When you are a stay at home mom, there are some days that are just golden. The babies wake up feeling refreshed and full of energy. You wake up not feeling like you've been run over by a truck, but like you got enough hours of consolidated sleep to count as a good night's sleep. Your toddler is agreeable with meals and plays happily and independently long enough for you to get control of the dishwasher/laundry/bill paying/clutter cleanup. The infant is smiling and pleasant, taking two-hour naps in the morning and afternoon. The mother-children family unit is happy, healthy and harmonious.
Today was not that kind of day for me.
I just couldn't get into a flow. To top it off, my car was in the shop and it rained all day, which had the psychological effect of making me feel anxious and trapped. Instead of taking it easy and having a relaxing day at home, I kept having to remind myself to be present. My toddler and infant were in similar moods and I just couldn't wait for that magical moment when the clock strikes 7:30 and the little ones go to bed and I can collapse onto the nearest couch.
Knowing that tomorrow is a new day, but one that will come fast and could be filled with similar challenges, it is crucial to find ways to regroup, chill out, renew. Here are some of my time-tested survival actions:
1. Hot bath + juicy book. I don't do this enough, but when I do, I am so rejuvenated. You have to make sure that there are no children's toys in site. Just you and your adult space. The book must not be about parenting or infant sleep or toddler pottytraining. My husband creates the best baths for me on days when I'm at my wit's end: lots of unscented white candles, clean fluffy towel, glass of water, tub full of hot water and some great bath salts, bubble bath, or essential oil. I love the "Nude" bath balm from Lush.
2. Chill music + mellow yoga poses. I will publish great playlists in another post, as well as some ideas for a relaxing short yoga practice that will help you unwind from a stressful day and send you off to dreamland.
3. Get out of the house. There are lots of places you can go, but the point is to have some alone time where you can spend some time on yourself. Go for a walk, take a yoga class, browse the aisles of Target, hang out at a bookstore, treat yourself to dessert at a nearby cafe or restaurant. Tonight, after my husband and I put the two little ones to bed (7pm) I treated myself to ice cream and then strolled through the different sections of Barnes and Noble, looking at the stationary and travel books. It was fabulous.
4. Indulge. Find something that appeals to your senses and feels really extravagant and INDULGE! Be really present as you eat one amazing, mouth-watering Vosgues truffle, give yourself a lavendar salt scrub in the shower, make your partner massage those shoulders or feet with soothing oil, or ignore the laundry/clutter/dishes, turn into bed early and watch a chick flick such as Sex and the City or He's Just Not that into You.
A holistic life counselor once told me that it is important to take a few minutes each and every day to nurture and replenish yourself. I think this is absolutely critical for those of us that spend the major part of our days taking care of other people. You gotta fill up your well so that you have the strength, where-with-all and energy to do it all again tomorrow.