I was on the phone the other night with one of my friends. She does not have any children of her own, but works with special needs children. She gave me an excellent tip that I do want to share, but I have also been pondering about this over the last few days....
My friend knows that I:
a) am home full time with my four kids (who are all very, very close in age)
b) work part time from home (I have a "regular job" that I spend about 2-3 hours on each day on and in addition, do project/freelance type work)
c) am with my kids 24/7
d) volunteer extensively with my kids activities
e) am often stressed out
Her tip is to have a "safe word". Mud pie, Rutabaga, whatever I want. This is a word that is to be shared between me and husband. Whenever I invoke the "safe word" I will get an automatic break. A Mommy Time Out. Now, there needs to be some rules with the safe word. It can only be invoked in dire situations (not for a mani/pedi, but when you are truly on the edge and need a break!) and cannot be abused. I like this idea. Just saying Rutabaga five times in a row makes me giggle (why, I don't know!).
I have been questioning, why do I need a safe word? My husband knows (and after 12 years he should know!) when he walks in the door at 7pm if it has been a good day or a bad day or if I am not feeling well and need a break. I have also been questioning why I am stressing myself out so much. I have friends that do this too. I know this past week there has also been an article floating around facebook on this. We are the new breed of stay at home mom's. Since we do not work outside the home, we feel like we have to over compensate for everything. Have our home's look like a Toll Brother's Model (mine is far from it!), be the class mom, the team mom, the ballet mom, and overextend ourselves so much that there is no time left for anything else. I am guilty of this. Are the kids suffering or missing out because of this, I do not know. Sometimes the teachers and coaches are guilty of this too - call Mrs. SoandSo, she doesn't work and can volunteer. It seems like my friends who work full time actually have a better work-life balance. They know what they can commit to and don't bite off more than they can chew. They also don't feel guilty (or let on that they feel guilty) about saying No.
Now, this is just my opinion. Let me know what you think. I am going to continue to think about this and see how I can re-structure my time and de-stress a little! I will still say Rutabaga, because it is fun!
Have a great weekend!