My son is an only child, and I know he often gets bored and lonely hanging out with me all day, so I try really hard to keep him entertained and give him opportunities to play with other kiddos. Luckily, we live really close to several cousins who are close to his age, and he LOVES playing with them! I also try to get us out of the house for mommy-son dates as often as possible—even if that "date" just includes running errands together and buying a treat at the grocery store. I've found that we are both sooooooo much happier if we get out of the house for some fresh air, fun, and to spend time with friends. But I've also found that we are both happier if I get out of the house alone every once in a while for some much-needed time with my friends.
We hear the phrase "it takes a village" ALL the time, and while I think our family members, friends, school teachers, and others in our community can have a profound effect on our children, I also think they can have a profound effect on our happiness as mothers. I think this is especially true for those of us who are stay-at-home moms. This is one of the main reasons (other than financial reasons) that a lot of moms go back to work. They need a break from being home all day, and they find that they are happier moms when they get a consistent break by working outside the home. But what about those of us who have decided (and are financially able) to stay at home with our kids? Even though moms who work outside of the home obviously need time with their friends, I think it's especially important for stay-at-home moms to find an outlet and to make sure we make time for ourselves and our friendships, even when life is crazy. Or maybe especially
when life is crazy. Here are a few of my favorite things to do when I need a break from the everyday routine:
I had the opportunity to leave my little boy with my husband and spend some much-needed time with a group of girls a couple times this week, and it was SO much fun! Even though I wasn't gone very long, those few short hours laughing and relaxing with people that just "get" where I'm at in life and how I'm feeling was so, so nice. And I came home feeling so happy and so ready to jump back into my everyday routine...and to plan my next girls' night.
I've noticed that moms often make friends with other moms who have kids that are the same age. I think this is especially true when our kiddos are younger because we are more involved in their lives and their play dates. Even though chatting with other moms during a play date isn't quite the same as a girls' night, this is a fun, easy way to take a little break! And it's really a win-win because you and your kiddos get a chance to hang out with your friends.
Find a Hobby
As fun as it is to get out of the house and spend time with friends, sometimes breaking out of your everyday routine only needs a guest list of one person...you. Whether it's reading a book, going for a run, taking on a DIY or craft project, or even sitting down to watch an episode of your favorite tv show, I am much happier when I take little breaks from my to-do list to do something I LOVE. And I've also found that some of these hobbies have helped me make or strengthen friendships as I've hosted or attended book clubs, craft nights, or other get-togethers with people who share the same hobbies.
It doesn't need to be anything elaborate. I just need to make sure I'm getting out of the house regularly, or that I'm taking the time to do something I love! Whatever it is that you love to do, I know you'll be a happier and more patient mom if you can find a few seconds to yourself. I know I am! I also know that absence makes the heart grow fonder, and when I return home after an hour or two away from my little man, I just can't wait to see him and wrap him in my arms. When I got home from my most recent girls' night, I snuggled that sweet baby (a four-year-old is still a baby, right?), held him tight, kissed his cheeks, and told him how much I love and missed him. After all, he really is my whole world.