Taking a Break For My Kids, Not From My Kids

TakingTimeForMom

It was after a long couple weeks of 3 out of 4 kiddos sick, snotty noses, coughs, sneezes, not enough outside time and it was all catching up to me.

I was sick of my yoga pants and t-shirt covered in smears of snot. I made a decision that day to not let it overtake me.

After a long morning of busy toddlerness with the twinnies, I got them down for a nap and crossed my fingers that there would be no nap strikers that day. One of my toddlers seems to be on the verge of giving up ALL naps and I’m not sure Mama is ready for that!

I waited a few minutes to make sure they were both, indeed, going to nap. Success.

I stopped by our bedroom and glanced at myself in the mirror. Hair in a top not, snot smeared shirt and who knows what on my worn three days in a row yoga pants.

Ugh. I really did look like how I felt….and I didn’t like it.

I decided to change out of my clothes and put make-up on, regardless of how silly it might feel, since I had no plans to leave the house anytime soon. And as I pulled out my flat iron, put a little make-up on and changed into non snot smeared clothes, I began to feel so.much.better. And as I looked up and saw me, I could see the change in my entire being….I hadn’t done anything major, just jeans, a slightly dressier shirt than my usual snot smeared ones of late, and a little lip gloss. And earrings.

I breathed out a long breath and felt so much lighter. Even if it was for a moment of time. I felt like not “just mom”, but like mom in not yoga pants and a little bit of makeup (that covered over those dark-sleep-deprived circles…).

It reminded me of the time we finally got to go out on our first official date after we’d had the twins. I had begun to feel lost and completely overwhelmed by motherhood with four kiddos and two of them being infants that I was breastfeeding.

I felt nothing like the mom in the mirror with a little bit of make-up and a simple, clean shirt. I felt more akin to a dairy cow with two appendages constantly attached….oh, and two older kiddos I was trying to remember to actually get fed more than popcorn for breakfast.

{Yes, that actually happened. Popcorn for breakfast….more than once.}

And our date wasn’t anything major, it was to chuy’s for a late lunch. Not a quiet place, but somewhere taking all four kiddos to was just not gonna happen, and I’d been craving it and didn’t want it in a to-go bag.

We only had about 2 hours to get there, eat and get back to my nurslings twinfants. Part of that 2 hours being spent pumping in the car. Yep, hot date right there.

But before we’d even left to take the kids to the grandparents and even attempt a date, I was staring at the mom in the mirror, feeling awkward and unsure of what exactly I was supposed to be doing to get ready. Make up? Oh yeah….where is that again? Clothes….what even fits?

I rummaged through my clothes trying to find something that both fit and made me feel non-dairy cow-ish. I wasn’t having a successful time and I sat down on the bathroom floor and just started crying.

I felt silly, awkward and just not myself. I desperately wanted to spend time with my husband, but the effort it was taking was literally exhausting. And, it’s not like I had a ton of time to even get ready! Remember those nursing twinfants?

Yeah….

Thankfully, we were able to actually make it out the door, drop kids off and eat a mostly relaxing lunch.

It would be another few months before we’d actually make it out on a date again. That is another story in itself, but dates out are difficult to manage right now, so we try often to have dates at home….something else I’ll be talking more about in a future post…

Meanwhile, back to present day. Big kids at school, toddlers napping, I put on make-up and non-snotty clothes. I even flat ironed my hair a bit, just because.

Then I grabbed a cup of hot coffee and sat out on the front porch with my computer to get some things accomplished. I had my phone with the baby monitor on it, so I could hear the kiddos if they needed me.

It was only about 45 minutes total, but it was a glorious 45minutes. To myself.

And I think that is important for us mamas. It’s so easy to get taken over by the day in and day out mundane things. Not that yoga pants and t-shirts aren’t fabulous (because they totally are. I love them), but it matters that we try to keep hold of us too. Even if that means changing briefly out of the “mom uniform” and putting on a little lip gloss and drinking hot coffee on the front porch. Or scheduling a time for you to get out of the house, meet a friend for coffee, or simply go for a long walk or a bike ride, just you…do it.

Talk to your spouse about it, about how you feel. Work something out for you to be able to get away here and there, even if just a couple hours, one night a week.

It makes a huge difference, doesn’t it?

I love, love, LOVE my kiddos and my family. But sometimes mama needs a break. And not a break FROM my kids, but a break FOR my kids.

Making sure to take time for mom, helps me be a better mom for my kids. And a better wife to my husband.

So carry on mamas. You’ve got this.

Tell me….how do you take time for yourself? What does that look like for you?

Day Dates…..What You Have When Night Dates Don’t Always Work Well for Your Family

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Sometimes we go on “day dates”, the husband and I.

When the bigs are at school and it’s just the littlest littles with us. Sometimes we’re able to get someone to watch the twinnies, and sometimes they join us.

{The funny thing is, when you have four kiddos, only having two with you seems almost easy…sometimes…}

When you’re not fielding bigger kid questions and special needs situations and arguments and LOUDNESS with all four kiddos in the van all at the same time, well, it can definitely feel a little more relaxing!

And sometimes, when you have four kiddos, one with special needs and the youngest being twin toddlers, finding affordable child care can be difficult. And sometimes night dates just don’t work out as well….especially not in our current season. “Date Nights” can almost be more stressful than helpful and can be more time spent trying to get OUT the door than you actually spend time being out TOGETHER.

So, “day dates” happen. And they’re pretty awesome.

Like this last week, we ended up with an impromptu Day Date, the twinnies were doing great, we had some errands to run, and well, we decided to make it a mini date! Sometimes, that is just the way it works. And sometimes, the way it works, is the way it needs to happen to stay connected.

On our “mini day date”, we had to drop off some books to the library. We used the book drop off that’s on the outside of the library, but my littlest little knows that THERE ARE BOOKS IN THAT BUILDING. She loves books. LOVES them.

She didn’t stop asking “can we go get books?” for the rest of the morning and again after nap time.

{she really really really likes books}

So, after our “day date” of running errands and enjoying some quiet, the bigs arrived home from school. I decided to take the oldest (that also really really likes books and was wanting to go pick some up that had been reserved) and the youngest with me on what turned into a mama and kid date.

Two dates with my people in one day….well, three out of the 5 of them at least.

{don’t worry…the other two will get their mama time too. Promise}

I don’t always have “big black” with me (what I lovingly call my DSLR), but there were some moments I was quick to grab my phone and used it’s handy dandy camera.

{seriously…WHAT did we ever do without those? Oh yeah, we used point and shoots..and had a phone…and…too many other things to juggle and balance…}

The photos above captured two of my kiddos perfectly in their element. My oldest and my youngest. My book lovers.

I loved standing back and just watching them navigate the isles of books. M and I exploring some books for her, then going to find her big brother and her running to him when she found him.

Having four kiddos spanning a fairly wide range in ages can be crazy and difficult and chaotic at times, but days and moments like these bring it home and remind me just how amazing it all really is.