That's not what this blog post is about. Actually, I decided after reading several comments and just wandering about, that I needed to talk about Making Time. Something most of us adults just do not do! I mean, we make lists for what we must do, for the grocery store. We make time for back to school night, PTA meetings, our kids sports and club events. We even manage to fit in times for showers and combing our hair. However, if you really look, how much time do you make for yourself, for your relationship with your significant other? Barely any, if what I read on blog post comments and message boards are telling me. That just makes me sad. Us parents should not forget ourselves while raising children. Honestly, how can we make our children into awesome human beings if we keep putting ourselves on the back burners all the time.
So here is my list for Making Time- Not just amazing crazy expensive things, but easy things that are worth it all-
1. Hold hands- My Husband and I hold hands all the time. It is a simple intimate moment that connects us on a different level. Whether we are in the car or sitting in the house, we will clasp our hands together. We do not even have to look at each other, we just reach out, take hold and instantly we feel secure. We will hold hands while walking with the boys at the park, at the mall, in the grocery store. Even laying in bed, we don't need anything else. We don't need to cuddle or have amazing sex every night, but we do hold hands, sometimes we have even woken up with our hands joined. It's a solid start to letting each other know we are there for each other, always.
2. Make time for friends/family- Schedules are ridiculously hectic, for the parents and the non-parents of the world. We all can barely keep up with ourselves, let alone trying to fit moments in between all the many filled up calender boxes for having adult time with adult friends. It is so important though! A parent who makes time to go out with friends, whether with their spouse or just a girls night, feels better! Has less chance to become depressed over the monotony of their daily lives. So if you are feeling extra sad and lonely, call up your friends, sisters, brothers, cousins, and have them over after the kids are in bed. Pull out a bottle of wine, a movie or a board game, and sit around having a few good laughs with a few good friends- Tell me how you feel the next day! Yup amazing right?? Told you! Next time a friend is having a Scentsy or Pleasure Party, go, seriously! Adult contact is very important, and I don't just mean the other mommies in the play group or the parent's you barely talk to as you are picking up your children from school, I mean people you actually like.
3. Find time to getaway- I just did this- The Husband and I went away for two nights. We stayed in a little bed and breakfast. We made love, we cuddled, we took a shower TOGETHER, we walked, we did adult things. We went to that fancy restaurant. I wore the pretty, light colored clothing I never wear with children around. We laughed, kissed and felt like a single couple for two days. We even went to our very first wine tasting; which was free because of the room we were staying in. We reconnected and came back more in love then we did when we left, which let me tell you, we love each other pretty hard! Couples need that- and maybe you can't get away for two whole nights, but find a way to getaway for a few hours, go somewhere you have never been, do something you have never done. Go to a restaurant that doesn't have a children's menu. If the parents are happy, the children are happier! It is the honest truth. If you can't do something crazy, fill up your travel mugs with coffee or tea, pack a picnic and go sit in the park, but do it alone, do not bring the children- Take up that offer from that friend, cousin, aunt, grandma who said anytime you need a sitter and use it. If you must bring the children, sit on a bench and just hold hands like number 1 said. However, realize that is a date night, which will be further down the list and it's not the same.
4. Close the Bathroom door- I know, I know. This is so hard, because they force their way in like the tiny little mole people they are- but you need to lock it sometimes. Do it after bedtime if you must, another hour isn't going to totally take you out the next day- Mothers live on air and coffee anyway. Fill up the bathtub or just turn on the shower- yup, that's it. Take a shower and use that expensive bodywash someone got you for Christmas a million years ago that you never touch because you are saving it. Make today special; paint your toe nails, moisturize! When you are glowing! Sit in a bathrobe with a hot cup of tea and open that magazine or book! Bedtime is the perfect time to take an hour or two for yourself. So what if you might be slightly tired in the morning, you are going to be a grumpy goose regardless if you pampered yourself for two hours- So just do it and do not feel guilty if you eat the ice cream right out of the carton, take this time for you and do it at least once a month.
5. Take a Walk- No seriously, take a walk, with the kids, without the kids. By yourself- or as a group. Just take a walk. Stop for a cup of coffee or a iced beverage; sit at a little table outside in front of a cafe- You will be amazed how great you feel after a walk by yourself. If you have a dog, this makes the excuse to do it more often all the greater. I sometimes take the kids for a walk; they run and skip and jump and I only have to yell at them like 20 times instead of 100 but at the end of the walk I feel more relaxed. I guess it has something to do with endorphins and blah blah blah... but just do it! And if you get the chance to do it alone, don't forget your iPod. Totally zen out and just appreciate the moment alone.
6. Date Night- Yes I know this is kind of like getting away or closing the bathroom door. Make the time though; and as a woman who counts grocery shopping as date night, I will tell you, it is so nice to be alone with my husband and thank God for Grandma. If you do not have a Grandma like I do, then start planning a date night; it is so easy ready. Friday night the kids go to bed at 8- (I put mine to bed at 7:30, this means they have a whole half an hour to calm down and then by 8:30 they are usually out!) Order chinese or pizza, make popcorn, grab a movie you know you haven't watched because usually sitting down makes you fall asleep five minutes into anything. Pull out a board game or a deck of cards. Sit on the patio, deck, stoop, whatever you have, together, with beers and kick back- Hold hands(1), sit on his lap, makeout like two teenagers. Laugh. There, you just had a date night! Score! Also, you can hire a babysitter, when you can, those humans are great! Some of them don't even expect payment; like grandma or Auntie- and they are more then willing to watch your kids so that the two of you can go out, so you can wear nice clothes and make up and stare at your husband over a actual meal! Do it.. - it is so important. Do it once a month! You need it, your spouse needs it! Do not deny yourselves these moments, because they make for a better partnership. You will not hate him at the end of the day if you know at the end of the month you can be pretty and get away from your tyrants even if it is just for a movie!
7. Go to the Park- Okay your child just asked to go to the park for the 15th time and you are looking at a mound of laundry just waiting to be washed and you have been wearing those yoga pants for three days. There are at least two days worth of dishes in the sink, toys are flung from one end of the house to the other. You haven't combed your hair or even thought about dinner yet. Guess what? It will still be there later; but your child wants to go outside, your child wants you to play with them. Go do it. Seriously, drop the sponge, back away from the sink, throw a sweater on over the stained up tee shirt you are wearing, twist your hair in a messy bun, throw on some sunglasses and get outside with your kid. Swing on swings, slide down slides, chase them. Laugh and have a merry time with your kids because guess what? They are only little for a little bit and you are still fun whether you want to believe it or not. Don't close yourself inside with the constant taunt of a spotless house! Your house will never be showroom perfect until they all move out. So for now, take a day, one or more or however many you need and just go have fun with your kids. It is making time for yourself, whether you realize it or not. The mess will be right back there tomorrow even if you clean it today! So get out and do something different. You will feel a hundred times better then you did before you went outside. Believe me!
8. Make Friends- This has always been hard for me, since I am not the most sociable person. However, over the last few years I have made some really amazing friends and you know where I found them- Facebook. Through mommy pages and writing sights and book clubs. I found women like me who have depression issues and anxiety disorders and don't really like going a lot of places or meeting new people. And these people, these women and men have changed my life for the better. They are always there if I need a shoulder and the reverse is true. And we don't expect anything from each other- We like posts and experience the good, bad and ugly of each others lives and we never have to worry if our house is a mess if they stop by for a visit. However, if you are more social then I, Join a playgroup, or a mommy class, or a book club at the library and make friends there. Sometimes we need friends that match us, who are parents, I have made a few through Cub Scouts that I am blessed to have in my life now. It is important and then you can totally do number 2-
9. Write it down- Keep a journal; use it for whatever you need it for, thoughts, prayers, poems; to do lists. Try to write in it every night. Facebook has become that for me, however I have a journal that sits on my bedside table- I place mementos from trips, the dandelion Ian gave me at the park, a leaf that got stuck in my hair at the pumpkin patch when I was pregnant with Noah. I write down quotes, thoughts, prayers, poems, everything goes into that book. I even doodle in it sometimes, but I try to do it, every night. I carry it with me when I go away too. Once, Noah was in the hospital for almost two weeks, and that journal really got me through. And in a few years, go back and read it, you will be amazed at the memories you kept over the years. And it is a moment to yourself.
10. Look at yourself!- No really, take a moment everyday to really look at yourself. I usually pick first thing in the morning or right after I lay the baby down for his first nap. Just tell yourself you are beautiful! Just say it. The first couple times it will feel weird and you will not believe yourself. After that, pick a feature, your eyes, nose, smile, freckles, your hair. Start loving yourself! Take a moment every day, to love you. I don't care if it is five minutes. Make the time. You need to make the time. It is important. The better the image you have for yourself, the better you are at teaching your children to love themselves too. So stop putting yourself down and start lifting yourself up! One step at a time.
I have battled depression since I was 8 years old. I have worked really hard on loving myself, only to be knocked down over and over again. The past 8 years I have devoted myself to making time for me. I am probably one of the only mom's you will ever meet who really makes a time to take a nap and I have mastered how to do it when the baby is doing it. Making time for you is more important then you may even realize. I have lived in two totally different marriages, I have been a stay at home mom, a full time working mother, I have worked two jobs at once, I have been a single mother, I have been the volunteer mom and the lazy mom. I battle chronic pain, chronic fatigue and chronic depression. I have really off, extremely low days and really amazing high days- but I still struggle. I will probably always struggle. However, now, I will always make time for me. Whether it is that glorious nap in the middle of the day, a spa treatment in my own bathroom or sitting on the back porch with a cup of tea and a good book, I make the time. Everyone should! Make your own list- share it here or on my facebook page- But love yourself and put yourself first every once in a while. Then track your journey and tell me how you feel! Depression never really goes away, it is that dark shadow holding on to you always, but you can help yourself, one step at a time.