Letting Off Some Steam

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The calendars are full enough. The budget is empty enough. The big recharges are too limited by logistics, and if I only wait on those, I get grumpy. ย I’ve learned to find little recharges. Power up. ย A good book in the hammock. Turning up a great song and singing my guts out, or dancing like a fool in my kitchen. Taking my cuppa tea to the patio for a few minutes. An extra long shower or bath. A prayerful walk. Turning a colander in the middle of making dinner into a quick, free steam facial. Pause. Breath. Laugh, because you’re using a colander as a free steam facial. Laugh, because you don’t feel desperate, you feel grateful. Ok, maybe a little desperate.

I’m happier when I help my husband find some sanity moments too. Daily. Weekly. Simple stuff. Guilt not included. A foot rub. Handing him the iPod with his favorite song playing. A sticky note on his bathroom mirror. Pushing him out the door to run or ride his bike or golf or fish. It’s easy to say “keep dating” each other, but with a houseful of kids it is harder. Get out on real dates when you can, but look for the little stuff…”chase” each other again. Do you like me? Yes. No. Check One.

It adds up. We’re all a sum of the little moments. If we’re only giving, giving, giving, there’s nothing left to give. ย Don’t feel guilty about taking time for yourself. It’s a valuable lesson for your kids too. When their lives starts spinning faster, they need to know ways to slow it down in big ways…but especially in little ways.

Tell me, how do you recharge?


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  1. KC in VA says:

    Good topic! SO hard to get those recharge moments around here. My oldest has Aspergers and my youngest has SPD and is a sensory seeker (aka extreme toddler, despite the fact she’s nearly 4) and we homeschool..days are packed with daily therapies, appointments, lessons, outings. Neither kid does that well with changes in their routines. Mama leaving the compound is usually a lot of trauma and drama and because there are so many things we’re trying to do, I don’t often tax the system by attempting to exit the premises sans kiddos. It happens though, not often enough, but sometimes if hubby is home on the weekend I can snag an hour at the craftstore to myself or after everyone is in bed for the night I can dash and dine out with a friend. My hub works a LOT, a whole lot, I consider it a spa day if I can manage to shave my legs and wash my hair during the same shower.

    So here’s what I do: I am unapologetic about the fact I put my kids to bed early. At 7pm the troop moves upstairs. I hang out with them for an hour, teeth get brushed and jammies get put on, stories get read. And then that’s it. If they’re not tired yet, they can have some “screen time” (to quote you!), they can play in their rooms, but unless someone has vomited or is bleeding they may NOT come back downstairs. There are snacks and beverages available, bathroom facilities, etc. The end of the day is the time of they are to occupy themselves quietly, wind down, go to sleep. (it doesn’t always go so smoothly, monsters need to be chased from closets and sippy cups require refills and so on) But generally I get the last hours of the day to myself and I stop, no housework, no school planning or bill paying. Just a TV show or a chitchat phone call with my sister or some scrapbooking.

    But most of the time my “me time” is, literally, moments. I give myself time-outs, I sit on the time out step and drink one entire cup of coffee while it’s still hot and then sit there until the timer on the microwave beeps and then I get back up. I give myself time-outs for crankiness several times a week, lol. Once a month or so we have a “snow day”. I get jumbo boxes of Kleenex from Costco, the boxes where the tissues pull out one sheet at a time, and we pile into the guestroom (normally off limits for play) and the girls pull out the tissues…ALL the tissues. And they pile them in buckets and make snow tissue angels flopping in the piles and they make little tented igloos for their dolls. They are little, this activity brings them great pleasure. And for an hour, I lay on the bed and read a novel that has nothing to do with real life at all. And when the Snow Day is finished we bag up all the tissues (and yes, I use a snow shovel to scoop them into a pile so the kids can bag them up easier) in a huge kitchen trashbag and for weeks afterwards if you sneeze you grab your Kleenex from the bag instead of a box. And I also do steam facials from the strainer, lol.

    • Wow KC, your plate is FULL! I’m glad you’ve found some ways to sneak in me time. Some is better than none! Our kids still go to bed pretty early too (about 7:30) and can read as late as 9:00…although my younger 2 crash by 8:00ish. We call it our “plop” time. Love your Snow Days!

      • KC in VA says:

        Yep, they’re full days…but good days. And before I know it I’ll be heading out the door and begging to see if anyone wants to join me and I’ll have a pair of teenage girls rolling their eyes at me going “ugh, NO Mom”. The Mama days are fleeting, there will be plenty of long and uninterrupted showers in my future…and on days when I’m too exhausted to see the big picture and appreciate these wonderful days when my children are little, I comfort myself plotting my revenge…and thank you for the ideas on that front ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. What a lovely post! I love turning up the music and belting out the lyrics. My daughter (3) looks at me like I’m crazy, but my 8 mos old LOVES it! ๐Ÿ™‚ And it’s the best kinda therapy. ๐Ÿ™‚ That and a good book in a bath.

  3. Opening up the door of the dishwasher just as they cycle finishes is another facial option ๐Ÿ˜‰ My recharge is to run first thing in the morning before anyone else is awake – gives me an extra boost of energy for the day.
    Lovely to see you at the Kids Co-op this week.

  4. cheeriosandlattes1 says:

    I love that you shared this, sometimes it’s the little things like a ‘steam facial’ that help me get through the day. Thank you for sharing this on Saturday Show and Tell. I hope you’ll be back this week.

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