As a mom who works full-time outside of the home, finding ways to unwind after a particularly long week is absolutely essential. When moms shared their favorite ways to unwind with me, I realized two things: we all have our preferred methods, some healthier than others, and I need to get back to the gym. I used to love going to the gym; it was an hour to myself during which I forgot about all of my worries and just concentrated on keeping the right form and sweating out all of those extra calories. Then, when I started a new job, scheduling gym time became damn-near impossible and, as a result, actually caused more stress than it relieved. So, for better or worse, I took a step back and eliminated it. Now I unwind by just watching my favorite shows with either a glass of wine or a cup of freshly brewed coffee.
Last week seemed like a week straight from the depths of hell. I don't know if it was a full moon or what, but my students were slightly losing their minds, I was overwhelmed with the massive amount of work I had in front of me, the quarter was over, grades were due, and we had two faculty meetings. It was one of those weeks. When I came home from work on Friday night, after a much needed Happy Hour with my coworkers, I drank a glass of wine and went straight to bed. I couldn't handle life at that very moment and needed to just close my eyes and shut everything and everyone out. I felt awful not hanging out with my kids or my husband on a Friday night, but there was nothing I could have done to relax other than going straight to bed.
In a society where women feel constant pressure to be perfect, being able to actually unwind sometimes feels nearly impossible. Even when I take some time to myself, I feel such guilt, and I constantly think about all of the things I should be doing instead, like laundry, or making dinner, or cleaning up, or spending time with my children. Every time I do something for myself, I feel like I am taking away from my family, and that feeling never really seems to go away. But me time is absolutely necessary and if you need tips of how to unwind, check out what these moms had to say:
"Since the birth of my second, my me time is working out. Not exactly unwinding, but I cut that time out for myself, and don't allow anything to interrupt it."
Writer's note: I really need to get back to the gym.
Writer's note: Yas, girl.
"I love to watch senseless shows like, The Real Housewives. No thinking involved and I can just unwind."
Writer's note: I'm more of a sitcom-type of girl. Love me some hilarious television.
"Not even a little ashamed, but Target and Costco trips alone are heaven. Also doing something just for me (hair, nails, going to the gym), with a pit stop for coffee on the way. And awkwardly, organizing helps me unwind, no kids and no husband in the house just me and decluttering."
Writer's note: I love decluttering. It's one of my favorite ways to zone out.
"A bath, candles, and music are good to try to unwind. And girls nights out for a chat and a laugh."
"A trip to Barnes and Noble and a cup of cappuccino does wonders for me."
Writer's note: I forgot all about this. Used to be my favorite way to unwind.
"I look forward to spending time with friends. It's good for the soul. Eating, drinking, laughing, and even, sometimes, crying. And, if all else fails, there's always Ativan.
Writer's note: Girl's night out always does the trick.
"A trip to the gym or a long walk with the best child (the dog) helps my metal health tremendously."
"Marshalls, HomeGoods, or T.J.Maxx with a cup of coffee. Even if I don’t need anything, spending 90 minutes browsing housewares somehow restores my energy. There is something soothing about textiles and knickknacks. Or maybe it’s the ability to imagine a home with cashmere throws and mirrored dressers, and not piles of toys, toddler art, and the mystery stains of dinners past."
Writer's note: Yes. Did I write this?
"Cup of coffee or glass of wine (depending on time of day) on the couch under a cozy blanket."
"Playing a video game without my kids."
"Shopping at Tjmaxx or Homegoods with a Starbucks."
"I drink coffee and scroll through Twitter. Also, Pilates."
Writer's note: Twitter does not help me unwind, but Pilates does.
"Meditation, music, wine, and Amazon."
Writer's note: I can spend an hour window shopping on Amazon.
"Massage, watching mindless TV without anyone interrupting, listening to books on tape with my eyes closed."
"I doodle. Or, I go for a walk or job outside."
"I joined a kickboxing place. Nothing makes you feel better than punching a bag for an hour. Plus, it's a great workout."
"Grey's Anatomy for an hour at night. Showers. Coffee. Yoga and sauna. Gardening and hiking when warm enough."
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.