Why it’s OK to be a MIA mom!

It finally happened. I hid out in my car for 30 minutes after running out for a quick latte. I sat there. I breathed. I kept my phone all to myself while reading articles and checking email.

I almost didn’t go back in the house.

I almost thought I could live happily ever after in that tiny tin box in my driveway, just so long as I had peace, quiet, and my body to myself.mommy break

It was the best half-hour of my life. There were no demands and I felt as if my existence and my time were my own. If I could have frozen the world right there I would have, if only for another 30 minutes.

You see, I love my daughter with my whole being. There is nothing that compares to the heart flutter that  follows every single one of her little smiles. But after 6 straight hours of hair pulling, accidental scratching, and very much on purpose head butting I get just a teensy bit irritated. Not to mention the ear-piercing screams that trill out every time I try to stop the stream of physical torment that flows from my 14 moth old.

It’s like something slightly twisted happened the second she became a toddler. As if overnight she gained this impeccable control over her body and her strong will took on a life of its own.

There is a certain pride that swells in me when I think of her strength and determination. I’m instantly transported to a daydream world where I’m the proud mother of the first female ambassador to Mars – or something equally as impeccable. But then I snap to and see her teeny tiny fingers under the bathroom door, and I realize that in this moment I have nothing to call my own.

And should I try for just a moment of solitude, her Machiavellian sense of humor slaps me

sure-as-shit back to reality.

Though I know this is all normal and developmentally appropriate behavior, I still can’t seem to reconcile my daughter’s newfound ability to consume my entire being with the fact that I have several passions and purposes other than being her mother.    

But as I sat there, seat slightly reclined, slow jams streaming out of my satellite radio, I saw her through the window. She was laughing and roughhousing with her dad and completely content.

It was then I knew I would go MIA a little more often. And here are 5 reasons you should too. 

Recharge for Round 2

It’s no secret our toddlers require a lot of energy. Whether they want you to constantly walk with them around the house, or they need continual supervision so they don’t injure themselves or others, there is very little rest for the mother of little ones.

It also becomes increasingly more difficult to slice out Mom Time during the day as toddlers drop down to one nap, which may or may not last more than 15 minutes. Along with walking and talking, toddlers also develop annoying superpowers like their ability to find you no matter how silent you try to be.

Because you’re unlikely to even pee alone, taking some time away from the house is a great way to recoup some of that lost energy. It doesn’t matter what you do, or how long you do it, but finding a place alone without having to answer to anyone but yourself will go a long way to help you get back in the ring for round two.

Search your soul

After a particularly trying day, it can be hard to remember why you wanted to be anyone’s mother in the first place. Running after and steadily disciplining another individual is not as glamorous as you imagined and can leave you feeling drained of your positivity.

Stepping away for a bit can really help you remember the great things about your family. You can use the space to step out of the toddler-mom gloom and  get back into a positive state of mind. With a little alone time, you can concentrate on your joy and find gratitude in the little things. It’s much easier to see what you’re thankful for when you’re not deflecting flying mega blocks.

Be more than just a…

It’s so easy to go through the motions of your day, complete tasks, and check them off your list.

Interactive play? Check, Try to fold laundry, but give up after baby dumps it out 5 times? Check, Put new diaper on naked toddler before he pees running down the hallway? Check.

Throw some jarred sauce on top of half-cooked noodles and call it gourmet? Check.

Sneaking out and going MIA will remind you that you are not your to-do list. Take this time to think about your wishes and dreams. What are your personal and professional goals? Where do you want to be in a few years?

Yes, you’re an elephant noise maker, dinner cooker, diaper changer, husband reminder…but you’re also so much more.

Engage your brain

Be honest with yourself. How many times can you watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse before you start to lose brain cells? And I’m sure repeating the same three words over and over (“cow,” “uh-oh,” and “dada” in our house) really helps you feel like an educated woman.

Getting out of the house can give you the space you need to engage your mind in something designed for a person over 2 years old. Think back to those goals you set for yourself. Take this time to strategize. Plan out what you need to do in order to make them happen.

Your critical thinking skills may feel rusty and take some time to kick in, but you’ll be amazed at how gratifying it can be to really concentrate on bettering yourself. 

Harness your health

When raising young kids it can be hard to prioritize yourself. You often forget to eat and when you remember, you end up stuffing a handful of Cheetos and a half-eaten pickle in your mouth and calling it good. 

Though this may sustain you in the short run, neglecting yourself can have a damaging impact down the road. It may seem ludicrous to think you have the time or energy to get in shape right now, but there really are little changes that will go a long way in boosting your health.

Sneak away and go for a quick walk around the block. Go solo or knock on the neighbor’s door and drag her with you. Head to the gym and take a quick half-hour spin class. You don’t have to train for a marathon to do something good for your body.

Now I hear you over there tsking your tongue and saying “yeah right, like I have time for any of this in real life.”

But that’s exactly my point.

Us moms? We’re over working ourselves and sacrificing so much for the benefit of our babies. It really is OK for us to have a small slice of time to call our own. To concentrate on our desires. It may not be luxurious. We may not recoup in a 5 star spa, but we really do need  to sneak away and find ourselves a little place and space of our own.

After all, there’s always the car.

~Marissa Lawton

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