Motherhood usually means kids first, partner second . . . and Mum third. One of the first realizations of motherhood is how once that baby is out of you and in the world, who you were as you once knew it changes. It's a hardcore identity struggle for some of us: how do we be "a person" yet be a mum too? For some, it's one in the same, but for most mums, just because we gave birth doesn't mean we have forgotten the interests and sparks around us that make us happy. There's this dialogue that if you don't take care of yourself and only focus on the kids, you're doing it wrong. Then there's the opposite dialogue: if you're enjoying yourself and taking too much "me" time, you're a crappy mum. How does one win?
If you're the mum who has stopped taking care of herself in order to focus on the kids, you're a great mum but a bad "you," and eventually that's going to trickle down to your kids. Your direction is right. You want to put the kids first, as it should be, but by putting yourself last, you're only going to end up burning out. You're not a crappy mum for wanting to be you. Dads are never questioned for the same behaviour — putting stock into themselves — so why should ums be held to a different standard? Are we set to be sacrificial lambs forever? Because that's not OK!
This is why you need a girls' weekend. Dates with the partner are nice. Quiet time with a cup of coffee and a book are relaxing. Time with your girls to let loose and be yourself, 100 percent? Priceless! Bonding with your girlfriends is a great way to de-stress and come back to your family a more refreshed mummy. Of course, you're sitting here wondering how the heck can I make a girls' weekend happen? It's not easy, especially if you're the mum of young children, but here are some tips and more hints on why you need to get it started with the ladies this Summer!
Lay Out an Itinerary
If you're worried that all hell will break loose when you're out with the girls, make it easy for him with a Mum-made itinerary. Break it down day by day, hour by hour if you have to, leaving everything from location websites, addresses, and directions in his inbox. If he's the type to panic, make a Google calendar for him with alerts to ease his mind. In other words, make the schedule foolproof for him, but remember that life happens and he will have to be flexible.
He's Not an Idiot
The father of your kids may not be able to use a crockpot, but he's not an idiot. The house may be a mess when you come home and your kids may act out with him, but he's the dad. He can do just fine on his own. Treating him as incapable isn't good for you, him, or the kids. Believe he can do it. In the worst case scenario, assign backup care like a grandparent in case of an emergency.
If Dad is truly nervous about being alone with the kids, acknowledge his feelings, but tell him how this weekend alone with the kids will boost his confidence as a parent, and that's a must!
It's Just a Weekend
You're not revoking your Mother card — you're just refreshing your "Mum browser." If your kids tend to not spend a ton of time with Dad or listen to you better, a weekend with Dad or with other family members can be a great way to increase bonding time with people other than yourself. Besides, it's just a weekend. You're not moving across the country.
A Much-Needed Break
There are so many things you can't do with your partner that you can do with your girls! Take the opportunity to chat about girl stuff that your hubby might puke if you brought up. Just like a man needs his man cave and bonding time, a weekend with the ladies can refresh your spirit.
Plus, there's someone or a few someones who could use a break from you: your kids! That's right, even kids tire from their mums. Who do they tend to give the most grief to? Mums, unless of course they're raised by a stay-at-home dad. Getting some time away will help the kids appreciate you when you come back. Your kids can never truly see all you do for them until you're not there doing it for them. And if you have siblings, remember how much you all got on each other's nerves? It's the same way with Mum and kids sometimes. A little break does everyone good.
Rekindle Time With Grandparents
If you're a single parent or your partner doesn't feel confident enough to do the weekend alone with kids, why not ask the grandparents to help? The kids would love time with Grandma and Grandpa! Sure, they'll get spoiled and probably eat junk food, but it's worth it just for some time with your girls. This is a great way to get in quality time, and what grandparents wouldn't cherish that with their grandkids?
But It's Costly
Set aside a little bit of money each week, even if it's just five bucks per paycheck. Plus, you ladies can split a room . . . it's for the weekend and a few cat fights or cramped living quarters never hurt anyone. If the funds are still low, try a trip in which you can cook most of your meals, or perhaps just schedule two day trips close by and sleep in your own beds — that way you can see the kids briefly and save some money while you're at it!
If you don't work, get creative in securing the funds. Instead of whining, use logic. State you will come back more eager to do your wifely and motherly duties and that it will make you feel mentally sane. I mean, what partner wants an insane partner? A supportive partner should want his wife to have some time to decompress.
Superbroke? One-Night It!
If you're really too broke to spring for a weekend trip, try taking just one night out instead of the whole weekend. It won't be as relaxing, but it will be just as fun and worth the extra few bucks.
You spend all year thinking about summertime and Summer vacations with the family, but it's rare that you'll actually take a minute to say, "Hey, when will I get some friend time in?"
Don't make that a rarity. Our friends tolerate so much more in us than our partners will, and yet they still love and know us like the backs of their hands. Time with friends is an absolute Summer must, and it might even make you feel younger — no plastic surgery necessary!