Little folks are awesome. I get to wake up next to a sunny baby girl to the sound of our three-year-old boy singing the Zulu chant from the beginning of The Lion King’s Circle of Life Song at the top of his lungs. It is indeed a splendid life. But, as wonderful as young motherhood is, there are some (many) moments of insanity exacerbated by never having a single moment to myself.
After our firstborn was born, I was entirely unprepared by the reality of never getting to be alone. “Can’t I just sit BY MYSELF for five minutes to read a book and drink my coffee?!,” I pleaded hysterically. And I’m quite a people person so I can only imagine how draining it is for introvert mamas who really need alone time to recharge. I have discovered that adding some ritual down time to my days and weeks really helps me maintain some semblance of sanity. A few pages of good literature is also crucial for my well-being and happiness so I’ve figured out a few times to sneak that in as well. Our society is so focused on being productive that often taking the time to just SIT AND BE is considered lazy and followed by mama guilt. I probably swing in the opposite direction of productivity. My house might be a disaster, but boy, do I know how to relax! Mamas, here are my suggestions for implementing daily rituals of calm so you don’t lose your mind:
Nap Time (Snuggle and Rest): I know many mamas use naptime to do everything from prepping dinner to cleaning the baseboards. If that works for you, great, but for me, being a rested, cheerful mama takes priority above having an immaculate home. After reading some books with the toddler and tucking him in for nap, I usually nurse the baby down and snuggle her, then sleep, read, or listen to an audiobook with headphones as I lie next to her. By the time I hear the dulcet tones of my three-year-old saying, “I toooook a goooooood naaaaaap, Mama!” I’m energized and excited to spend the afternoon with him instead of getting grouchy and losing steam before dinner even gets started.
Tea Time (Create Beauty and Calm): How very Downton Abbey of me, don’t you think? But really, the ritual of drinking a hot beverage (or iced in the heat of summer) is so therapeutic. After everybody naps I make a cup of coffee or tea. It makes me calm and gives me a mood lift for the afternoon. Often, my toddler wants to participate and I help him make blueberry herb tea. He feels mighty fancy and I get to sit for a minute while we drink our treats and the baby plays. I often pull out a lovely china cup (for me, Benjamin has to stick with a mug) because why not, amirite? See how pretty? Don’t you feel better already?
Bath Time (Read and Relax): Especially in late pregnancy and early post-partum, I love to take a bath before bed. Often, the kids will be asleep or settling down for the night and Daniel will listen out for them so I can be ALL BY MYSELF for 20 minutes, hot tea or a cocktail on the edge of the tub and book in hand. Of course, mama taking a bath seems to have a magnetic draw and all littles will emerge from bed to go potty as soon as they hear the bath water running. So, be prepared to be interrupted by a little voice on the other side of the shower curtain saying, “Are you reading in there? Don’t drop your book in the water, silly Mama!”
What daily rituals do you have that help you keep your sanity?