Rest here for a minute.
By Rachael Brownell
Laughing inappropriately when your kids get hurt, hoping your husband trips on the wet towel he left on the floor, burgeoning rage when you see that someone moved your special spoon, sensation that there are a million swarming bees inside your brain all demanding more peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Addressing "Mommy Stress" is most effective if you first diagnose which phase you are in.
PHASE 1. Tired, but Functioning
Here Mommy is still able to feign cheerfulness despite semi-serious sleep deprivation. For several nights running small people have woken her up needing things, and husband has curiously been so sleepy he doesn’t hear the cries.
PHASE 2. Cranky
Here we see poor Mommy start to drop her basket a bit. Little outbursts here (“I said NO JELLY TOAST!”) and there (“Do I LOOK like I feel like having sex right now?!!!”) indicate that the fragile framework of sanity is slipping away. Poor Mommy.
In this final most desperate phase, Mommy has fantasies of voluntary inpatient psychiatric care, or a long, long hospital stay possibly due to a terminal illness (husband’s). Here Mommy’s fantasies often revolve around death (at least when you’re dead, you get uninterrupted sleep), young Latino lovers, and driving off and never returning.
If any of these stress phases sound familiar, it’s time to take action, lest you end up becoming consumed with guilt, find yourself home-schooling your children, teaching Pilates, and attending a class called How to Please a Man.
With these simple steps, you will soon find yourself refreshed, renewed, and ready to step back into that oatmeal pile on your kitchen floor. Hell, you might even feel up to cooking a healthy dinner.
Step 1. Make a Plan
Once you’ve determined your level of stress, you’ll need to formulate a plan. Pick a day and time in which Mommy Break will occur. If it needs to be RIGHT THIS SECOND GODDAMMIT (most common among Phase 3 Mommies), then leave your children in husband’s charge, and head to the nearest big deep bathtub. Light some candles, get yourself a big glass of wine, turn on your favorite music (if you can’t remember what that is, just go with Norah Jones), and put in some sweet smelling bath salts or bubbles. The key to true relaxation is to cut out all noise from the outer yelling fighting world. If you have to turn the music up, turn on the bathroom fan, and put in earplugs then do it.
If you have time to plan ahead, here are some great breaks for all budget sizes.
Be specific about how long you will be gone. And stick to your schedule. If, two hours into your break, you’re convinced that your home is up in flames and your children are wandering the neighborhood in nothing but diapers, get a hold of yourself and take a deep breath. They will survive without you. Say it with me: “I need this break so I don’t go to a home.” There. Better now?
Step 3. Plan Your Next Break
Before you conclude your Mommy Break, make sure to identify another time within 10-14 days where a similar rest can be arranged.
And remember, a rested Mommy is a better Mommy.
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