Every mom out there has those burnout moments (when the thought of changing one more diaper is unbearable, and having the energy to play ring-around-the-rosie for the 5th time seems impossible). It’s so important for moms to establish “me” time to stay sane and avoid getting burnt out.
Some moms feel guilty about taking time away from their kids, but there is nothing to feel guilty about doing a little recharging. Moms say that time to themselves helps them appreciate their children more and gives them the energy they need to be a good mother to them.
BabyCenter asked moms what they do to relax, regroup and re-energize. Here are the top 10 things moms responded with:
1) A warm soak
A long bubble bath with candles, music, and a good book was a favorite escape for many of our moms. Something about the warmth of the water and the soft lights and sounds — in fact, it’s a lot like being in the womb. Whatever the reason, for many mothers this small pleasure seems to offer enormous returns.
“I tell the kids, ‘Mommy is having her quiet time, so if you need something, tell Daddy.’ I close and lock the door. I turn the radio to my favorite station, indulge in my favorite bubble or bath oil, make the water nice and warm (sometimes I have a cup of tea or wine), grab my favorite magazine or a novel, and slide in.” — Debbie Harris
2) Body work
Some form of physical pampering: Readers suggested a manicure, a pedicure, a massage, a facial, or a new hairdo. The benefits are plentiful: Not only will you look and feel better, but for a brief interlude you can enjoy having someone take care of you.
Reader K. Gaither-Banchoff frequently receives some form of bodywork (such as massage therapy or shiatsu): “It’s not really an indulgence as much as maintenance; I’ve found that being a mom is really hard on my body. Bodywork keeps me healthy and feeling good so that I can focus on my daughter’s needs. Indulgence or maintenance, it always feels great, helps me relax, and gets my mind off the weekly chores.”
3) A night on the town
A “date” with Dad will give you both a break — and a chance to get reacquainted. But try not to spend the whole evening talking about the kids. Reminisce about how you met, your first date, your favorite memory of life before kids. It will help you reconnect at a time when you both really need each other.
“Remember that taking a break from the baby and spending time with your spouse is actually helping the baby — because you are nourishing your relationship as a couple.” — Vicki McCarthy
4) Adult conversation
Dinner or an outing with a friend provides a change of pace, a new perspective, a fresh experience — and adult conversation.
“My husband and I have a system: We let each other out. I’ll watch the kids and let him go out and play his guitar loud with friends … I will have dinner or go out with a friend, sometimes to see music I enjoy that he doesn’t. Occasionally, I’ll have an all-day outing with a friend.” — Frana K. Baruch
5) Healthy indulgences
A walk in the fresh air, a bike ride on a deserted street, a run on the beach — these are a few of our readers’ healthy indulgences. Choose a favorite activity that gets you out of your everyday routine and into another dimension.
“I love karate. I take three classes a week, which include strength exercises, stretching, and lots of cardio, thanks to sparring and kata sessions. It is an excellent way to work off stress and frustration during the week.” — Jenifer C. Marston
6) Deep sleep
The chance to sleep late in the morning, or enjoy an afternoon nap — any kind of shut-eye is something of a miracle, but these are the best. Many readers find those hard-to-catch-up-on REMs can do a lot to recharge batteries.
“My personal favorite is when Dad watches the baby and lets me sleep in.” — Sabrina Justice
A shopping spree — and a new outfit, say readers, can do wonders for the psyche. Like a mini-makeover, it will help you feel renewed.
“I have two kids and after I gave birth to each of them it made me feel good to go and get a new outfit and have my hair done.” — Miki Brittenham
8) Things that grow
Gardening, readers say, nurtures not only plants but people. The fresh air, exercise, and rewards of watching your garden flourish are especially rejuvenating — and provide a sense of accomplishment when the rest of your life seems mired in piles of washing and dirty dishes.
“I planted a couple dozen plants on Saturday and this was quite relaxing. Gardening was my ‘thing’ before becoming pregnant and I hope to get my yard back in order now that [my daughter] is a little older.” — Deidre
9) Time alone
A solitary movie, a solo walk, or a similar outing provides a simple break that many readers say they depend on. Just being alone can give you time to stock up on inspiration and ideas.
“My favorite way to indulge myself is to take the day off work, leave the husband at work and the kids at daycare, then go shopping and to lunch by myself. After lunch, if I feel up to more shopping, I go. If not, I go home to take a nap and then I see an early movie. I feel great that evening and have a lot of fun with the children!” — Tina Mann
10) Word play
Time alone to read a book — or even just a magazine — all the way through is a major feat when you’re a mother. Snatch the time when you can, and you’ll find that reading provides a cohesive alternative narrative when your own life feels fragmented. It also gives you time with people who won’t throw temper tantrums or demand your constant attention.
“My favorite way to rejuvenate myself is to wait for the baby to go down for a nap, then pull out my latest arrival from my magazine subscriptions, close the door, flop on my bed, and slowly read each and every article. It’s a small but very luxurious way to spend some time by myself.” — Myra Perez
These indulgences may seem small to someone who doesn’t have kids, but something as simple as taking a bath or reading a magazine can really go a long way for a mom. Remember to take time out for yourself to energize and recharge for the day.