I don’t know a single human being who doesn’t need a little stress relief. Something that makes you no longer want to unleash the fury on whatever sucker crosses your path. Stress relief varies from person to person depending on their lifestyle, sure. But as a mom, we usually share at least several methods that keep us waking up day after day, wiping butts, drying tears, and loving our families.
Some of the items on my Sanity List are givens – the ones that make every single mom go, “Oh, heck yes whoa.” Some may make you roll your eyes or want to strangle me. Or at the very least, stop reading this. But hear me out. I used to roll my eyes at some of these, too.
- Coffee. I consider this a given. Maybe you prefer tea. But whatever. It’s a hot, tasty beverage loaded with caffeine that makes you think that you just might get through another day of Blue’s Clues, tower building, and butt wiping. Despite the fact that your net worth in sleep is 8 hours. For the last week.
- Date night. (Disclaimer: If you are a single mom, or a military mom whose husband is deployed, I cannot express how much better, stronger, braver, and all-out awesomer you are than I. Yes, awesomer is totally a word. You can replace date night with girl night. Or grown up night. Or running errands without the kids night.) If you are married or in a relationship, you need date night. Is it inconvenient? Yup. Is your schedule already crammed with school/church/volunteer activities? You betcha. Does that make date night even more critical? Abso-freakin-lutely. Yes, finding babysitting for multiple children can be difficult. But it’s worth looking for a responsible human within a driveable radius that will supervise your munchkins for 2 hours. I’m not saying you have to do dinner AND a movie. Heck, you don’t have to do either. If your budget looks like mine, pack some sandwiches, drive to a park, and sit and talk. Uninterrupted. About something other than poop. If it’s cold out, sit in the car and talk. About why your kids are awesome. About why you’re still in love. About why you may not be so in love, and how you can get back to that place. But trust me. You. need. date night.
- Exercise. Don’t you roll your eyes at me! I used to be the eye roller. For seven years I complained about my post baby body but refused to do anything about it except for a two-week stretch with the Atkins diet and a Pilates video. I now run several times a week and take a free circuit training class at my church. Not only does this get me out of the house, but exercise produces natural endorphins. Those are the happy hormones you get right after you deliver a baby so that you forget the indescribable pain and do it all over again a couple of years later. And budget issues are not an excuse. I used that one for years and my thighs still refused to take pity on me and shrink down. Running is free. Walking is free. Doing push-ups, sit-ups, and ab exercises on your living room floor are all free. Oh, and did I mention the awesome sense of, “Heck YES I just ran my butt off – literally. I’m basically awesome!” I get that feeling after every single work out. Worth the pain and sweat? Oh yes. Because my love handles may have been the result of my beautiful children, but there is nothing lovely about them.
- Prayer and praise. Not even kidding. You take time to talk to clear your head, escape the noise, and talk to the One who will always listen, and I guarantee you will feel your sanity starting to return. For realsies. Yes, that is also a word. And no joke – you start singing along with some gospel lady who could make a mountain move just by singing to it and you’ll be like, “Ain’t no mountain high, ain’t no valley low, ain’t no diaper dirty enough to keep me down.”
- Count your blessings. Seriously. Yes, sometimes I’d rather burn our clothes and limit everyone to two outfits. We have ants in the summer and mice in the winter and we spent enough money on oil this year to pay for college for at least one of our kids. And we still couldn’t stay warm enough for less than 3 layers of clothing. But my girls are awesome. Punkin is growing up making good choices, knowing the difference between right and wrong. Goo is going to do something fantastic with that stubborn independence of hers, I just know it. Smush just oozes love and joy every second of the day. The Nerd is wonderful, minus forgetting to take out the trash. Ever. But when I’m having a day where I wish the house was bigger and the mess was smaller and the bank account balance was larger, it’s good to remember that there is something, anything, good in your life. Often times it’s far more than we realize.
- Blogging. Writing my own and reading other people’s. Because it lets me have a coherent thought. It lets other moms know they aren’t alone in investigating the return policy on children. I’m not alone in desperately needing adult interaction, even on a virtual basis, to keep me from going over the edge. It is, in fact, normal to need a conversation with someone who can say more than, “I need milk, Mommy. I need it NOW.” Remember how before we had kids, we were smart? This is why I blog. I may not write about intellectually stimulating topics, but I can at least form a coherent thought and throw in some humor along the way. Confirmation that my brain still functions at a basic adult level.
- Spend quality time with your family. I know, I had this thought and in my head said, “What the what? Are you crazy? They’re the ones sucking the life out of my personality.” But that’s only on the tough days. Remember how I talked about happy hormones? I get them whenever I see my kids running through the sprinkler at the park, or building a snowman, or getting a surprise late night to snuggle with me and watch a movie. When your daughter looks up at you after a long day and says, “You know what? You’re the best Mommy ever. Because you love me.” Oh my goodness. I’m mush. Complete and utter mush. And I remember why I spend my days dealing with poopie diapers, tantrums,
defiant dictatorsmy little Goo, and the incessantly growing pile of laundry.