The Tired Working Mom’s Guide to a Little R & R

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After working a full time job that actually pays me a check every two weeks, and then coming home to my second full time job of mom, housewife, cook, laundress, and maid (for which I receive no pay other than sloppy kisses, sticky hugs and sweet cuddles), I have learned that it is important to find little ways to pamper myself.

I’m not talking about weekends in Vegas or a day at the Spa, although those would be great.  Most of us are watching our money a little closer these days, but there are things you can do on the cheap to still make you feel special.  Most days it is rush, rush, rush and sometimes you just need for the world to slow down a bit, or you need a way to shed the work day and tell your brain that it can relax now.  So, how do you do that?

1. Buy Some Pajamas

I read somewhere not that long ago many moms don’t even own pajamas.  They sleep in an old t-shirt or their husbands cast offs.  I don’t know why, but I find that information truly sad.  I love pajamas.  I mean I absolutely LOVE them!  There is something mentally wonderful in the act of taking off the clothes you have busted your butt in all day and putting on something incredibly soft and pretty.

I’m not saying you have to go all Fredrick’s of Hollywood, after two kids I doubt I could squeeze myself in anything they sell.  Not to mention, those hardly look comfy.  For myself I adore Land’s End’s T-Shirt Nightgowns and the matching T-shirt Robes.  I admit they are a bit expensive, which is why I usually buy them after Christmas when they go on clearance.  Plus you can almost always get a code for free shipping or 10% off your purchase which wipes out the shipping cost.  I get the above the knee gowns usually because I hate getting tangled up in the sheets while sleeping.  I wouldn’t say my jammies are sexy, but they are pretty, and definitely better than sweats and a ratty old t-shirt.  Other pajamas that are wonderful I have found are at Khol’s, the Simply Vera line of pajamas are made of cotton, but feel like silk.  And the awesome thing about Khol’s is they always have coupons and everything is always on sale.  Combine a sale with a coupon and you are good to go!  Check them out if you a currently pajama-less.

pajamas

2.  Audio Books

 I love to read.  During the summer vacation when I am off work I can read a novel a day.  But during the school year I am lucky to find time to read a single magazine article.  However, my commute to work is 30 minutes each way.  So for an hour a day I am in my car, five days a week.  I look at my car as my second home since I spend so my time in it.  I have my blue tooth, my beverage, and in the morning I like to listen to the radio or to talk radio, but in the afternoon, after listening to 30 six years olds yelling and talking all day I am ready for something more peaceful.  So I go to the library and check out audio books on CD.  They are free, which is always nice, and it gives my exhausted brain a chance to decompress and just listen to a story for 30 minutes before I get home and have to start a whole new round of child induced craziness.  Since I have to commute anyways, I might as well turn it into a “me time.”

3.  Pretty Pens and Paper

Most days I am writing something down constantly, whether it is writing down lists of must do things at home, taking notes on a students academic growth at work, or writing down ideas for my next blog entry so I don’t forget it.  Maybe it is because I am an elementary teacher and just love cute things, or maybe it is because I am a girl and like girlie things, but regardless of the reason, I crave cute pens and pretty paper.

Every year my school gives me three boxes of utilitarian Paper Mate blue and black pens to use.  Every year I give them to the kids to play with.  Then I go to Staples and buy myself a rainbow pack of gel pens.  My favorite brand is Pentel’s EnerGel Liquid Gel Ink.  The colors are bright and bold, the roller ball is liquid smooth, and the ink lasts a long time.  Most gel pens I find run out of ink in about two weeks.

As for paper, I find Staples always has fancy legal pads for a dollar or two with colorful prints on top and designs at the bottom in assorted colors.  For me it just lifts my spirits a little to be writing with a fancy purple pen on pretty pink decorate paper as opposed to a black ballpoint on white loose leaf.  Perhaps it is silly, and yes I know I am a nerd, but it works for me.

4.  Make Your Own Personal Treasure Box

 Some days just really suck.  Those are the days when you fell like everyone and everything is just here on the planet to drive you bat shit crazy.  There is a car accident on the way to work so your commute doubles.  At work everything you try to do fails miserably.  On the way home you stop at the supermarket to pick up things you need for dinner, only to get home and realize you forgot one of the things you needed.  Your kids pick tonight to be the night that they are going to fight with each other over the stupidest crap all night long.  It is at this lowest of points that all you want are your kids to go to bed and to not even have to talk to your husband because you are liable to say something really snarky at this point for no other reason than you are in a mood and you might as well put him in a mood to match your own.

This is the night that you need to have your very own treasure box filled with stuff JUST FOR YOU!  If you have an actual cute box of some kind, great, but for me my treasures are in one of my dresser drawers.  So what’s in my treasure box?

Samples!  Lots and lots of samples!  I love tiny things in tiny packages.  I think because it reminds me of the fun of traveling before I had kids.  (Traveling with kids is exhausting.)

I belong to several coupon sites which forever send me links to free samples.  So I hoard them when I get them and save them for a time they are truly needed.  Samples of fancy shampoo, conditioner, lotions and scrubs are among my favorites.  I also love to buy my makeup when they have the Free Gift with Purchase.  I make a quick stop at Clinique to get two lipsticks in my favorite colors and I go home with brand new eye-shadows, blush, mascara, wrinkle cream, and scrub.  What’s not to love?  Next, toss in all those tiny bottles of bubble bath, body wash, and scented lotion you get from people at Christmas time.

Samples

Also in there is scented candles, sometimes from Yankee candle, but most of the time it is just Glade apple scented ones I bought on sale at Target with a coupon.  Apple and almond are my favorite aromas.  Most other stuff is too strong for me and gives me a headache.  Finally, what goes better with a facial and a hot bath than a couple of magazines (Victoria and Travel Mags are a personal favorite), a hidden box of Godiva chocolate you bought after a holiday off the clearance rack, and a few mini bottles of liquor to mix up a quick cocktail.

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5.  Indulge in the Things you Did Before Kids

I think most moms have a habit of forgetting who they were prior to having children.  I know for a fact I am guilty of it.  You become so wrapped up in the day to day stuff and driving your kids here and there and making sure all their basic needs are met that you literally forget about the stuff that made you who you were.

I’m not talking about going clubbing, dancing all night long, and coming home at 4:00 in the morning.  Yeah, I did that in my 20’s, but I am not in my 20’s anymore.  It is a miracle these days if I can stay awake until 10:30.  I’m talking about the small stuff.

This revelation actually came to me one night while I was watching The King’s Speech.  The boys had gone to bed and Bill and I jumped at the chance on a Saturday night to watch something free of animation and rated higher than PG.

We were nearing the end of the movie where Colin Firth is about to make his big speech on the radio.  Suddenly Beethoven started playing.  The music really captured the moment of the scene, but it also captured me in a way I had forgotten.  As the music built and built to its crescendo a stirring was happening in my heart.  All through high school and college I was a bit of a nerd, okay I was a total nerd, but I loved classical music.  Beethoven, Mozart, Tchaikovsky, and Vivaldi were good friends of mine.  As I thought about it I realized that the last time I had played classical music was at my wedding five years prior when I marched down the aisle to PacBell’s The Canon.

The very next morning I went to iTunes and downloaded all my old favorites and now I play them often, especially when I am cleaning.  Did you know you can clean an entire house in the length of time it takes to play Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture?  The music gets the heart pumping and the extra oxygen just charges you up.  Try it, I swear it works!

After that I started to think about other things I used to love.  Poetry, drawing and  writing were among some of my passions.  I am still a crazy, busy, working mom, so I had to think small.  I don’t have time to write a book right now.  Maybe some day, but a blog allows me to express myself and is short enough for me to fit it in.  I’ll never draw a masterpiece (I don’t have that kind of talent) but a small sketch pad and some color pencils allow me to copy some small pictures or cartoons I find pretty.  Poetry is naturally small, so I can read a couple at a time and then think about them while cooking dinner.

These little ideas won’t take away all of your stress.  If they did I wouldn’t be a mommy who takes Zoloft.  But they can give you small moments of peace and enjoyment, and isn’t that what everyone says?  Make sure to enjoy the small things in life?

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Comments

  1. Number 5 really resonates. The stuff that made you who you still are, even if you have forgotten!!

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