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He looked at me as if I’d personally insulted him.
Or maybe he was just panic-stricken at the thought of being left alone with 4 kids, ages 1-8.
He realized I wasn’t kidding when I strode out of the bedroom, dressed in non-wrinkled, spit-up free clothing, and said goodbye.
“We could go with you…” I heard his whine/plea as I shut the door firmly behind me.
I climbed in the mom-van, and my neighbor (who is also my dad) yelled from his yard, “You’re not escaping, are you?!” a sarcastic grin on his face.
I just needed some freaking SPACE!
You know what I’m talking about, mama. You’re feeling closed in, squeezed tight by the pressure on all sides (including the bathroom door).
If you don’t get some air soon, you’re going down, and you’re taking your tribe with you.
It’s time to put on the Gilligan hat and escape de island, mon.
All moms need space
I don’t care if you’re mom of the year and you homeschool 18 kids and love being pregnant.
If you don’t, I want to meet you because truly, you must be an angel (playing with my heart).
Moms of toddlers deal with whining children and crumby floors.
The grade school mama fights the homework war.
Teenager mama seeks to gain the upper hand on the mental front.
The mother of young adults wonders how she ever got through life without her kids telling her what to do.
(Or maybe it’s just the kids who wonder.)
And most moms are in 2 or more of these phases at the same time.
Regardless of what transition of parenting you find yourself in, you need a break in order to save your sanity. Click To Tweet
…not to mention the safety of your children.
1. Girlfriend time
As a young mama, I felt quite content with my hubby and baby girl. But my friend, Reg, began calling to chat a couple times a week.
She was mentoring me, and I didn’t even realize it – teaching me that hubby can’t be my “all” all the time.
(She had five kids. She possessed inner tribal knowledge I had yet to learn.)
He can’t possibly fill that need for girl chats and heart to hearts.
Call your girlfriend. Hash out your problems so you won’t dump all over the hubs as soon as he gets home.
Meet a friend for lunch.
Join a mom’s-day-out group.
Organize a girl’s night out once a month.
Because girlfriend, you need girlfriends.
Dig your roots down deep and establish meaty relationships so that when the tough times come (and they will), you’ve got your posse.
2. Alone time
That day I left my husband with all the kids and hopped in the mom-van, I went to the mall and walked around for hours.
Retail therapy, I tell ya.
Actually, I bought very little, because we had very little.
But just the feeling of walking around without some kid hanging off my coat tails was freeing, somehow.
Get a neighborhood teen to come over and watch the kids while you spend a luxurious hour in the hammock out back with a book.
Become inventive and get some solitude.
3. Hobby time
The only reason I would take up jogging is so that I could hear heavy breathing again. ~Erma Bombeck
A hobby is something a mom needs to keep in her back pocket when she needs a refreshing pick-me-up.
Here are a few ideas:
Fishing (after all – Gilligan did wear a fishing hat)
_____________(fill in your favorite hobby)
And no, facebook does not count. Get off the computer.
My hobbies are reading, exercising, cross-stitching, playing the piano, and writing.
A hobby is something that doesn't drain you - it exhilarates, even though it may be challenging. Click To Tweet
My mom loved to sew. She made all my clothes from the time I was little until I married – she even made my wedding dress and the bridal party gowns!
In the evenings, when the family watched TV or just hung out, she’d always have her handiwork with her.
Double win when a hobby benefits the fam and saves money.
Maybe you’re knitting hats and scarves in scarlet for everyone this winter.
Or crocheting baby booties as a shower gift.
I’m counting on making bank with this hat book so my husband can retire and we can sail Norwegian Cruise Lines down the Danube River.
(Insert laugh here.)
If you don’t have a hobby – get one. It’ll relax you, and you don’t have to necessarily be away from the family to do it.
Sort of a mental escape, if you will.
4. Husband time
Interruptions abound with children around.
The two of you need alone time to talk.
Get a sitter every 1-2 weeks, or trade out with another couple.
A friend of mine has creative date nights with her husband at home after the kids are in bed.
Couple’s retreats are beneficial because you learn about your spouse and how he thinks (or doesn’t think).
Take short trips out of town. (Or at least a 3 hour tour.)
I know it’s not easy. The kids have ballgames and ballet practice. You have church commitments and other things going.
Plan time with your spouse – it won’t happen unless you do.
Figure out your budget and make it a priority because once the kids leave someday, you will need something in common with that guy.
Otherwise you’ll just sit there staring at him, wondering who he is.
He’ll wonder who you are too.
You morph into different people through the years. Growth does that to a person. So does child rearing.
When the kids began to leave, I must confess – I worried.
It had been 26 years since we’d been alone.
That’s a long time.
Jim’s job takes him out of town quite frequently, and I’ve been burning the home fires alone for years.
Did I mention his corporate office is in the gulf of Florida?
Yeah…that was a hard choice.
We got a driving camper and began traveling a bit. When we walk the beach in the evenings, Jim brings the metal detector and I hold the shovel.
So far, all we’ve found is bottle lids and paper clips, but we’re hopeful.
So give yourself a break, mama. Find girlfriend time, alone time, hobby time, and hubby time.
Don the Gilligan hat, break open a coconut, and make a run for it. Click To Tweet
Trust me, the natives will be glad you did.
Seven people set sail on what is scheduled to be a three hour sight-seeing tour on the charter boat The Minnow, get caught in a storm and end up stranded on an uncharted tropical island together. The comedy comes from the failed attempts at escaping the island and the interaction of the very diverse group.
Viewers of the venerable series would be correct to ponder the impossible number of guests who visited the islands, the incredible versatility of the common coconut and the fact that the castaways somehow managed to win the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival.