The Art of Distraction: How to Catch a Break For Mom


The Art of Distraction: How to Catch a Break For Mom

Every day is the same lately. I wake up, have coffee, and a shower. Then, it’s onto the never-ending cleaning. The days blur together as the same activities repeat. I am left dreaming of a time when I got the occasional day off, the good old days when the sitter could come by for eight glorious hours and I got to leave the house by myself. I used to get breaks and it saved my sanity so much. Now it’s dust in the wind and breaks are so hard to come by. It’s so hard to keep pouring from a cup that never refills. Hopefully some day things will go back to somewhat normal and I can go back to having regularly scheduled breaks for my mental health. For now, I concentrate on mere moments in which I get to catch my breath.

It’s not like I can get away from it all, but at this point, any chance I get is a blessing. Whether I need to have my coffee or sit down and write, I’ve found a few mom hacks to get some sweet moments to myself. All of them are simple and most moms are probably already on the same page, but I think as moms we often forget that any break is a break.

Being mindful and intentional about your time is important. The housework can wait. Refill that cup as much as you can mama and give it a rest with these tricks.

I used to wake up early every morning, take a walk and have coffee in peace and quiet. Now it seems almost impossible, as I just can’t seem to get enough sleep. Hooray for depression! So hello TV. I get my three cups and a shower by using screen time as a babysitter. I’m lucky that my five-year-old has the remote figured out and we have parental controls set up. They can pick whatever they want to watch as long as they leave me alone for an hour or so while I go through my morning transformation from mombie to meh, I’m awake.

After that, we spend as much time as possible in the yard.

We have a swing set and they’re slowly learning to swing by themselves. Their time to practice is my time to relax. Playing outside keeps them from destroying the house even more. Have I mentioned the cleaning? I can watch them from the deck and soak up the sun. During this time, I catch up with friends via text. It’s one of the only ways I get to socialize with my besties and it’s my life line. I have three girlfriends I text every day. We talk about anything and everything. We laugh and cry together, because that’s all we can do during these crazy days.

Then comes lunch time.

I fix my kids something quick and easy, and I finally grab myself something to eat. It’s at this point that they’ve probably decided to start their daily rounds of trying to kill each other. The fighting has escalated to World War III proportions. One thing I’ve figured out is that when they start fighting, food usually solves the problem. What drives me the craziest is when they’re screaming and fighting. It sets my raw nerves on edge and I always try to squash it quickly. Almost every time they start fighting, I suggest food.

By now, they’re usually filthy from playing and eating, so I throw them in the tub.

At their ages, they don’t need direct supervision and can run a bath for themselves. My kids love bath time and often ask for several a day. I rarely say no. I don’t really care at this point how high my water bill is — bath time means time to myself. I saw something the other day that said when kids are having behaviors, just add water — a glass of water, water play — it doesn’t really matter; what it is water is therapeutic. So I use it as much as I can. There have been quite a few days in which they’ve taken three baths.

On rainy days things get a little harder.

The weather can be a real downer with us all stuck in the house, so desperate times call for desperate measures. Any little break helps, so we have movie days or tablet time. On rare occasions, we have made playdough or slime. I think my favorite is also one of theirs: they love it when I make paper airplanes. Any quick and easy project to keep them entertained for half an hour is amazing. It might seem like a little more work, but it’s totally worth it. I’ve even gotten a nap a time or two!

I think the best time is after bedtime and we can probably all agree on that.

Of course I enjoy binge watching some TV, but I’ve figured out some other things that really make the time worth it. My husband and I often play darts or other games after the kids are asleep. It’s quality time together that is much needed. Sometimes I go to one of my friend’s houses to have a social distancing drink. Sometimes I follow the water advice for myself and take a relaxing bath. I do anything I can to replenish myself in the roughly two hours between their bedtime and mine.

These times are so unprecedented. It’s incredibly difficult to feel like my own person right now. I was just at the point — with my oldest being in school — that I was starting to feel a little more like myself again.

Now the days are exhausting and I’m touched out all over again. I’m so grateful for any little thing that brings about a little peace in the middle of the chaos in my house and this world. I still daydream of the days when I could have an entire day to myself out of the house, but there are moments every day where I can catch a break.

I am so grateful for the art of distraction!