Life as a mom can be hard. It often comes with few opportunities to get a break during the day. As a stay-at-home mom this can be challenging. There have been many times when I know that I need a break before I break. Last March hit, and I’m sure every one of us had times like this. My husband works during the day and often travels for work so I’ve had to get creative on how I can get a break or fill my cup without being able to physically get time away from our kids.
Here are the things that I do when I am feeling depleted:
If it’s nice outside, I turn on the hose for the kids and let them go wild. If it’s not warm enough for that, then I fill some small buckets with water and give them foam brushes to “paint” the fence/house/sidewalk with. They love it! If it’s too cold out for either of those then I fill the bath tub with bubbles and all of their toys and let them play. They turn it into a tractor wash when they get to take those toys in. They get to splash and have fun while I sit near the bathtub and enjoy my coffee in peace (kind of).
I’m not a TV hater. We don’t use a lot of electronics, but my kids love when they get to watch a show or a movie. After I put the baby down for a nap, I’ll snuggle on the couch with my 4-year-old and 7-year-old and we enjoy an afternoon movie. This usually comes with a few fun snacks as well. Again, they enjoy this while I can relax with them.
Put headphones in (even if it’s just one earbud so you can hear what the kids are doing) and listen to what you want to. No “Baby Shark” (or in our case Michael Jackson and the Frozen 2 soundtrack). I like to listen to my music or a podcast to recharge. A few podcasts that I enjoy include Make it Simple with Andrea Allen, 4 Things with Amy Brown, The Office Ladies, Lives of Courage with Jessica Stong, and the Mind Your Body podcast. I learn and I laugh!
Have a reading party. Sometimes when it’s a rough day and everyone seems to be crazy and not listening, we can (usually) calm it all down if I grab a pile of books and read to them. This may not be an actual break but it can bring everyone back to a level that isn’t so overwhelming.
As Ms. Frizzle says, “Take chances. Make mistakes. Get messy!” The kids love when I tell them that they can bring all of their blankets and pillows out into the living room to make a fort or crash pad. It’s even better when they get to keep it out all day. Play-Doh, water beads, Legos, kinetic sand and Magnatiles are life-saver as well. Sure, they make a mess, but it keeps them engaged for a long time. (Pro tip: get giant cookie sheets for them to keep the magnetic sand on. It’s less to vacuum up at the end!)
Go on a walk or do bubbles or chalk. Anything outside does the mind and body good. Sunshine and fresh air make such a difference in everyone’s mood and attitude.
These things fill my cup and reset my day when I desperately need a break, but can’t be away from my children. Some of these things are easier said than done, but I’ve learned that when I am intentional about doing these things, they help!