Because I went from being pregnant, to nursing, to being pregnant and nursing, to being just pregnant, and now to nursing again, I am currently at 2 2/3 years without having a “normal” hormone level. I’m not really sure if there will be long-term repercussions of living like this (and I have no idea how Michelle Duggar has survived!), but I can say that I struggle daily with my identity as “Christine” and not just my identity as “Mommy” or “housewife” or “maid.” So sometimes, no, often times, I find my sanity comes from doing things that I did before kids. I must say that these little mini-breaks are my current life preserver.
Today’s time to myself was a visit to the salon for a cut and color. There is something super-restorative about having someone else figure out how to make you look amazing and then do it for you. I have the BEST stylist in the world (Holly, you rock!), and every time I get my hair done, I leave feeling like it has never looked that good. And the process – OH THE PROCESS – of getting a head massage, and sitting and reading (yes, US Weekly or People, and no, I’m not sure why because now it seems like every page is full of “stars” I don’t know), or sitting and knitting (which I also did), is pure bliss. Someone else was feeding and playing with Zach. Someone else was entertaining Eliza’s constant chatter, demands for attention, and temper tantrums. And I was doing … whatever I wanted to do. It’s a flashback of what life was like before kids, and I would be institutionalized if I didn’t do this. Some women have endless supplies of God-given mommy patience; some get medicated; I get a babysitter.
The point is that we all have to find what makes us tick and then make those things priorities. I try to schedule a hair appointment for every 9 weeks, get regular pedicures, and go shopping with a friend once in a while. But more often, I find respite by getting to the grocery store alone, or taking a bath at night, or having Greg take the kids for 2 hours while I run needed errands by myself. This weekend, I’m taking a trip to visit my college roommate while Eliza stays back with Greg. We’re taking a cooking class and going to tea, and having a babysitter for Zach while we do these things. And it is going to be magical.
I know that I am a better mother when I get breaks from my kids. My life changed forever nearly two years ago when Eliza was born, and though my hormones might not be the same (and I probably am a different person now), I take every chance to return to “normalcy” that I can. What do you do?