8 Things That Keep Me Sane
Right before I was about to have my daughter, I quit my job in retail to be a stay at home mom to my then 2 year old and soon to be newborn. I had images in my head of waking up before both of them every morning to do yoga, taking them on adventures all around the state and creating a rotating sensory bin depending on the season.. I was about to be the best mom the world had ever seen!
Then, Sophia was born.
All my utopian images of motherhood were thrown out the window. I found myself desperate for adult interaction during the day, re-heating my coffee 4 times before it was finished and taking wayyyy too many trips to Target (is there ever too many trips? I’m sure I was close) every week. With the help of my amazing husband though, I was able to find a few things that have helped me stay sane since I became a SAHM around 20 months ago.
FOOD. I love food. A lot. I love preparing it, eating it, trying new places. My favorite food of all is probably sugar. Cadbury Eggs to be exact. I’ve noticed though, that when I eat too much sugar, or don’t have my dinners planned, it puts me on edge. Meal planning, and having healthy snacks around have made me a better mom. I still have my share of chocolate during naptime and after bed, (balance, people!) but not having to think as hard about snacks and dinner is crucial for me to not lose my marbles during the day.
After Sophia was born, I decided to start training for a half marathon. Which was crazy. I had never run more than a required mile in P.E. in my life. I was always in competitive cheerleading, and loved the elliptical in college but running was so scary to me. My husband had recently started running longer distances though, and I took that as inspiration to get started. Some friends and I signed up for a half marathon about 4 months away, and now that the money was spent.. I had to do it. The scheduled time away from the house to zone out on music, podcasts or chatting (okay listening.. I was way too out of breath to speak) with my friends was crucial to my mental health after my daughter arrived. The accomplishment of completing a race, achieving a goal, was amazing.
You can’t really see me – but here I am running my first 13.1 miles.. fake smiling through the pain.
- My “Tribe”
Everyone needs a group that they can lean on during rough times. Single parents out there — you are rockin’ and I admire the heck out of you. Everyone needs at least a partner though. This isn’t always a spouse/significant other. For you, it may look like a parent, sibling, friend, random stranger from the coffee shop. I don’t care how you meet them! Just find someone. And keep finding people. My “tribe” is mostly comprised of friends from church, my siblings and of course my rockstar husband. When I feel overwhelmed, out of breath, insane, excited, there are certain people that I know I can always turn to that can lift me up or bring me back down to earth depending on where I’m at.
This seems soooo trivial. And it probably is. But showering, and putting on a little mascara before I start the day does wonders for me. My self esteem raises just enough, I don’t feel greasy/sweaty, and my kids aren’t as scared of me. Just kidding. But really, self-care is all the rage right now and for good reason. Maybe a shower doesn’t cut it for you — then schedule a pedicure, get a facial, even get one of those mask facials from the store, whatever! Just do it. And don’t feel bad about letting the baby cry in her crib while you soak up those extra 5 minutes of glorious warm shower. I’m usually a better mom after those extra 5 minutes, anyways.
- Putting Down my Phone and Playing Legos
Oh man. This is a tough one for me. My phone can feel like a gateway to the adult world when I am surrounded by screaming. But often, the screaming is a cry for me to put down my phone and enter the world my children are living in. I’ve noticed that being on my phone so much actually makes me a worse mom, because I turn into a lazy blob. Some of what I do, and a lot of what a lot of people do on their phone is very valuable — you may be building your empire, running a business, connecting with far away relatives. A lot of what I do though is get sucked into a black hole of grocery haul videos on Youtube. Am I joking? We may never know… anyways. My point is, it is valuable to my mental health and my kids well-being for me to just get off the phone, put down the device and BE. Be a horse available for horsey rides, an engineer building lego sets, a baking assistant, etc. Whatever it is. Release the FOMO and be with your kids!
Sometimes I put down the phone to pick up the camera, and get gems like this one.. they’re pretty fun.
Self-explanatory. No, really. There is something so refreshing about waking up before the kids and brewing a cup of coffee. Enjoying at least half of it piping hot before the kids wake up. Coffee or tea in the morning, wine in the evening, find time to enjoy a beverage that you can tell the kids guilt free is “just for mommy.”
- Naptime/Alone Time
My kids don’t nap at the same time anymore. *cue world’s smallest violin* In fact, my 4 year old doesn’t nap about 80% of the time anymore. I still make him take a daily alone time though. For about 90 minutes. Sometimes I get lucky, and he falls asleep and makes it through the rest of the day without a tired meltdown, Most of the time though, he just needs some time with a book, or a movie, or some Legos, and I get time with my second or third cup of caffeine, my Bible and usually Netflix. Sometimes the dirty dishes. I just need the alone time during the day to refresh, recharge and prepare myself for the afternoon and evening with my babes. Even if your kids are too old for naps, try to squeeze in a half hour quiet time each day!
I know… the cuteness is hard to handle.
- Date Nights
Date nights for my husband and I mostly look like Netflix and ice cream after the kids are asleep. We don’t get out very often (because I’m about 8 months pregnant and usually fall asleep soon after both the kids… oops!) but quality time has found to be what I need at the end of a long day. I mentioned before that I admire the heck out of single parents – date night is still important for you. It just may look way different. Find what works for you, and your situation. Whether it’s extravagant, weekly nights with your spouse, scheduled weekly massages by yourself, or cozy nights in with whoever, do it.
Obviously this list is tailored to me, and what works for me, but I really think there is some value here in each one, that can be tailored to your life, your situation and what you value. Remember, even on the worst days, the insanity is temporary and as long as you’re doing your best, you’re doing an amazing job.
You’re killin’ it mama,