I’ve got a lot to say here, partly because I’m a mom, and partly because I like to relax. Since I’ve had kids though, finding time to unwind is like putting on makeup and blow-drying my hair for a night on the town — it ain’t gonna happen. Heck, I barely find time to brush my teeth and take a shower. So I asked the experts — other friends who are moms — what they do to relax. Here are some very good suggestions that I just might try myself:
1. Get up 15 minutes early. I know the last thing you want to do at 6 a.m. is jump out of bed and make yourself a cup of coffee, but that’s exactly what I’m telling you to do. If you’re lucky enough to live in a house with kids who wake up at 6:30 or later, this is a realistic option. Before the kids wake up, go brush your teeth, get yourself dressed and drink a cup of coffee while you’re checking your Facebook feed. I don’t know about you but I always feel like I’m dead last in a race when I wake up in the morning — possibly because my kids have all gotten up before me and have already emptied out every toy bin onto the floor of their room. I don’t get how children who fight so much between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. all of a sudden are the best of friends at the crack of dawn. But getting up a tad earlier than you’re used to can help you not start the race of the day in last place — heck, it even gives you a head start.
2. Turn on “Dora.” TV is not going to hurt your kid, but you just might if he's been having an all-out temper tantrum on the living room floor for the last 20 minutes. So put on a show for him, get a cup of coffee for yourself and join him on the couch. Don’t go crazy with this one — it might be tempting to leave the TV on for two hours straight (I’m not going to lie — I’ve done it a time or two … or three). Try to resist the urge and relish the 24 minutes that one Netflix or on-demand show gives you.
3. Drink a glass of wine at the end of the day. At some point, whether it be at 7 p.m., at 9 p.m., or after midnight, your kids will be in bed. Depending on the type of person you are, you may need to relax for a few minutes before you clean up the kitchen from dinner. If you’re like me, you need the kitchen to be clean before you can kick up your feet. This doesn’t mean it has to be spotless, but it does mean the dishes are in the dishwasher and the meat sauce is sufficiently scraped off the table. For 15 minutes, in between the kids' bedtime and your bedtime, sit down with a glass of wine. I would say to watch television, but to be honest, once I’m sitting in front of the TV, I can’t physically pry myself off the couch. Instead, why not call a friend? While you sip your wine, you can blow off some steam, or better yet, be a listening ear for her to blow off some steam. Either way, you’re bound to feel a bit more relaxed than when you started — either from the wine or the girl talk.
4. Take a brisk walk. Don’t feel guilty about not getting to the gym for a full workout — studies show that every minute we spend exercising is good for our body. So bundle the baby up, buckle her in the stroller and be off. The walk around the block will be good for both of you, especially if you’ve been stuck in the house all day. I like to think of fresh air just like food and water — we all need our daily amount in order to survive.
5. Turn on some music and dance. This one you can do when you’re home with your kids during the day or when you’ve got a few moments to yourself. Busting a few moves is not only good exercise; it can also help you cheer up. There is nothing like a good boogie around the kitchen while you’re blasting some tunes. Seriously. A few of my favorite tunes for the job: "Suddenly I See" by KT Tunstall, "I Gotta Feeling" by the Black Eyed Peas, and Backstreet Boys’ "Just Want You to Know."
Whatever method you choose, finding time to relax is essential — and it’s a great way to ensure you don’t fall off the deep end before 7 p.m. Now I think I’ll go pour that glass of wine.