Smelly Socks: How to get your inner girl back
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"Mama, I'm hungry." "Mama, I'm bored." "Mama, he won't leave me alone."
Ah ... alone - something I haven't been for quite some time. Not that I'm really complaining. I love my boys, but sometimes I need my girl time.
I love to shop, but after I had the boys, all of this seemed to go by the wayside. Now it was more important to pick out clothes that were somewhat decent yet could resist spit up, various juices and everyday splatters and then wash out nicely without staining.
Nothing looked good, and nothing seemed to fit. All the magazines I subscribed to always had the headline screaming out at me such as "how to dress like a sophisticated mom" and "find your inner girl." I read the articles, but nothing seemed to take hold in my head, as my mind was on the boys and their needs instead.
So I devised a plan to keep the woman in me from losing the "girl" in me. Losing the "girl" with one, two or more boys is highly possible and certainly likely, but I'm here to tell all you mothers of boys out there: Don't get sucked in. Fight the urge to neglect yourselves.
You need your girl time: your manicure or pedicure, your day of shopping and antiquing, your breakfast, lunch or dinner with a friend.
It's so important not to lose yourself. Here are some ways in which I fought and won my back my inner girl.
Hire a babysitter during the day
Everyone hires a babysitter for date night with their husbands or other special occasions. But how many of us actually hire a babysitter during the day? I'm lucky enough to have family watch the boys in the evening if I need to, but there are many times I need to get errands or appointments done during the day.
So, on the trusted recommendation of my neighbor, I hired a college student who lives in my subdivision. She comes and watches the boys when I need her. Maybe it's getting my hair highlighted, maybe it's shopping and maybe it's just running that errand to the grocery store so you can get in and out without a lot of drama.
Boys are very demanding, and if you let them, they will suck the life out of you. I'll be honest, I wasn't keen on the babysitter idea, but after doing it once, I felt such freedom that I was able to get so much done in so little time. Now I look forward to the Mondays when I get to have a little me time.
Take a girls-only trip
We all need to get away. I know it's hard to get away for the weekend with girlfriends when your husband has worked long hours during the week and he, too, needs some downtime. Everyone is busy, and the boys have soccer games or karate practice.
But sometimes a trip is just what we need to rejuvenate ourselves and come back as stronger and better moms. A few years ago, I took a trip to Nashville with my cousins to celebrate dual 40th birthdays. We drove down to Nashville in an awesome Cadillac Escalade and spent time hanging out, going out to dinner and sightseeing. It was a quick and short weekend, and it was enough to miss my boys but also enough to feel like a girl again.
Catching up on magazines
We're all familiar with magazines that tell us how we should raise our kids and give us advice on everything from potty training to preschool, but what about magazines which teach us about fashion, beauty and current events?
I think that every mom, especially one with boys, should make sure that she gets at least one or two magazines that have nothing to do with kids. I personally love it when my Town and Country magazine comes in the mail every month. After the boys have gone to bed, I sit down with a cup of coffee and flip right to the wedding section. I enjoy seeing the brides' dresses and the various pictures of their special day. Silly things, I know, but there are no potty-training tips, no how to get your kids to eat vegetables section and nothing about thumb sucking, bedwetting or sharing your toys.
I'm inundated with all of these things 24 hours a day for seven days a week. And even if you're not into that kind of stuff, get a subscription to Marie Claire, Real Simple or Time and take a break after the kids go to bed.
Sit down with your coffee or wine and escape into a child-free world. You're guaranteed to have at least 30 minutes of peace and wind down time. It relaxes me and reminds me of who I was before the boys' life took over my life.
So whatever you do - even though the time might be short - it'll hopefully be enough to rejuvenate you for the busy days that lie ahead where you know you will be permanently in demand. Enjoy your time.
Anita lives in Chicagoland with her husband, two boys and two dogs, one of which is a girl. Email Johanna Bloom or Anita Spisak at firstname.lastname@example.org.