This iconic advertising slogan got its start in the mid-1930s, featuring an overstressed mother who has had it – with her children, the household, work and more. She says these magical words and is whisked away to a luxurious, foaming bath and her troubles just seem to evaporate. Is it any wonder that every woman who saw this commercial wanted to live it? To have a little mom’s retreat?
Unfortunately, there isn’t a wonderful soaking tub that will make all our cares disappear, and for most of us, the water we see involves dirty dishes or baby baths. So, it’s no surprise that all of us – the stay-at-home moms, the working moms, the new moms and the veteran moms – get to that point when we reach our limits and need a much deserved break. But how, where and when? While we can’t draw your tub and light your candles, we have some soothing suggestions for when Mommy needs a retreat.
Girls’ Night Out: A night out with your girls is such a way of life that it even has its own acronym – GNO! It is a fact of female life that regardless of how wonderful your husband or partner may be, how adorable your children are, we women need each other. So, plan a night out with your besties. It might be other moms, work friends, neighbors or a mix of them all. If you’ve got girls, getting together with them is a great way to unwind, catch up and think about things outside of your own domain. Whether you dress up for a true Ladies’ Night, do a low key dinner and movie, or just get together for some cocktails and conversation, you will be glad you did. It may involve some tactical planning around babysitters, kids’ schedules and hubby’s work, but it will be well worth it.
Let’s Get Physical: You may not want to hear this – especially when you’re completely exhausted — but exercise is a wonderful way to destress and refocus. It gets our endorphins flowing, our heart rate up and lets us focus on the one person who gets forgotten most of the day — YOU! Working out, in whatever way you choose, also builds up your self-confidence and esteem because when you look healthier, you feel healthier. For most of us who are still trying to find our “new normal” in terms of body shape and image, post-kids, exercise is a manageable, responsible way to do it. No one says you have to go Cross Fit crazy, but a weekly yoga class, walking or running, a simple weight program or a fun group class is a great way to physically and mentally escape. And believe it or not, you’ll sleep better too. Now we’re talking your language!
Coffee Talk: As a mom, you so rarely get to think about or focus on topics other than children. Enter Starbucks and the numerous other coffee houses and bistros that provide caffeine, comfort and calm. Set a date with a friend – or even your husband – to get out of the house, be around grownups and just relax. This is similar to a GNO but on a smaller, low key scale. This also might be easier to manage if you have preschool, Mom’s Morning out, a husband who is home on a Saturday morning or a babysitter to watch the children. If you don’t drink coffee – no worries! Dabble in numerous delicacies like Frappuccino’s, lattes and green tea or just get a little nosh and nibble. It may seem like a small step, but a regular coffee outing is a giant leap for Mom-kind.
Pampered Paradise: We’ve been talking about simple ways to retreat and recharge, but if you’re really serious about relaxing, you can take it to the professionals. Treat yourself to some spa time and indulge in mani/pedis, facials or massages. This is a fantastic retreat and a great way to forget about the stress of daily life. Go big and plan a spa day or just sneak away for an hour or two. Can’t you just hear the ocean music and smell the lavender and teakwood oil? Enough said!
Sleep: This may be overstating the obvious but sometimes all a weary mother needs is sleep. Simple to say, difficult to accomplish. If you have a guest room or a basement, you may want to escape, turn on a fan or a sound machine and drift off. Obviously, let your husband, family or babysitter know what you’re doing and really commit to not being interrupted. When my three children were babies, my spouse and I were literally delirious with fatigue so a night of uninterrupted sleep was a real treat to each other. Not dinner out, not romance, but dedicated sleep. The lucky winner got to retreat to our dark, cool basement and no matter what we heard above, we got to drown it out and drift off. Best of all, there were no alarm clocks, no babies crying, nothing. If you want to splurge a little, you may even escape to a hotel for a night. Ooh la la!
Husband Time: With all the energy and time you devote to children, it’s easy to forget your partner in crime. So why not plan some Husband Time and get away? Whether it’s Date Night, a day away or even a weekend excursion, find something you both want to do, book the sitter and don’t look back. It’s always good to reconnect and while yes, you may talk mainly about the children, at least you’ll be doing it in private. Many couples have a regularly standing date night, but even if that’s not possible, definitely carve out some time for the one with whom this all started.
Every mom hits the wall at some point (literally, you may actually hit your wall one day). However, it’s important to not lose yourself in this parenting adventure. After all, you want to give your best to your children and you can only do that if you have the mental and physical energy. So, get away. It may be for an hour, an afternoon, an evening or a weekend; on a shoestring budget or a comfortable bank account. It might involve planes, trains and automobiles or just a pair of earbuds and your iPhone, a cup of coffee and a good book. The doctors say it, the therapists say it, your mother says it – and it’s true. Make time for yourself to retreat, recharge; then get out there and do what you do!