I recently read an article by stay-at-home mom who was told that she must have a lot of time for herself since she stays home and that ” you don’t do much all day, do you?”. I’m sure most stay-at-home moms at one point or another has heard this statement and by golly, I bet they balked at such a comment. She went on to say how she felt quite upset by that statement and how it took every ounce of control not to lose her temper at such a comment. While her friend may have not meant to offend her, she probably had no idea how difficult it is to choose to be a stay-at-home mom.
Being a stay-at-home mom, in my opinion, gives a whole new definition to the word parenting. Although, yes, in general, parenting is really a 24/7 job, being a stay-at-home mom takes this to a new dimension. Why? Because in all essence of the word, you are LITERALLY parenting 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, no commercial breaks, no time-outs. Not that being a working mom is any easier, mind you. I’m sure they, too, have their own share of difficulties and I have no desire to compete with who has the harder task in terms of parenting. I do fully recognize that both sides are EQUALLY difficult.
So, whether you are a stay-at-home mom, or a working mom, or the in-between Mashup Mom so to speak, it is still important to remember one crucial factor in being the best parent you can be: taking care of yourself. However, we all know how difficult this can be, right? For one, we have a lot on our plate what with child rearing, cooking, tending to the house, trying to make money, etcetera etcetera (and, no, we’re not really complaining, right) Add to that the fact that often times, when we spend on ourselves (whether this be in terms of time or of money) we sort of feel a twinge of guilt that we’re taking away from our kids, right?
However, like I said, I am a firm believer in the importance of taking care of ourselves. How can we be efficient and effective caregivers, after all, if we are not kind and caring to ourselves too? Granted spa days are luxuries that we can’t afford all too often. Even a simple manicure or a hair cut can cost quite a bit. So what can we do to find “me” time that won’t cost too much? Here are some ideas:
- Go on a “me-date” picnic, no kids, no pets, no husband…just you. If you want to splurge a little bit, why not take a time out in the neighborhood coffee shop. Taking time out to be with yourself, even if just an hour or so, can really do wonders for you. It will allow you to take a break from the daily grind, give you a chance to take stock of things, and most of all, to recharge. Damage to your bank account for this type of activity should be minimal, right?
- Meet up with fellow moms. Grab a quick lunch or have poker night once a week (or month!) and just let loose. Make it a pot-luck event, so the host of the night does not feel burdened with the expense of things.
- Take a stroll. Note I didn’t say walk, but stroll. Take it slow and steady, just allowing yourself to breathe in some fresh air and, perhaps, stop and smell the roses. And yes: this costs nothing!!!
- Exercise! This is the best gift you can give yourself. Whether it’s popping a Zumba DVD into your player or going to a yoga session, setting aside 60-90 minutes of your day can really make a difference. Besides the rush of endorphins, this will also allow you to be in better shape. To fray on expenses, borrow videos from your local library or check out videos available online.
- Lastly, SLEEP! This is a luxury many moms miss out on….try to find time for this because rest is something that is truly, truly essential to being productive, healthy and efficient in whatever task you do. And cost of this…again…nothing!
I wouldn’t doubt that my suggestions are already familiar to all us moms, but I do know we all need to be reminded of it every once in a while, right? Take a time out, Moms! We deserve it!
Marina is SAHM and co-owner of hall and foyer table store located at HallAndFoyerTables.com