For someone who used to be a working girl, I never thought I’d take to being a full-time housewife. It’s no walk in the park, I tell you. But for some reason, there are a handful of people who think I live the charmed life now that I’m no longer a corporate slave. I’ve been labeled “lady of leisure” and “soccer mom” on more than one occasion. But believe me when I say that being a full-on housewife and mom is just as or even more challenging than working in an office, but way less glamorous. I mean, I’ve had to trade my stilettos for Uggs.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids to smithereens and really relish the fact that I’m with them all day every day, watching them grow. After all, they’re only young once. In a couple of years, they’ll be cringing and pushing me away when I smother their face with kisses in public or they’ll be choosing to spend time with their friends instead of their embarrassing old folks.
But no matter how much I treasure my time with them, I need a breather every so often. And I realized there’s no need to feel guilty about wanting that space. It’s a natural reaction when your only adult conversations on a daily basis, aside from asking your husband how his day was, are exchanging pleasantries with your kid’s preschool teacher and the other mommies at your kid’s school. So yes, me-time is essential to being a mom. And here are a few ways you can take some time off.
Pamper yourself. Treating yourself to some pampering once a week can really help rejuvenate you. Get a foot spa and pedicure or maybe a Swedish massage or simply go window-shopping. I usually get Groupon deals for beauty parlour and spa services because these things can be expensive at regular price. But what I do more often to treat myself is to just wander around aimlessly in a shopping mall while my husband stays home with the kids. On occasion, I’ve come home with a new pair of boots or a lovely wool coat that I can always justify as necessary purchases because hey, it’s winter five months of the year where I live!
Exercise! Admittedly, I don’t exercise as often as I should. Going to a gym is not for me. Once in a while, I’ll attend a yoga or Zumba class, but I’d rather just exercise at home. Good thing I can do some dance routines using Dance Central, a game my husband has on his Xbox 360 and Kinect. It’s good to work up a sweat at least thrice a week, something I have yet to put my mind to!
Meditate or pray every day to put things in perspective. It’s not enough to have a healthy body. A sound mind and soul are of equal importance. So I try to pray and read scripture every day, just to clear my mind, fill my spirit, and simply just be. It’s not the easiest thing to do with all the white noise that fills our daily lives. But I try.
Earn your own money, no matter how little. Having been in the corporate world for 12 years, I’d already forgotten what it was like to depend on others for money, even after I got married. So when I became a SAHM, I decided that even though I didn’t have a 9 to 5 job anymore, I would find a way to make a little money of my own by doing freelance writing projects. I get paid per article and it isn’t much. It’s just a little something to give me that sense of dignity that yes, I am still capable of earning my own keep.
Make coffee dates with a friend or two. This isn’t so easy for me to do because my closest of friends are scattered in different parts of the world. But if you’re lucky and you’ve got your friends living nearby, set dinner or coffee dates with them regularly. Just to get out of the house and vent and binge and just plain hang out with other adults.
Go on a vacation at least once a year—without the kids. This may be an unpopular opinion, especially for those moms who have really small kids because come on, what kind of mother are you to leave your baby for a few days so you can feel the sand in your toes or enjoy some easy conversation over a few glasses of wine? Yes, I’m guilty as charged because I’ve done that. Several times. I went on a four-day road trip to the northern Philippine provinces with my husband and our friends when our daughter was 10 months old, leaving her in the care of her grandparents. My husband and I flew to Jordan, Israel, and Egypt on a two-week tour, again leaving our little girl with my parents. And just last year, I met up with my girl friends in San Francisco and Napa Valley for an all-girl bonding trip, leaving my two kids with my ever supportive husband.
Ah, female friends. They are essential to your lives, ladies. Even if they aren’t mommies themselves, they’re truly the best people to spend time with, to lend a listening ear to, and to just laugh with about the most inane topics that men would never, ever understand.
So call me a bad mom, but I love spending time away from my kids every so often, whether it’s a few hours in a week or a few days in a year. I feel I can be a better mom if I just regroup on occasion and go to places that don’t have to be kid-friendly.
Then when I’m away long enough, I get that pang of longing and I think to myself, there it is! That feeling of finally missing my kids. And I eagerly fly back into their chubby arms, once again ready to take on bedtime stories, potty-training, food spills, and tantrums--until my next vacation, of course!