I’m Not Telling You Something You Don’t Already Know…
At times when I am at my lowest struggling with anxiety and depression, ALL I hear from others is that I need to get out of the house. I know they mean well, but it frustrates me to hear it constantly. Because it isn’t for lacking of trying that I end up house-bound half the time.
Particularly in the winter time, playdates get canceled because of illness, the weather takes a turn for the worse, you can’t spend time outside without being miserable… It’s truly a hurdle to jump just trying to get out. There have been times our house has been stocked with food, but I still loaded up the diaper bag and made a trip to Chick-Fil-A on the other side of town JUST to see some other people. JUST TO TALK TO THE NICE CHICK-FIL-A EMPLOYEES. Just to kill 20 minutes driving in the car both ways instead of watching Zootopia for the 897th time.
Yes, with all the effort, it is frustrating to hear “You need to get out of the house.” But, because I know there are moms like me who are still struggling to believe it’s worth the effort, I’m going to be THAT mom and give it to you straight anyways:
Do yourself a favor and get out of the house. For your sanity. For your children’s sanity.
I’m going to give you three ways I’m working on doing this better myself this year. Cause I never write about something that hasn’t been a personal issue at some point.
1. Arrange a kid-swap with a friend
Look, if you are an introvert or struggle with feeling like a burden to people, I know it’s hard to reach out to other moms. But, chances are, they are in the same position you are. Unless they are Super Mom juggling all the activities and things… why you gotta make us look bad, Super Mom? Why?
Here’s what you have to do: punch that insecurity in the face, humble yourself, and reach out to other SAHMs. I promise more often not, they will be glad to make some arrangements.
For example, in the last few months, I’ve made a deal with another SAHM and one day a week, we take turns watching each other’s kids. Today, she is keeping Jonas for me for a couple of hours so I can get away and spend some time writing.
Next week, I will watch her three kids so she can spend a couple hours doing whatever it is she wants to do.
And guess what, when I reached out to her with this idea, she was glad to work something out. Because, as moms, we both are in the same boat: so little time, so much to do. So much we WANT to do.
And it’s great for our kids, too. When I drop Jonas off at her house, he’s in a new environment with other children. It’s a way for him to not only have some new stimulation, but it’s simultaneously a way for me to nurture my mental health.
Consider reaching out and arranging a similar swap with another mom you know that could use some personal time. You won’t regret it!
And if you can’t make arrangements…
If you aren’t able to work out dropping your children off with a trusted friend, at least try to plan one playdate a week. It may sound OCD, but I have a list of all the moms I can contact for playdates. I’m trying to work on contacting each one at regular intervals to get together. Again, it sounds needy, but I’m discovering that many times they are as glad to hear from a friend as I am when someone texts me out of the blue with a proposal to get together.
- Wednesday: Block train (VTech Sit-to-Stand Ultimate Alphabet Train)
- Thursday: Play in the snow*
- Friday: Play date with Olive*
- Saturday: Block trucks
- Sunday: Blocks (wooden)
- Monday: Play date with Charlie & Ollie*
The items with asterisks were days that we either had a play date to change up the routine or an anomaly like this winter blizzard we’ve had on the east coast! The other days, I just got out the next toy or activity on the list and spent some time engaging with him.
As I come up with new ideas or he gets new toys, like he just did for Christmas (jackpot!!), I add them to the list. So, it is ever-changing and growing longer–giving us a more diverse rotation of activities for days we are stuck in the house!
3. Go on weekly outings
Finally, the riskiest option, but still an option if you are desperate… just go! Although it’s stressful to go out alone with your kids, especially if they are still little, sometimes it is worth the effort just so both you and they can have a change of scenery.
Plan a few places you can go on a regular basis instead of sitting at home. Once it gets warm, we will be making regular visits to the park again.
- The library (story time!)
- A walk around Wal-Mart
- Indoor play places, if your kids are old enough
- Out for lunch (like our random trips to Chick-Fil-A)
Ladies, truly, one day I got so stir crazy, I drove down the street to the Dollar General and let my toddler walk around, stacking cans of cheap beans and tuna fish. Heck, it was something to do.
Then he laid down in the floor and pitched a fit cause I wouldn’t let him throw the soda bottles. So then we had to go home and take a bath cause the floor was nasty. But, hey, between the driving, the can-stacking, the bath, and the nap he was ready for after that, the whole ordeal killed a lot of time I would have otherwise spent listening to him whine and cry of boredom. Which, at that point, probably would have made me cry, too.
Sometimes, you just do what you gotta do.
And sometimes what you gotta do…
Is just suck it up, put on a brave face, and get out of the house.
You’ve got this, mom.
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