Free Time: Breaking The “Mom Rules”

Recently, my mind has been ON. And I don’t mean in the totally awesome way that means I’ve gotten 95% of my to do list accomplished by sheer will power. I mean, I have really bad pregnancy brain. I can’t stop thinking about things that I should be doing, halfway through the day I don’t remember any of them, even though I have written a physical list a million miles long. Like, I’ve “forgotten” to order contacts for the last four months straight.

The end result? Me. Napping. 

My stepson isn’t here this week, and I actually dislike that more when my husband is traveling because he is such a big help with the little kids. Can he be super bossy? Yes. A tattle tale? Yes. Does he entertain the crap out of them and they love him to death? Yes and yes. So, although I never see him as a baby sitter (I mean, he’s 11 of goodness sake), he has the big brother thing down… and that alleviates a little of the pressure I feel when I’m single parenting.

This week hasn’t been my favorite, amongst the tantrums, reorganization/disorganization, allergic reaction all over my daughter’s face, potty training failures,…etc. So, I was really, pleasantly surprised when my parents decided to bring over dinner last night and asked if the two littlest kiddos could spend the night. I felt like I had forgotten to speak…

My children have only spent the night with my mom and dad once before. My parents live in a one bedroom apartment, my dad gets up at 5:30AM for work… it’s not always convenient, and I get that. After I said yes, my mind immediately jumped to what I could get done in the time they were over there. Whittle away at my to-do’s, maybe?

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I had every intention of possibly priming the nursery so there would be less work when DH got home. I was going to go running since I haven’t been in weeks and feel wimpy doing little prenatal workouts at home. Also, I thought about finishing up the basket of laundry sitting upstairs & folding the clothes that have been “resting” for way too long. Possibly even vacuuming out the car & scrubbing those stubborn upholstery stains. But, the kids didn’t end up leaving until after 8pm and immediately after, I had a ‘smart house’ issue. {My husband loves technology but, it’s no fun to be home alone & have your wall display become completely unresponsive while playing the “Jessie’s Girl” chorus at a ridiculous volume. Possessed much?)

Needless to say, time was slipping away; as it so easily does. Once, I got on Facebook and wasted a few more minutes there was no way I had the motivation to go running. Or anything else for that matter. Sitting in bed, I found myself texting Jon the same thing I always do… “I was gonna try to be productive tonight, but it didn’t happen 😦 I’m sorry.” As usual, his reply was that he just wanted me to relax. And, suddenly, I started thinking to myself, “Who says I have to spend every minute of the day being productive?”

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I’m friends with, and see, a lot of Facebookers comment on any status about someone’s “free time” with a remark about what a great time it would be to clean the house or do some other task that is easier without kids underfoot. While they mean well, the rebel in me sees those comments as a challenge to do as little as possible in order to beat the stigma that I, as a wife and mother, have to be industrious at every moment. I’m not June Cleaver or Donna Reed, nor do I want to be. So, why impose such unnatural demands on myself?

All I ended up doing last night was taking an extra long shower (I even opened up a new razor!) and climbing in bed with a face mask and a book. I didn’t do anything life changing- or even remotely interesting, to most people. I don’t blame it on being pregnant either. It’s just that once I finally had a few hours that I could’ve manipulated my house work into, I didn’t want to anymore. I simply didn’t feel like making myself more tired or stressed out so that my husband could come home to a grumpy, baby-growing, cleaning machine who would do more complaining about what I was trying to get done before he got there than anything else.

DH is really great at taking everything in stride. His motto is, “inch by inch”. In all the time we’ve been together that saying has done nothing but get on my nerves. My perfectionist ways tend to despise that way of thinking because, to me, it means I’m not good enough to get everything done when and how it should be. But, as I grow older, I find that I appreciate it more. Why not break the “mom rules” and spend a little time just doing nothing? Five minutes. Five hours, if you’ve got it. Why not? WHY. NOT.

If you’re doing to yourself what I do so often, and you’re thinking what difference does it make? It makes a whole lot of difference to your sanity. When my kids come home later today from their sleepover, I’m gonna feel a little less frazzled. I’ll be so excited to hear what they did and ate and said. I’ll be a little more eager to squeeze them because I didn’t get to give them their last kiss goodnight. I’ll be a more loving mom because I didn’t scrub down my dirty, dining room settee with Oxi-clean one more time before bed.

Take the advice of a type-A, OCD, wanna be perfectionist here… If you want to be exceptional, do the freaking face mask, get into bed with your Woodstock tee on, and surf Pinterest for a couple of uninterrupted, lazy hours. Believe it or not, (in some way) your family will thank you.

1 thought on “Free Time: Breaking The “Mom Rules””

  1. This is totally me…type A personality, perfectionist, etc. I find it so hard to sit back and do nothing. You’re totally right, though, that doing so can benefit ourselves and our families. Thanks for the encouragement!

    Liked by 1 person

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