A mother’s work is never done. I don’t think I ever truly sleep. Even after my girls are read their bedtime stories, given endless kisses, take their bathroom breaks, and ask for multiple drinks of water, I’m still on alert all night long. Of course, I sleep, but I always have my mommy radar on, which means I’m often startled awake by our wood floors creaking or the wind blowing on our bedroom window.
Even after I send my daughter off to school and drop my youngest at daycare, there’s always a part of me with them. The worry never goes away. The wondering about whether or not they’re having a good day or if they ate their lunch and washed their hands, never fades. But in order to maintain our sanity as mothers, and wives even, we all need a little “me” time. “Me” time looks different for everyone. And it doesn’t always need to be a grand, lengthy event. You don’t need a weekend away by yourself or with girlfriends to escape reality - although that would be amazing! Sometimes, you just need a few hours, or even a few moments, away from the constant responsibility of motherhood. I don’t remember what it feels like not to be needed. But there are a few times a week where I find some peace, clarity, and regain my sanity. And some of the moments might come as a surprise.
The first place I find peace is during my lunch break. I guess this isn’t a very unusual time for people to take a deep breath and mentally sort through their day. But my way of enjoying my lunch break might be a little different than others. I always eat alone. I love many of my co-workers and am friendly with a handful, but I never have lunch with them. I always find a quiet space where I can sit alone. Sometimes, it’s my car. I listen to my favorite music or my favorite podcasts and reflect inwardly about my day, my week, the night ahead, or any other thoughts filling my brain. When the weather allows it, I always venture outside to sit at a picnic table or on a bench. I breathe in the fresh air, watch the birds flying overhead and the leaves swaying in the wind. I am hyper-aware of my surroundings and can focus inwardly on how I’m feeling in that moment. It’s like a body-mind check for me. So, if you ever see me eating my lunch alone, don’t feel bad! It’s by choice and I love it.
My other oasis is yoga. Again, it’s not a very uncommon oasis for many people - not just moms. But every Sunday morning, at 8:00 a.m. I drive 25 minutes to my favorite yoga studio. I wear my favorite goddess yoga pants, bring along my favorite yoga mat and matching towel. My husband is at home with the kids and this is my time. It’s non-negotiable. From the moment I turn my key in the ignition and pull the car out of the driveway, an overwhelming sense of peace floods my body. I can’t help but smile as all the muscles in my body relax. The steering wheel feels smooth and sturdy under my hands. I know that for the next two hours, I will have uninterrupted “me” time. My thoughts won’t be about dinner, the mortgage, homework, laundry, or dishes. My thoughts will only be about me. What do I need today? What stress do I need to release? What music do I want to hear during the car ride?
It may sound selfish, but really, it’s not. Making time for myself is about self-preservation. Carving out even one short morning or one short lunch break that’s just for me, makes me a better mother - a better wife. It brings clarity and focus to my mind and energy and calm to my body. I think it’s important for every mother to find one or two things that are for you and you alone. A place or time when you’re not needed by your children, your husband, or even your friends. We all need self-care in order to be a better, stronger, and more capable person for the ones we love. So here’s to my private lunch breaks and yoga Sundays!
What’s your escape?