As a mother, sometimes I feel like I'm living my very own personal version of the movie "Groundhog Day." I wake up and the rest of my day consists of dirty laundry, diaper changing, tantrum management, dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets and singing "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" for what seems like the millionth time. And then I wake up the next morning and it starts all over again.
My husband has many hobbies and he's very good at making sure he schedules time for most of them. About a year into being parents for the first time, I remember being angry at him for all the time he spent rock climbing, running or watching soccer. "All I ever do is be a MOM, all day and every day" I sobbed. He simply replied, "I make time for those things because they make me happy."
Since then, I've learned a few things that have helped me break away from feeling like my life should be titled, "Groundhog Mom."
Make "me" time a priority
When was the last time you took a timeout for yourself? "Me" time is very important for your health and happiness as a mother. Yes, we are moms. But we are also real and unique human beings with identities beyond just being a mom. When was the last time that you really felt like you? Go to the park alone and read your favorite book. Go to the spa. Buy a big fat juicy burger and take your time relishing every bite. Even if you only spend 10 minutes alone thinking to yourself, make time to rejuvenate yourself. Find something you are passionate about or that you enjoy doing and make time for it daily or weekly.
Give up the guilt
Remind yourself that taking a "time out" from your kids actually contributes to you being a better mother for them. The better you take care of yourself, the better you take care of others. I've found that when I have something to look forward to or somewhere to go I can clean my house in an hour or less. But on the days that I know I'm stuck inside all day it seems to take all day just to wash the laundry. If you struggle with guilt, the "Tripping Mom" blog offers 5 ways to help you quit.
Develop a talent
Have you always wished you could play the guitar? Would you love to be good at photography? Maybe you're the type that has always dreamed of juggling sticks of fire or dribbling two basketballs at the same time. Being a mom should not stop you. In fact, developing a talent might just be one of the best things you do. Teach your kids how to follow their dreams and be successful through your example.
According to the Mayo Clinic, Exercise does wonders for your mood, your energy and your health. Find a walking buddy or go to a Zumba class. If you can't get out, then find creative ways to exercise at home and make it part of your routine. Sometimes just having a dance party with the kids in your own house can lift the mood for everyone. Part of me has always wanted to run a half-marathon. After my first child was born I picked the one I wanted to do, paid the money (so I wouldn't back out), and had my husband help me work out a training schedule. A month into the training I discovered I didn't hate running as much as I thought. Crossing that finish line remains one of my fondest memories.
Ask for help
It's going to be very hard to take time for yourself if you aren't willing to ask others to help you out. Ask your husband to spend a night with the kids while you go out, or swap babysitting days with a neighbor so that you can attend an exercise class. If you have family close, let your mom or sister spend some time with the kids while you spend some time visiting an old friend or getting a manicure.
Take a vacation day
Full-time jobs offer vacation days for a reason, and motherhood is definitely a full-time job. Similar to writer's block, sometimes all it takes is a little break to provide the inspiration and success needed to accomplish your tasks.
There is no reason to live your life in "repeat" mode. Sometimes making a small change to your routine and incorporating some "me" time in your life is all it takes to get out of a rut.