Food For Thought Friday: Mama's Day Off

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My husband has done the most amazing thing. For Valentine's Day he scheduled a "day off" for me. A day to myself. He bought me gift certificates to stores, scheduled appointments for me, made lunch reservations, and even topped the day off with a babysitter (for the kids) and a night on the town (for us). Wow.

Then, I went and wrecked it.

The lunch reservations were at a place I'd never been to alone, and I'm really more comfortable at another restaurant, but I may just skip lunch because there are so many things I need to do in the morning that I may not have time, and I want the pedicure he scheduled, but I don't feel like I really want or need a manicure as much as I should have a make-up lesson (some friends recently had an accidental intervention with me), and there are errands I need to run without the kids in tow - and now that I have an entire morning free... and on and on and on. I filled up the day with the things I feel like I NEED to do, rather than the things I WANT to do. I did check with him before I started rearranging, but what I didn't do (shame on me) is maintain the goal of the day which is to reeeeeeeellllllaaaaaaaaaaaaax.

What is wrong with me? I am a control freak. I don't think I was this way before we were married, or even right after. I bet I know what changed me... I BECAME A MOM! I don't know that control freak and mom go hand in hand, but I do know this, before I had kids I was far more reeeeeeeeeellllllllllaaaaaaaaaaaaaaxed.

A friend of ours told us the other day that is wife mentioned that she would really like a month off from parenting... he joked, "I don't really think she sees me in that picture." we laughed, but I totally got it. For many moms, we are the keeper of the family schedule. We arrange the doctor appointments, the school conferences, the carpool schedule, the play dates, the babysitters, the weekly menu, and what date we are responsible for bringing snacks to [fill in the blank with an activity]. When given the opportunity to relinquish control, in my case, I am unable (or unwilling) to release the tiniest responsibility from my grip lest a ball gets dropped and it reflects on my ability to parent competently. Admitting it makes me want to puke (not to mention embarrasses me to no end). I am so enmeshed in the family identity that to give up one thing makes me believe that I am giving it all up. I am hyper-focused on everyone else's needs, perhaps to a fault.

So, when my husband gives me a day off, instead of seeing it as an opportunity to do more for the family (and meet their needs -- like buying new clothes for the four year-old that actually fit, instead of making him look like he is dressing up like the Incredible Hulk - hold the green), why can't I see it as an opportunity to get back to mySELF? As you are reading this, I am having my day off, but as I am writing this, I am trying to figure out how to take the need out and inject some more of the want. Here's where I'm going to start. I am going to Coco Chanel my morning. No, I'm not going to spend money I don't have on designer items... Coco Chanel famously once said, "When accessorizing, always take off the last thing you put on." So, instead of squeezing that one more thing into my morning that I couldn't possibly delegate to someone else, I'm just not gonna do it. Then, I'm going to take an extra half hour for my lunch and read a book that I've been dying to dig into, and get in the mood for some serious pampering thanks to Mr. Lindstrom (who really is a better partner than I could have ever imagined, and certainly at least 3 million times more amazing than I ever give him credit for.)

If you are a mom, do you give yourself vacations? Can you relate to the notion that motherhood turned you into a control freak? If not, what is your advice for relinquishing some control? What would a "day off" look like for you?


  1. I know that I do take time for myself...I go out with friends once in a while. I'm in a Book Club. But one really naughty thing I do is count exercise time and writing time as "me time," when really it's just being appropriately healthy and...working! Yesterday there was a great deal on facials on Living Social and I balked. No, I won't get down there. Even though it's half off it's decadent. But moms spend so much time caring for others (and as you know, I also do it as a day job) that we need the big decadent taken care of moment. Thanks for the reminder.

  2. My dream day off would look exactly like what your husband planned. What an awesome partner (perfect word)!! My favorite thing to do is give myself mini vacations...when the kids are playing well together (minutes at best) instead of throwing in a load of laundry I make myself a cup of coffee, grab a trashy mag and read 2 pages. Or I drive the long way home, turn up the heat, flip to cd#4 bob Marley, sng at the top of my lungs, picture green everywhere. Or read a blog -and even comment!- while one child sleeps and the other gets his daily dose of star wars. That is what gets me through until I can get a dreamy pedicure. :)


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