Can I help? My 3 year old asks as she drags the mop (2 feet taller than her) across the floor, drowning the tile with water and splashing in the soapy mess. Absolutely, I respond happily while I sit on the stairs painting my toenails.
You absolutely can help.
I’ll start off by telling you that disorder, messes…they give me the pit sweats. I tell you this with a sink full of dishes and a pile of laundry so high, my kid climbs it like a mountain. Even though that crap STRESSES ME OUT, I’ve learned that sometimes I need to throw in the towel and take some time for myself. I’m not trying to get all kumbaya on you or anything, but as Mom’s we can really spread ourselves too thin.
When we’re burnt out, everyone pays the price.
“The mother is and must be whether she knows it or not, the greatest, strongest, and most lasting teacher her children have.” -Hannah Whitall Smith
Motherhood is a 24 hours a day, 7 days a week gig. We tend to work selflessly, and between the daily duties that seem never ending it’s easy to go bat sh*t crazy. My daughter would rather plug her nose and sit next to me while I poop than give me 2 minutes of alone time…
I’ve read a lot of great advice on ways to care for yourself as a Mom. But sometimes I just don’t have the time/money/or social willingness to attempt most of them. So here are some things I do that keep my kids busy while pampering myself at the same time:
Let them do your hair while you do yo’ thang. Who doesn’t love their hair played with? I mean, when their little fingers aren’t getting tangled and ripping half of it out, it feels great! I set my daughter up with ouchless hair ties, easy clips, headbands, and sometimes my favorite leave in conditioner and let her go to town. In the meantime I read a magazine, write in my journal, listen to a CD, or we just chat about my little pony. There have been times it’s given me a whole 30 minutes. That’s pure success right there.
My daughter LOVES getting into my favorite, most expensive, and treasured body lotions and cremes. She’s always asking to smell them, to use them, to put them on her stuffed animals… Now, I just let her rub that crap on my feet! After that we like to paint each others toenails. She usually picks yellow for me, and it looks like I have toe fungus. Luckily, it’s sock weather.
This was a Pinterest win for me. Bear hugs to the genius that thought this up. Customization is key however. My daughter isn’t interested in cars, so instead I grab a pillow, get comfy, throw her dinosaur play mat on my back, and let her go. Bonus = free alignment afterwards if she decides to jump on me.
Team up on them
I have a few friends that are also Moms and we occasionally trade babysitting hours. I’ll take her kids for a couple of hours one week, and the next week she’ll take mine. DO NOT take this time to clean, or go over bills, or wash pee out of bedding. Get yourself a dang smoothie or something.
Let Them Help
I can’t stress this enough, if your kids are old enough to help with stuff around the house LET THEM. They make toy brooms for a reason, kids love to help with that crap. Like I pictured above, my kiddo seriously enjoys moping the kitchen floor and I happily let her. When it’s all said and done, we have a clean floor and I had time to do something for myself.
Just let it be
Take some time to let them be messy, crazy, and loud. Embrace the chaos. Give yourself a break, and let it all be. The dishes, the laundry, the play dough in the carpet… Sometimes all you need to recharge and heal is some time being present.
Naturally, these tips won’t work for everyone. But maybe they will inspire you to think creatively during the day with your kiddos, and remind you that your well being is important.