Archived Story

Getting away from it all

Published 6:37pm Tuesday, March 6, 2012

I always thought when all of the kids were in school things would be so much calmer. I would have time to catch up on all the things that I didn’t have time to do when the kids were little. Well, yes and no.

I had someone ask me one time what was I going to do when the kids all got older. How would I ever cope with them becoming more independent and not needing me as much? This well meaning friend suggested that I carefully watch for signs of depression, because it was bound to happen as my children “didn’t use” me as much. Thus far I’m still very much in use.

I’ve always said a good mother works herself out of a job, so far I still haven’t reached the “unemployment” part of motherhood … yet. Although my children are actually school-age, I still seem to have plenty to do and there are times, especially, when we have had several sick at a time, that I really want just to lock myself in the nearest closet. However, that really isn’t a viable option, not if I still want the house to be standing, everyone to be alive, and everyone to get everywhere they need to be.

Quite a few years ago, after the birth of our second child, John and I had to come up with a plan to keep our sanity. That’s when we discovered “mini-vacations” and I mean mini as in miniscule. We had to have some time alone or we were going to go crazy and/or end up in divorce court. This is when we came up with the idea of “mini-vacations.”

I don’t mean vacations in the sense of going somewhere, but vacations in the sense of getting away from it all at least mentally. Believe it or not you can “escape” without ever leaving your house. The trick is to find something you enjoy doing and then find time to work it in even for a few minutes. You’ll be amazed at how even 10 or 15 minutes doing something you enjoy will refresh you.

Let me give you some examples of what I mean. Nancy Zieman of the PBS program “Sewing with Nancy,” has a wonderful book called “10 20 30 Minutes to Sew.” She also has one about quilting. She has projects divided up into short segments to help you fit them into your schedule. If sewing is one of your methods of escape, Nancy’s books would probably work well for you.

I love to read. Unfortunately, I can get very engrossed in a book and seriously loose track of time. My solution is to set a timer or, when the kids were younger, I would allow them to watch a program (generally 1/2 hour) and while they watched TV I would read my book. This worked much like a timer, because when the show went off my little “alarms” would let me know my time was up.

When hubby took the job here in Alabama, I had to stay in Kentucky with the six kids ages 4 months to 14 years. Can we say “stress?” My wonderful perceptive kids discovered quickly that Mom’s stress level was directly proportional to Mom’s crabbiness.

One day had been particular bad, the baby had cried all day due to a terrible ear infection, the van had a flat tire, the dishwasher decided not to clean the dishes (possibly due, no, definitely due to the broccoli someone fed it), the real estate broker called and asked to show the house, and hubby called to say he was going out to eat with a friend (yippee for him).

Well, my perceptive kids smiled and said, “Mom, why don’t you take a nice hot bath? The baby’s asleep and if he wakes up we’ll come get you.” I said something like, “No, I’ve got things I’ve got to get done.” My wonderful, blunt 14-year-old responded with, “Listen you’re a witch. Please go take a bath before you go postal!” Well, since she had put it that way, what could I say? I went and took a nice calming bath. It’s amazing what 15 to 20 minutes in a hot bath will do to improve my attitude.

Of course, everyone has their own way of “relaxing.” Some enjoy a long walk, others enjoy books, sewing, crafts, building, weight lifting, aerobics, movies etc. The more stressed my Mom is the more she cleans. Now, that would be handy!

I know a single Mom that trades time with another single Mom. Their kids attend the same day care and twice a month they take turns taking each others children for several hours. This way at least once a month they each have several hours to themselves.

When we lived in Missouri I had a friend that started walking in the mornings before her husband and children were up. She borrowed cassette tapes (before CDs) of sermons, Bible studies, and praise worship from the church library. She said she always felt renewed and refreshed after her morning walk with God.

My point is with a some creativity you can find time for yourself. You may not be able to manage it everyday, but a couple times a week works wonders. Every family is different. I hope this gives you some ideas to help you get started having those “mini-vacations.”

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