As Mums, whether as a SAHM or a working mum, we all have days when it feels like everything seems to go against us. What can possibly make it worse is when our kids “decide” to add fuel to fire when we have a bad day.
Just as we feel frustrated, our kids may decide they don’t want to cooperate at meal time, or that they want to throw a hissy fit in public. This has happened to me a number of times over the last 31months of being a Mum.
Kids sometimes “refuse” to cooperate. Even babies sometimes just don’t seem to want to stop crying. Do you remember the times you tried everything to coax your baby and your baby just wants to cry his voice away? For a first time mum, that can be the most overwhelming thing. For mums with more than one child, a crying baby plus an uncooperative pre-schooler…. Aaarrgghh… Sounds like a perfect concoction for explosion.
Sometimes, the most challenging thing as a Mum is to simply keep sane. There’s just too much to do! Laundry to be done, dishes to be washed, the floor to be cleaned, the baby to attend to. I remember the many times when I feel like screaming, “I want a break!!”
Perhaps, when we become mummies, we forget to be more forgiving with ourselves and take little breathers. And to tell ourselves, it is OKAY to take a break.
It’s okay to walk away for a little while
I remember when Phoebie was a baby, there were days when she would cry non-stop and after I tried whatever I could to comfort her, she would still cry. No one was around to help me and I would carry her n walk around the house, trying to keep myself sane while trying to calm Phoebie down. It didn’t help when post-natal blues would sneak up on me. It was the most helpless feeling. I couldn’t take it and decided to google for some information to help me.
The best thing I learnt then was, it’s okay to walk away for a little while. That’s right, walk away from the crying baby.
Of course, before I walked away from Phoebie, I would make sure she was safe in her crib, with nothing near her that may cause her to hurt herself. After I put her down, I would close the door and give myself some time to cool down. 5 minutes, 10 minutes, perhaps? I would either get a drink, watch tv for a little while, or surf the net. It’s not a long time to relax but it certainly did magic.
Allowing myself to walk away from a screaming baby (and believe me, my baby could scream) saved me from possibly going crazy and doing things that might harm both the baby and I. Just a couple of moments to breathe gave me some time to calm myself down and to think clearly. Going back to the baby after that few moments of break, I was a lot more patient with the crying and was able to coax Phoebie better.
It’s okay to take a break
Some days, I look at the amount of chores piling up, and I look at Phoebie, I find it hard to breathe. Why is it that the list of things to do never seems to end? And I know I am not alone feeling like this because my friends who are also mothers will often talk about this.
Those who have more than one child probably feel it even more. When you finally settle one child, the other child is waiting for your attention.
Mums have to cook, wash, clean, pack, tidy, discipline, play with your child, etc. Basically, it feels like the moment I became a mum, I have no time for me.
After some time of going around like a headless chicken, I learnt something important. It is okay to take a break, and it is certainly okay to let some chores wait.
It’s alright if the laundry isn’t folded immediately.
It’s alright for the dishes to sit in the sink for a while.
It’s alright to pack the toys later.
It’s alright not to mop the floor every day.
It’s alright not to cook every day.
It’s alright to enjoy some ME time and take a break, and do something for me.
Taking a break may have different meanings for different mums. And the duration of the break is different too. The whole point is to do something that you enjoy and is not part of being a mum.
For me, these are some things I enjoy:
1. Watch TV
After Phoebie goes to bed at night, I like sit in front of the TV and channel surf until I find something that helps me relax. Usually it’s a funny talk show or drama. I know friends who indulge in some Korean or Hong Kong drama and just relax after a long day. (As a mum, probably every day feels like a long day.)
2. Sit down and do nothing
3. Start a hobby
After Phoebie was born, I practically gave up on my hobbies. It was after some time that I remembered how much I enjoyed knitting. Knitting, to me, can be therapeutic because I get to make things for people I love.
This was something I made for my friend’s baby.
Of course, I can only knit when Phoebie is sleeping. If she is awake while I knit, she will probably pull off all the yarn and play with the needles, which can be dangerous.
Another hobby I enjoy is reading. At this point, I love reading parenting books because they give tips and ideas and affirm my parenting efforts.
This is my latest buy and I’m about to find out how I can be a happy mum.
4. Play games
Playing games on my phone never fail to take my mind off things. I would also play games on my Wii when Phoebie was napping. Sure, I can’t play loudly because I don’t want to wake Phoebie up, but at least I get to enjoy the games.
5. Surf Facebook
That helps me find out what my friends are up to, and takes moments away from mothering Phoebie. Oh, and Facebook can sometimes be a good source of support when friends share articles about parenting.
6. Get a relaxing drink and put your feet up
Floral or fruit tea, that’s my pick.
Some people like coffee. The best part about getting a relaxing drink is, it can be done while Phoebie is playing with her toys. I like to take my drink and watch her play. At two and a half, she’s beginning to play pretend and watching her while enjoying my cup of tea makes being a SAHM little more relaxing. And this is a form of relaxation I can enjoy while Phoebie is awake.
7. Go for a walk
In the evening (and when weather permits), I like to put Phoebie in her SmarTrike and bring her for a walk at the park nearby. I get my exercise and I get to relax while Phoebie gets to look at nature.
8. Facial mask
Every now and then, I like to apply some facial mask and just relax. After the mask, the skin feels better, I feel better about myself and therefore feel more relaxed.
9. Chat with fellow mummies
Be it over the phone, via whatsapp or meeting up for coffee, a chat with fellow mummies is not only relaxing but can also be therapeutic
A lot of times, it’s through these little Starbucks sessions that I am reminded of how I am not alone in my challenges as a SAHM. Not only can my fellow mummy friends empathize but they can even share ideas with me and I get a new perspective to that particular challenge that has been bugging me.
10. Go on a date
After having Phoebie, my husband and I sometimes forget what it’s like to be by ourselves. It’s only in recent months that we have learnt to leave Phoebie with someone and go out on a date. It started with a trip to the supermarket, just the two of us. Sure, going to the supermarket isn’t anything exciting, but we started with that to help Phoebie learn to settle in with the people who would babysit her.
Last month, Ben and I went for a movie. Not that we didn’t like bringing Phoebie with us, but the movie we wanted to catch a movie was, to us, too violent for Phoebie. So off to couple time we went. It gave us time to connect and talk about things without having to be distracted by Phoebie.
Other than my own 10 methods to take a break, other people have different methods they may enjoy.
After a good break, I find myself a little more patient with Phoebie and enjoy her even more. So whatever method it is, as long as it doesn’t harm yourself or anyone else, go ahead and take a break. Trust me, breaks are what keep me sane.