The sun is shining.
I’m out traveling.
A warm pre-spring breeze blows on my face.
My steps have extra bounce.
I feel invigorated!
Life is good.
“Why?” you ask?
I’m free! KID-FREE that is. (Even “house-free.”) I’m out in the world without my kids, and it feels amazing! (What a guilty pleasure.)
I’m heading to the dentist – a place known to make some people break into a cold sweat just thinking about it. But me – I feel like I’m heading to the spa for a mani/pedi because I’m out and about without my tribe, my offspring, my amazing children who can sometimes drain the life right out of me.
Who needs a spa treatment? Today, even if a possible root canal looms, I’ll take it! Especially, if it’s my ticket to be by myself. (Woohoo!)
I reach my destination and it only gets better: The Chew is playing in the waiting room on an extra-large, flat screen TV.
That is such a bonus!
The receptionist is beginning to wonder why I can’t focus long enough to answer any of her new patient questions. I think I’m beginning to embarrass myself, but I can’t miss this segment – Giada is demonstrating how to properly cut an avocado. Hot dang!
I’m really trying to be attentive so management won’t regret their decision not to loop a dental infomercial in the waiting room, but my attention is totally consumed by this show.
It’s rare, if ever, that I get to watch daytime (or even nighttime) TV during the week, so this is a luxury not to be missed. (Seriously, the office staff should have known better.)
This is so good that I almost have to pinch myself in-between filing out insurance forms. It simply can’t get any better – unless the receptionist brings out a tray of hors d’oeuvres.
Who needs a foot soak or a body massage? I’ll gladly trade them in for some mental margin, for a moment of solitude, for my mind to NOT have to process a thought or settle an argument or check a math problem or make a meal or answer another unexplainable mystery of the universe question. And if getting that mental margin goes along with getting a root canal – today I will gladly take it!
Darn it! I just got called into the dentist’s office for some meet and greet with the dental hygienist who will clean my teeth, but it only gets better because this room is actually playing cable: the Food Network! (Oh là là.)
Note: If you want to sedate a homeschooling housewife without using anesthetic, just play her favorite cable and TV shows.
There are entire websites dedicated to demonstrating the beauty of motherhood, the ministry of motherhood, and being an ever-present, 24/7 mom. And while all of those things are true (minus the 24/7 part) we moms still need some time out for ourselves.
We need to find moments of quiet and solitude to recharge and refresh ourselves.
Yes, we love our kids, but they can’t engage us ALL day. If they do, things can get scary. We’re not the best version of ourselves when we’re tired and worn out. We have to schedule in naps and quiet time for our kids so we can regain our emotional and spiritual equilibrium.
A really tough stage is the baby and toddlers stage because that’s usually when the kids seem to dictate our entire day.
Babies don’t cooperate with nap time; sometimes even toddlers don’t! And one crazy, chaotic moment snowballs into the next until the day is over and we fall face down across our bed.
Of course, that would be the very night the baby doesn’t sleep, the toddler gets sick, or even an older kid has a nightmare – because you know, things go bump in the night; and then there’s the Boogie Man, and Disney with that darn Monster’s Inc. movie!
Now back to the dentist:
The x-ray technician needs me to settle-in and sit back for the sake of accuracy. I want to be a team player, but my hesitancy pays off – I’ve just learned that Kraft Macaroni and Cheese has no artificial flavors, preservatives, or dyes. What planet have I been living on all this time?! (See video below.)
The hygienist want’s my attention so she can pitch me the latest (and most expensive) rotating toothbrush ever created. It’s only 100 bucks! Apparently the $3.99 version most of us have been using all of our lives just doesn’t measure-up.
But I’m torn, and occasionally I divert my attention; and It’s a good thing I do because it turns out that whole milk has been getting a bum rap all these years. It’s actually better for you than skim milk – it has less sugar! Who knew? (Bonus points for me having ADD. Cha-ching!)
Before my trip to the spa dentist I didn’t know how badly I needed time alone; time to not be engaged or mentally stimulated. Time to use as much (or as little) energy as a broom stick. Time to be out in the world without having any children tethered to me.
Now don’t get me wrong. Being out-and-about and having a moment to myself is not something that I fantasize about. I no longer have babies or toddlers and I generally have emotionally fulfilling and satisfying days (that is, when I’m not having a total melt-down). But I still have young children, nonetheless, as well as the demands of homeschooling; so something inside of me “woke up” and was revived as I ventured out on my own into the world.
It was completely refreshing – and odd!
Yes, I really do love my kids. Yes, I really do believe in the ministry of motherhood, but I also believe in self-care and refueling so that I have I something of value to give: a better me, which equates to a better mom.
Here’s my recommendation for moms: schedule in time once a week to go and have coffee by yourself, or with a friend; read a whole chapter (or two!) of your favorite book without interruption; window shop or take a brisk or leisurely walk.
Ask your husband to partner with you in this endeavor; especially if you’re a stay-at-home-mom who sometimes never seems to get out of the house, because as moms we need that time like we need oxygen.
And if you can’t get that, just schedule an appointment with the dentist. It’s the ultimate Mom hack.
What about you? How do you refuel and refresh yourself? Are you privileged enough to get out occasionally get out without the kids or do you mostly lock yourself in the bathroom? Post a comment below. I’d love to hear from you!