Listen up Dads!
Let me preface this with I love my family, I love my husband, and I love my life. Being a mom is an unbelievable gift and honor (as well as being a wife to a wonderful man). BUT there are days I am tired and overwhelmed and just want to run away. If you saw my recent FB live video you know my birthday gift this year was the very simple. It was that gift of time from my husband. It was such a simple request but made such a huge difference in my mental state.
I’m currently a stay at home mom to a 3-year-old and a 7-month-old. I get to be the one to teach my children and see them grow every day. I choose this (along with my husband) and have made many sacrifices in order to do this and it is 1000% worth it.
There are days I wish I worked just to get an hour lunch to myself each day. I know that sounds awful and I feel bad even typing this but it’s the truth. And The Domestic Realist is only going to speak the truth to you, dammit!
So as my 30 something birthday drew closer I knew the only thing I truly wanted was a day to myself. It wouldn’t put any financial strain on my family or require much planning. Just having my husband take the kids to one of the grandparent’s house for the day. Which for the grandparents is a gift in itself!
In the end, I was able to have 5 hours to myself, which wasn’t a whole day but still longer than naptime. This block of time fulfilled me in many ways that helped me recenter and unwind. Which in turned helped me be a better person for my family (at least for a little while!)
The gift of time gave me the freedom to do the following:
Listen to whatever music I want
Now that R is 3 I have to be careful about what music we listen to since she is becoming a parrot. I refuse to listen to kids bop (because who really wants to listen to a kids version of an already shitty song?) and I want my children to have good taste in music. So during my reprieve, I was able to play any song I wanted while I worked and as loud as I wanted! While practicing my rap skills of course!
Take a long, leisurely shower without an audience
Showering with two little can be difficult most days.
Do I wake up early and do it before they wake up? No, because I am not a morning person and like sleep.
Do I wait until the afternoon when they are napping? No, because the hairdryer would wake them up from the nap and then everyone loses!
Which means I usually shower in the morning with both children in the bathroom. They may be playing but they are watching my every move through the glass doors. Not the most relaxing but it gets the job done. So having time to take a shower, listening to my loud profanity filled music, and shave my legs without cutting myself was the most magical shower I’ve taken in a long time. (With the exception of the shower I took after my C-section. That one made me feel like a human again).
Work without the fear of naps ending early or having to feed the baby
I am working hard to write as often as I can for you, my lovely reader! My work hours are when the kids are sleeping, which is never a guarantee. The baby monitor sound is like a ticking time bomb that haunts me as I try to work each day. Trying to get as much done as you can in a small block of time is HARD. By the time I figure out my best plan of action, my time is usually up. So to have time to work without interruptions or the fear of interruptions is the best gift I could have. Thank you, Husband!
Run out to for an afternoon coffee
I wanted coffee. I got in my car, drove to the store, ordered my drink, and drove home to drink it.
This alone was the most liberating thing I did during my “free” time. The effort that goes into a simple errand with kids isn’t usually worth it. And god forbid you have a craving for something during naptime. You are a prisoner in your own home at that time of the day. Instead of having to plan hours in advance for something I wanted like most weekdays, I was able to run out on a whim. No car seats to strap anyone into, just start up the car and go! FREEDOM!
Do some cleaning
Most days I have the best intentions of cleaning. Then reality hits and I run to meet some need of Kid 1 or Kid 2 and completely forget what I was even doing. My husband will often come home from work and ask why something is in a strange place in the house. I don’t always have an answer but it’s usually that I started something and wasn’t able to finish it. What started as cleaning may end up as a mess if I don’t complete the task. Having a block of time to do a little cleaning and focus on it made me feel effective. Even if it was just a few items!
Prepare some food
Lately, I’ve found it impossible to prep and cook a meal. Breastfeeding J at 5:30 each day means I have to either have it ready before I feed him or wait until Hubby gets home. This has made cooking a challenge and honestly I miss cooking. It’s one of my only hobbies. And not being able to do it without ignoring my kids to the point they are crying or acting out for attention doesn’t happen.
During my gift of time, I was able to think through a meal and prep it for Hubby to grill it when he got home. I finally felt like I could do the one thing he deserves from his stay at home wife.
The generous gift of time from my husband was a simple but HIGHLY effective gift that allowed me to take a deep breath and refocus. The best part was that it didn’t cost him a dime, other than the gas to get the kiddos to the grandparent’s house.
A simple act like this does wonders for a mother or father for that matter! Having the ability to think without interruption and focus on completing a task completely makes you feel like you have value. And it’s so easy as a SAHM, or a WAHM or a SAHWM or a working mom, to feel ineffective and without value on a daily basis.
The moral of this story is that if you aren’t sure what gift to buy your wife, save your money. Give her the gift of time. And if you get really generous, arrange for a block of time once a month! It may just change your home for the better! And possibly your marriage!
If you were given a day to yourself, what would you do? Dream big my friends!