There are moments when I want to run away from home.
Not really and truly—I mean, I would never actually leave—but there are moments of motherhood that make me want to just flee and escape.
There is no escaping motherhood—but I’m thankful for this. Once a woman becomes a mom, her children are cocooned and nestled into even the deepest nooks of her heart, making a real “day off” impossible. Yet staying present through every single second of being a mom would drive me insane.
I practice yoga and genuinely work hard to stay right here, even during these difficult spaces that I want to walk away from, not breathe into.
It’s easy to tell a mom to appreciate every single second, or this too shall pass, or it’s only a phase, or you’ll look back one day and miss it, or anything else pretty and bow-tied-up neat. It’s easy to say such things from the vantage point of years, older children, no children, grandchildren and any other place where people live besides Mommyland with small kids.
One of the hardest parts of motherhood for me is that I can’t spend a day lounging around when I randomly crave it, and that laziness in general no longer exists the way that it used to before having children. While I sincerely wouldn’t want my life—or my active kids—to be any other way, the constant motion of it all can be depleting and taxing for my body, and for my emotions as well, to not have enough down time.
In order to escape without actually walking away from my young children who need me—and who I need in a different, less tangible way—I do these things.
Writing, for me, is my best and safest escape. I can be anyone, go anywhere, and do anything through my words and ideas. Writing doesn’t have to be published to be worthwhile either. Journaling and creative writing for the sheer pleasure of it are something anyone and everyone should try.
To be fair, I can’t sit down and consume novels the way that I once did, when I wasn’t constantly ready to catch a child about to run towards an electrical chord, or I didn’t have tiny people constantly hovering around me saying, “Mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy” the instant I try to do “simple” things, like make a phone call or go to the bathroom.
However, taking a few minutes to read an article or a page from a book, that might take me weeks—or, ahem, months—to finish, makes me feel more ready to get back into the game of my daily life.
This is a personal favorite. Breaking out a 10-minute ab workout or HIIT routine works nearly every time. Afterward, I’m rejuvenated physically, mentally and emotionally—and quickly. Additionally, my kids are growing to enjoy doing this with me. I seriously stop, drop and workout at a random time of the day when I’m about to lose my temper, and I’m always, always grateful I did.
4. Text a friend.
Sometimes just letting someone who loves me, but can’t physically share my space with me, know that I’m having a rough day helps. A return message of love or support can be enough to make me feel heard—and it’s enough to help me revamp my attitude.
5. Get out of the house.
With little kids, leaving the house is a grand ordeal. Gone are those times when I just dashed to the store with my wallet. Nope, now I need diapers, for the poop the baby will probably take the second that we’ve left our driveway, or water in case they have samples at the grocery store and start coughing when a cracker piece gets stuck in their throats—these are honestly the kinds of things that moms need to be prepared for.
Regardless, a change of scenery—even just a quick drive down a pretty road near my house—can be enough for me to regroup.
Because it’s not fair to ask mothers to always be present—to meditate and appreciate every instant of parenthood—it’s not fair because it’s not good advice.
Instead, healthy forms of escape are useful so that we can authentically appreciate our lives most of the time. More, by becoming attuned to when we need a break, and finding an enriching way to take one, we become less likely to escape in ways that can be damaging to ourselves and to our valued relationships, like those we share with our children.
What’s one, positive way that you take a mental vacation or mini break? I’d love to start a conversation in comments.