An honest take on life and parenthood

Get out. And stay out.

on November 13, 2012

Do you ever get the feeling that you are on a hamster wheel? Kids, work, household chores, repeat. You’re busy. You’re tired. And there are never enough hours in a day.

I’ve learned that one of the most important things to do as a mother is to keep your own personal identity. Motherhood can be so all consuming that it can become easy to lose yourself in the needs of a little person who cannot fend for themselves.

You forget that you need stimulation and contact with people outside of your immediate family and daily work colleagues.

But remember: before you were a mom, and before you were married or partnered up, you were just you, with your own dreams and aspirations.

It is critical to remember your passions and carve out time to feed them. Believe me, I am just as guilty as anyone else.

I was jolted awake recently when one of my college classmates, Julianne, recruited me to help organize our 20th class reunion.  I have always been a compulsive volunteer and worked hard to ratchet down on my commitments once the Pooh was born, but of course I was itchy for something new. In short, I was an ideal victim –  I mean, target. I said no once, twice, and fell on Julianne’s third try.

It turned out to be quite fortunate for me in completely unexpected ways.

Two months ago, I returned to campus for a day-long reunion planning workshop at our alumni house. I was completely unplugged from work, home, and the Pooh. I left the house at 6:30 am and didn’t return until 10 pm.

Although the content of the workshop was routine, the participants were not. I reconnected with one of my classmates who had run for public office in Ohio twice, as well as a film producer and an incredibly accomplished Master Chef. These three people alone were so different and yet so stimulating that by the end of the day, I was positively bursting with new ideas and creative energy.

On the train home, I spent two hours sketching out my ideas and getting started on new projects that were totally unrelated to motherhood or my paid job. That quiet, creative time was pure bliss. And I have to admit that it was wonderful to spend the day as just me, talking about interesting topics without a small person begging for my attention, feeling pressure to send in a deliverable, or dealing with a chore or errand.

The day felt so indulgent. As a result, I made a promise to myself to mix it up and get out of my routine at least once a month.  I highly recommend it as a self-rejuvenation technique, regardless of whether you are a mother or not.

So get out. And stay out. Regularly.

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