Relaxation and motherhood sound like an oxymoron — totally impossible. However, we must enjoy the precious times we have with our children while they are young. Let’s not think of relaxing as a luxury, but a necessity – your children want the best, most-relaxed, stress-free version of you as a parent. Here are some simple ways to maximize relaxation during the day (and night).
- Invest in your morning at night. It is so wonderful to wake up with the kitchen counters clean, the coffee made and dishwasher and sink empty. Spending 10 minutes each night preparing for the next day (packing lunches, showers, laying out clothes) can cultivate a relaxing morning and set the tone for the day.
- Wake up before your day actually starts. Ideally, I wake up before all the kids and spend time by myself on our deck with a cup of coffee. If I can center myself and relax before the chaos of scrambled eggs, brushing hair, and last minute homework, I feel prepared to tackle the day head on rather than starting the day by playing catch up.
- Create a date night. Date nights don’t have to disappear just because you have a million kids and are on a tight budget. My friend gave me this insight — She and her husband plan date nights at home. After dinner, they put the kids to bed earlier than usual. They order take out for themselves, cuddle on the couch while having dessert and watching a movie. It’s sweet to relax and spend time with your husband and make him feel loved.
- Take 5-minute relaxation breaks. Nursing or bottle-feeding a baby requires the parent to sit down and relax – it’s a beautiful reminder that our children need us to periodically slow down and take mini-vacations for ourselves.
- Plan to relax. Let’s put relaxing on the schedule. As a mom, reading a good book, requires more than a library card. I make a list of all the tasks I need to accomplish before my planned reading time, which is baby nap time. It’s a gift to yourself when you can actually relax without unfinished business hanging over your head.
- Mom’s night out. Getting a break from being a mom (dirty diapers, cooking dinner, convincing toddlers to eat carrots) and just being a friend for a night is so wonderful. Sometimes it’s good to let our husbands or sisters do some mom-work. I love going out with my friends. It is even better when I can leave the nursing baby at home. The ironic part about taking a break from your children is that you usually end up missing them more and spend the whole night telling their funny stories.
- Be thankful. My Granny taught me that if I felt overwhelmed or unhappy, I should write out a “thankful list.” Whenever I do this, I instantly feel at peace because my mind is off of my problems and on the better parts of my life. When we inspect our life, we have so many more things to be thankful for than to complain about and our minds are set at ease to mediate on the good parts of life.
- Get pretty. Whenever I feel a little down, I love to pamper myself. Going to the spa isn’t always in the budget for me so I will spend time pampering myself. I do my eyebrows and paint my toes. I put on makeup and do my hair and wear a dress. It makes me feel rejuvenated to look in the mirror and feel pretty. Just because you don’t want to spend money on a mani/pedi doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have one, and more!
Healthy children need more than vitamin C, sunscreen, and a good dentist. They require the most-relaxed, stress-free, emotionally-balanced version of you. You can give that to them…let’s relax it up!