My kids are older, the demands on my time are different. But working from an office across town, trying to minimize the amount of time my kids stay in daycare before and after school, my mommy guilt can get pretty thick. But I’ve also learned, we all need an outlet. We need time for ourselves. We need time where we shut off – we’re not child minding, cooking, cleaning, working, fretting, worrying, cheque-book balancing or soccer-momming.
For a long while I thought that my time was the time I spent in my car commuting. Heated seats and a killer sounds system were my respite from the demands of a fulltime job and fulltime motherhood.
Let me tell you, that’s crazy talk.
Traffic is stressful, no matter how kickin’ the stereo system. I was recently stuck, broken down on the side of the highway waiting on a tow truck and realized, for nearly 3 hours, I did blissful NOTHING! I read the news on my phone, I grabbed the emergency nail polish from the glove box and did three uninterrupted coats. I stared at the sky and daydreamed.
Waiting on a towtruck shouldn’t be that kind of bliss. It shouldn’t take a blown master cylinder to avail me of three hours of indulgence.
So what are my outlets?
I go for a manicure once every two weeks. That one day, the boys can be at daycare an extra hour while I lavish.
Daddy time. We alternate days on the weekend for sleep-ins. The other parent has to keep the boys occupied from wake-up till about 11am. It’s not that hard and it’s sooooooo good to catch up on a few zzzzz’s.
Mommy playdates. My boys are old enough that they can play independently. I’ve chosen wisely and become friends with some of my sons’ friends parents. It’s glorious to have playdates, especially with other parents who also appreciate the outlet.
The treadmill. There is a huge honkin’ treadmill in my enclosed porch. It would be a much nicer enclosed porch, but for the treadmill. I loved prenatal yoga, but I can’t get my butt downward dogging without the troops and groups that class participation provides. I am almost never without two boys so the gym and going out for a run are out of the question. Thanks goodness for the enclosed porch!
Punching bag. I have a secret pleasure. I like punching. Who knew? My husband got me into boxing. There’s a heavy bag and a speed bag in the garage, and late at night when the boys are asleep, I steal out to the garage to spar, swing, hit, punch, kick, jab, roundhouse, slam! BASH, CRASH AND SMASH… um, I work out in the garage with some boxing exercises.
We all need an outlet. It doesn’t make you a bad parent to need an outlet beyond your little precious.
It makes you human.