I recently had some evenings away from my two dear children thanks to Daddy O. We typically take turns to make sure we each have an opportunity to get out of the house to have some time to ourselves. This could mean working out, playing in a sports league, or meeting up with friends….all good things!
After recently ruining the relaxation and peacefulness of my “away time” upon my return home, I feel compelled to record some rules for a parent’s night out, so I hopefully will NOT break them again.
1. Be sure to leave and don’t return until AFTER bedtime. As I mentioned above, I returned from a massage appointment (awesome Mother’s Day gift certificate) about 15 minutes too early. BIG mistake! Instead of staying in my relaxed bliss, I was jolted into “mom mode”
helping with dictating the cleaning-up process and getting annoyed by over-tired bedtime antics of my nearly 2 and 3.75 year old. I inserted myself when I didn’t need to.
2. You can’t treat your spouse like a babysitter. This is FREE labor – and it should be one of love (well, most of the time anyway). Daddy O. may have his own ways of doing things, and that’s okay as long as the end result is the same: sleeping kids when I return home.
3. Don’t ask too many questions. Again, if the house is quiet, and the kids are asleep, just go with it and ENJOY! I think a more open ended question – “how was your night?” may be better received.
4. Lower expectations on the “honey-do-list.” Based on how post-dinner / bedtime go, additional items on the honey-do-list may not get done. I’ve learned to lower my expectations, and be pleasantly surprised when something IS done.
5. Just breathe. If it appears the night at home didn’t go as you would have hoped, just pause and take a breath. This is kind of hard when I am sort of a control-freak, or think MY WAYS are simply better. I’m working on this, trying to learn to just let some things go.
What are your “rules” for your night’s off from parenting? How do you carve out time for yourself to recharge?
Since I’m approaching my three-month mark for my part-time job, I thought I’d share a kind of progress report on how we’re all faring.
Work continues to go well, though I’m learning what I can realistically achieve in two days with a more realistic part-time mindset instead of the full-time one I previously had. I certainly am NEVER without something to do, which is good, since I like being busy. However, I do not like busy just for busy’s sake, and fortunately that is NOT the case in my job. I feel like I am well-connected to the overall goals and am developing marketing strategies to help support those goals (while still completing every other marketing task that falls under those strategies too). Overall, I feel like I am making important contributions that are making a difference. Did I mention my days go by very quickly?!
Preparation is KEY
Part of making my mornings and evenings run smoothly entails being organized and using time wisely, as I mentioned in transition back to work. Sometimes things do NOT go according to plan, as is commonplace in parenting. Today, for example, I thought my alarm didn’t go off because I woke up 20 minutes late, when in fact it DID go off, but someone turned the volume dial WAAAY down, so I couldn’t hear it. I also FAILED on my own “getting ready the night before” tip on Monday morning, when I realized I had a car seat in the trunk, and not properly installed in the backseat. I was a little upset and frustrated, but I figured out how to install it, and only ended up being a few minutes late for work. Summer weekends are BUSY, and I’ve been exhausted after very fun and full days, making it easier to just go to bed verses taking 10 minutes to prep everything.
Lesson: Take your own advice! If you don’t plan in advance, you just have to suck it up and make it work.
Work mode to Mom mode
After taking in the wonderful comments on my work mode to mom mode post, I have slowly become better at being more relaxed during my mom mode time. Tonight was a pretty good example of our standard evening – heated up leftovers for dinner, had to reprimand the kids for chucking baby carrots, clean-up, do dishes, let kids play, give daughter a time-out for playing with a wire hanger, bath time, watched So You Think You Can Dance with the kids, then stories and bed. Now it’s finally my time to sort laundry, do some cleaning, blog and relax. AHH!!!
Some lessons learned:
- Don’t always wear dry-clean only work clothes, or try to change out of them before eating dinner. Today my machine washable dress pants were hit with baby carrot and applesauce.
- TV / Shows on Netflix help buy time when I need to get dinner ready, or just some peace!
- Every night does not need to be “perfect,” so I try to take it as it comes and get through the mis-behaving and savor the sweet moments with my kids.
Parents – what do you do to make your weeknights easier? I’d love to read your comments.
Disclaimer – no, I am NOT pregnant.
I did, however, learn over the weekend that you can teach anyone (in my case my husband) how to walk like a pregnant woman. Without further ado, here’s the quick go-to guide:
How to Walk like you’re Pregnant
- Procure a pair of snowshoes.
- Find a snow covered area for hiking.
- Awkwardly bend over and strap on snowshoes.
- Point toes slightly out to the side and begin walking.
- For added effect, place a 40 – 60 lb. backpack on frontwards.
- Keep walking for at least an hour for the full “pregnant lady” simulation.
This effective how to guide will soon replace the common “put on the weighted boobs and baby bump” that my husband and I experienced in our birthing class. He wore it for a full two minutes – just like the other dads, and just like the other moms, I laughed and shook my head, thinking, “You have NO clue what this is like.” Snowshoeing was spot-on for the pregnant waddle.
Though we’re standing still in the pictures below, trust me, we were both waddling. The pictures were taken in Door County, Wisconsin at Peninsula State Park. This is otherwise known as the “thumb” in the mitten shape of the state of Wisconsin. Daddy O. and I enjoyed a little kid-free weekend getaway (yes, this IS late March in Wisconsin). Since we live here (and plan to for years to come), we are deciding to embrace winter and get into more outdoor activities, making snowshoeing a great choice! The park was so peaceful and quiet – a stark contrast from the warmer summer months.
Plus, Door County is a cherry lover’s paradise. We indulged in cherry stuffed french toast, cherry juice, cherry pastries, cherry soda / wine…it seems the cherry options are endless! My husband LOVED it!
All in all it was a beautiful, relaxing, and delicious way to recharge – something all parents / couples need from time to time. What do you like to do on your getaways?
How else do you simulate pregnancy to help others understand how it feels? Do you have any suggestions other than snowshoeing?