal about going months or years without having adult conversations purely centered around the children.
So, book that paint and sip, check out the local museum, meet up for dinner and cocktails or shop til you drop, even if you just window shop; enjoy yourself.
- 48 Hour Getaway
If you think you’re really able to take things over the top, live your best life…in 48 hours. Go alone, bring a friend or a group. Just check out of your normal routine for the weekend. This may take some planning but you can pull this off. Give yourself enough time to plan and prep meals, laundry, activities and everything else you cram into a typical weekend so that you can get away, guilt free. Take a road trip, lay out on a beach, do whatever makes you happy. Your getaway can be in town or on an island. I love the beach and I love to travel. I’ve literally gone to the Bahamas for a day and Puerto Rico for 48 hours. The idea is to shake things up by changing your scenery. It’s just enough to recharge your batteries so you can brave the chaos of mommy life.
It Won’t Be Easy… But You CAN Do It!
Please don’t think I’m sitting on a soap box. Truth be told, I still struggle with mommy guilt when planning to hang out with my girlfriends. I still grapple with the comfort of snuggling up on the family room couch in my ugliest pj’s vs. having to put on real clothes while being grilled by my oh so surprised family when they realize mommy is actually going out after dark and it’s not for a Target run. The difference is that I now realize that it’s best for everyone. Not only does my periodic, temporary absence from home base force my family to fend for themselves for 4 or 5 hours, it enables me to establish, maintain and model a healthy balance for my daughters.
As women, we are a complex and dynamic species. We make multitasking seem effortless. So, why on earth do we think that we can’t balance being the women we used to be before starting our families with the mothers, wives and women we are today? If I did it, you can too. I literally cried ugly tears as I watched my parents drive my daughter down my driveway the first time they babysat her. Mind you, they only live 15 minutes away. When you know better, you should do better. For me, it’s important to show my daughters, now a tween and teen, that it’s okay to be an awesome mom but it’s also okay to cherish the parts of yourself outside of being so and so’s mom or so and so’s wife. In my humble opinion, you can have it all and there’s no need to be apologetic about appreciating the importance of taking mommy time outs.