This weekend I wrote about mom burnout. You can read the story here: HOW TO CRAWL OUT OF YOUR MOTHERHOOD BURNOUT
It uses wisdom from psychologists Neil Brown, who wrote about parental burnout, and Colleen O’Grady, who wrote about ending girl drama. Both really point to moms not giving themselves enough me-time and being mentally and physically healthy.
So I asked moms on Facebook, what they are doing about finding some me-time. Here’s some of the answers they shared:
- “I booked my first yoga retreat … in Costa Rica! I take vacations since I can’t relax at home due to work expectations.”
- “I am planning two to three day trips every six weeks or so. Also acupuncture.”
- “I try to talk coworkers into a Friday afternoon beer before driving home. Sometimes I’m successful.”
- “I try to get a massage once a month — scheduled after the kids go to bed, so I don’t have mom guilt and can really relax.”
And then I got a lovely email from Laura Bond Williams, who had written about putting herself first by taking a dance class almost 10 years ago.
“I think as we get older and become parents, we need to stay connected to BEING ourselves. And when we know who we are and how to truly BE ourselves, the doing becomes clearer.
I can only offer my personal story as an example of this. … and I (wrote) an essay I wrote that Ed Crowell published in the Statesman almost nine years ago. It marks the very early days — the first 45 days! — of me becoming who I am today. It is something I did for myself — I took a dance class. And then another and another. But the personal trajectory was one of becoming. The woman who wrote the essay attached NEVER EVER imagined that she would dance in front of an audience, make a music video, teach a flash mob dance, and more — the list goes on and on. I NEVER COULD HAVE KNOWN.
If someone had told me what would happen when I took that first step to be me, that I would change my life forever, I could never have possibly grasped it. Multiple meltdowns and breakthroughs over the last 10 years taught me that we ignore our needs, our being, at our very own peril.
I can mark the EXACT moment in this journey when I went from doing (i.e., a dance class) to BEING (a dancer). It was January 2010, 17 months after this essay was published. It happened, and minutes later, I read this: “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” And I cried long, hard tears.
That same day I sent a note to my friend Maria Henson, who was my bicycling buddy for a couple of years before she left Austin for Sacramento. She wrote to me: “Know this, my friend: it IS real. The Chinese character for mind after all was heart. The heart knows. This is the stuff of magical journeys. …”
Fast forward 2017: This Friday night, I’ll lead a group of parents to perform a parent dance at a middle school dance spring show. I decided to make it happen, the school has never done it before. So we’re going to do two minutes of middle-aged hip hop while wearing old man masks to a mix of ’80s and ’90s pop songs.
It will be hysterical and goofy, on the surface. But I know one person will confide in me “I needed to do this. I’ve always wanted to or I used to dance but…” And she will be on a new journey. Hers won’t look like mine, but I know this will happen. She will be my starfish, the one I was able to help make her way back to the sea.
I ask you to share what you are doing to give yourselves a little me-time.