kids

"Help! I don't know how to relax anymore."

Ask any mother what she wants for her birthday, Mother’s Day, Christmas, whatever and I’m guaranteed the answer would be something like “a good sleep in and some peace and quiet.” Trust me when I say she’s only half joking.

Like most working mums life is crazy busy. I’m not putting down stay at home mums though, cause I’m one of them too. Being a mum, whatever your situation, is hard going. So when my husband presented me with the rare opportunity of some alone time over the weekend, party poppers started going off in my head (Not the annoying string versions some people put in party bags. I mean, who do you think would have to clean that up!)

He’s a good man, my husband, so as he packed up the car with the older two children, he gave clear instructions to “relax”. Sure, I had the baby with me but she was due for a sleep so really, it was looking good.

Everywhere I looked there was jobs that needed to be done. Image: istock

I walked back inside and breathed in the quiet. It was still and I was free to do whatever the hell I wanted (within reason, I mean. There were no strippers on speed dial or anything).

But what exactly did I do for fun these days? I stood in my living room. Staring back at me was a couch load of washing that needed folding. There were toys everywhere. The dog looked longingly at me through the window, sensing that he may get a look in for some attention without the older kids in the house. The kitchen was a bomb and dinner needed making.

Back in the day I played sports, I was crafty. I went shopping with friends and met up for coffees and chats. But as the children started multiplying our available time, money and energy has reduced which meant that things like this fell to the wayside. A lot of the time it's about survival. Of course we enjoy our children, don't get me wrong, but when you're going through one of the hard stages of no sleep, tantrums, finances, work blah blah blah, some days can feel like a survival of the fittest.

But it was quiet for the time being. I looked around. All I could see was things that needed doing and part of me knew that if I didn't use this relaxing time to get them done, it was on me to do it with three children hanging off me.

ADVERTISEMENT

I went to listen to some music but all I could find was Wiggles playlists. Image: istock

So I ran a bath. That's relaxing, right. Except the entire time I was in there I kept hearing phantom sounds of a baby coughing or crying. When you're hopped in and out of a bath three or four times the relaxing properties tend to wear off.

I went to read a book but the only books in my house were related to raising kids, feeding kids, documenting memories of kids.

Cooking? Nah, I'd have to clean up first and then by the time I went to cook something they would be home. Plus I cook for them all the time.

Do I like colouring? Some people seem to be in to that kind of of stuff. But it seemed like the kind of thing that needed a little forward thought. Adult colouring in isnt the kind of thing you can do with your sons Ninja Turtles colouring book and his broken crayons. Mindfulness?

As a mum I've got so used to being busy, to living in the chaos of not having a minute to myself at any part of the day that when I finally got one I had no idea what I should do with it. The pressure that I place on myself (no one else does it just to be clear) to have the house clean, the washing done, the food cooked... it's never ending. And that's the thing. It doesn't end so unless you actually force yourself to have time out it will never happen. I truly believe that it's easy to fall into this role as a parent which sees you give everything you have, everyday trying to be the very best you can be. But there's a catch and that is that you lose yourself. You lose what you liked to do, for you.

So I ignored the washing. I turned on my computer and I closed down all work related programs. I poured a HOT cup of coffee and raided my kids left over party bags and I sat down. I jumped on and researched holidays, enjoying the peace and quiet. Sure, I might never get to go on one but for a few minutes in the silence of my living room I could dream about it.

So mums, what do you do to relax?

Light blue and pink butterfly illustration. You click, we help. Shooting star illustration.

Mamamia is funding 100 girls in school, every day.

So just by spending time with Mamamia, you’re helping educate girls, which is the best tool to lift them out of poverty.

Thanks for helping!

Light blue and pink butterfly illustration. Girl with pigtails sitting at desk writing in notebook. Row of four books.
Three hands holding books
00:00 / ???