Since my son was born in the spring of 2014, I have cut way, way down on drinking. It’s not that I don’t enjoy the occasional adult beverage, or that I have anything against alcohol, it’s just that the circumstances haven’t really allowed for it. You'd think that this would be problematic for someone who lives near an unspeakably high number of wineries and breweries, but it's not the worst thing in the world. Booze is great, but there are plenty of other options for stress relief for moms. (I know, try to contain your shock.)
In the early weeks, I was simply too tired and nursing too regularly to get my drink on in any capacity. In the later weeks…well, actually the whole tired/nursing thing was the situation for pretty much his entire first year. I was able to take sips of drinks my partner had, if the nursing schedule gave me room for it, but that was about it. And right around the time I started to get comfortable with the idea of pouring my own glass of wine after my son was down for the night, or of meeting some friends for happy hour, I was prescribed a medication that doesn’t mix well with alcohol.
Well, damn, I thought. And so here we are, months have gone by now and I'm getting kind of used to it. Do I miss it? Sometimes. I used to enjoy a glass of wine pretty regularly after work when I held office jobs. But have I found plenty of other things to do that take the edge off? Yes! And, funny you should ask, because here is a handy list:
Lie Down Somewhere (Anywhere, Really)
I’m particular fond of couches, but any surface will do. Many don’t consider the floor to be an ideal spot to lie down, however since it often allows proximity to my toddler, I sometimes prefer it.
Zone the Eff Out
This one doesn’t work so well when your little is still requiring your attention, however I recommend it for when you can take a short recess. You can try visiting a peaceful meadow, a relaxing hammock, or facedown on your bath mat behind a locking bathroom door.
Call Upon Your Partner, Or A Family Member, Or Someone Else At The Park Who Looks Kinda Trustworthy
Can your partner spare a few minutes? They can if they know what’s good for them.
Drink Something Out Of A Wine Glass
Even though I’m not drinking these days, I still use my wine glasses on a regular basis because it feels fancy, and it makes it easier to pretend I’m a princess attending a ball somewhere, and not a tired non-princess in jeans.
Text A Friend Who Usually Replies Quickly
You're not alone.
Get Out Of The House And Get A Change Of Scenery
I know that I’m reaching the point of no return when a walk to the playground or a trip to Target sounds rejuvenating, but sometimes a quick errand is enough to take the edge off.
Or Just Go For A Long Drive
We live in a part of the world with pretty easy access to nature, so it only takes me a few minutes to get out of the city and into somewhere pretty, green, and with an open road. Sometimes I strap the little into his car seat and bring him with me, sometimes he stays at home with his dad, but either way, I get some fresh air and grown-up music coming out of the speakers, and I’m refreshed.
Try Something New With Your Kid
It’s hard to feel frustrated when I'm watching his mind get blown.
Yoga (Or, As I Like To Call It, Faux-ga)
My experience with actual yoga is, um, limited. But come on, who doesn't love stretching? My kitchen is the perfect place for rando variations of whatever poses are deep and dusty in my memory, thanks to that one class I took in 2013. I'm sure that actual practitioners would be concerned for my safety. However, I'm committed to deep breathing and deep stretching in forty-second increments, so I just don't quit.
Put On A Movie
Ugh, we just started introducing TV to our toddler (I don't need your judgment), so I'm still grappling with the guilt surrounding this one. He's only kinda into screens so far, but I feel that it still needs to be said that the right show at the right time can bring you minutes — MINUTES! — of time to unwind.
Maybe Put On A Face Mask Or Lotion Or Something? I Don't Know.
Don't those have calming elements? My own skincare routine is pretty limited but I feel like I've seen a lot of references to these in magazines and on lady-centric TV shows.
Get A Massage
And by "get a massage," I mean "lie on the floor and let your kid climb on you."
Scribble With Crayons
I wanted to say "coloring" since that's a big trend for adults right now, but the chance that you will get to complete a page is actually pretty slim. Have you seen them? They're super-intricate. But, that doesn't mean you can't squeeze yourself onto a kid's chair and share your kiddo's coloring book for a few.
Do Whatever It Takes To Give Yourself A Break
If all else fails, I dip into the stash of popsicles we keep in our freezer and offer one to my kiddo. Not only do they soothe a number of mouth-related ailments that are likely to strike him at this age, but they can keep a toddler busy and occupied for at least six minutes, which is plenty of time to put your feet up, flip through a magazine, text your fellow mom friends about your garbage day, and to eat a popsicle of your own. We're moms, we multi-task.