If you missed my earlier posts here and on Facebook, I’ve been on a “momcation” for a week+. How amazing is that? I caught up on sleep, or not… stayed up late, or not… shopped, read, wrote, kept a clean house almost without trying, ate my weight in junk food… in short, did whatever I pleased, whenever I pleased (when I wasn’t at work, that is).
And, this is it! I worked all weekend, and my boys are home. After my 10-day momcation, here’s the takeaway from what I’ve learned.
- Eating almost nothing but junk food makes me feel HORRIBLE. I hate to say it, but it’s true. I even have some of it left over because I had to break down and eat fruits and veggies. Sad. It is decidedly due to this fact that I agreed to my co-workers’ request for me to join their Whole 30 food challenge in July (groan). More on that mess later.
- When I’m by myself, I don’t sleep as much as I thought I would. That was a crazy realization, since pretty much all I’ve thought about for the past 3.5 years is sleep, sleep, and more glorious sleep. But when I get the chance to sleep for a week? I don’t want to waste my time, because there is so much else I want to do with it! My day sleeping after night shifts was much improved, however.
- Introvert and homebody that I am, I still need to make time for regular social interaction, because left to my own devices, I will turn into a crazy cat lady. The cats must think so, too, because they have turned into crazy cats this week.
- When you send the good sunscreen with your kids and want to go to the pool, don’t dig up some from last year. Go out and buy new. Trust me on this one.
- I felt like I had more time to stop and enjoy the simple things. For instance, I discovered that we have a little bunny living under our deck and watched him for a good long while. That is good news because we had thought there was a possum there!
- All of the things on my to-do list to enrich my body (pedicure, haircut, massage, yoga) got pushed aside for things to enrich my mind (reading, writing, research). My takeaway from that is that although I may think mostly about rest and sleep and pampering when in the trenches of baby care, my core person craves more intellectual stimulation on a daily basis. I’ll take that to heart and find better ways to incorporate it into my daily life.
- We truly are a nation of consumers. I had anticipated (when I emptied the trash and recycling at the beginning of the week) that I would not add much to it, being here on my own. But, I had to empty them again at the end of the week! Time to evaluate that more and find ways to reduce our waste.
- I used to say that I have no idea what I did with all of my free time before I had kids. I won’t say that anymore. I can keep myself quite busy!
- The ideal length of time for a kid break (depending on your work schedule, of course) is 4-5 days. Although I still accomplished a lot after that and enjoyed my time, it was counter-balanced by missing my husband and kiddos terribly. It doesn’t help that they are too young for daily FaceTime contact. The toddler is too busy, and the baby just cries. I didn’t want to put him through that, so I had big-time baby withdrawals. On a similar note, the kids will be okay. There is so much mom-guilt in our culture and self-imposed guilt that we have to be 100% present with our children 100% of the time. It’s not feasible and not healthy. If you have someone who is willing to occasionally watch them safely, it’s okay. In fact, they will have a grand time and grow in their own emotional development.
- Reunions with a baby are THE SWEETEST! It reminds me of the first shift I went back to work after he was born. He was asleep when I came home, but my husband brought him in to me when he woke in the night. He laughed and grinned from ear to ear, looking back and forth between me and his daddy, as if to say, “Thank you, Daddy– you did it! You brought her back!” Now 14 months old, the reaction was different, but even more fun to watch. He was SO EXCITED to be back in his home… but wasn’t quite sure what to do with me for an hour or so. 😀
The final takeaway? Self-care is vital to our mental health. But we may not need as much of it as we think we do! It will take some creative planning, but self-care can and should be worked into our daily schedules. This huge block of “me time” is not something that is usually possible, and I am grateful for it. It has taught me what is important to me at my core, and has given me some new tools going forward. Relaxed and rejuvenated, I am fully ready to embrace the beautiful chaos of mommy-hood once more.
What would you do with “unlimited” time to yourself? Comment below!