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A mini-vacation is a sanity saver

By Staff
Michelle Blaylock, Mom's Corner
A few weeks ago someone stopped me in a store and asked me about an article I had written, then she asked, "By the way, what do you do for you?" Huh? For me? She explained that I'm always writing about my kids, hubby, pets, etc., but I never mention what I do for me. She went on to say she had two kids and never seemed to have time for herself. So how did I manage to do anything for myself?
Well, the answer is fairly simple. I take "mini-vacations" and I mean "mini." After I went back to college when my oldest was 18 months old, I quickly discovered I didn't have time or money for myself.
Nevertheless, I had to have some time alone or I was going to go crazy. This is when I came up with the idea of mini-vacations.
I don't mean vacations in the sense of going somewhere, but vacations in the sense of getting away from it all at least mentally. Believe it or not, you can escape without ever leaving your house. The trick is to find something you enjoy doing and then find time to work it in even for a few minutes. You'll be amazed at how even 10 or 15 minutes doing something you enjoy will refresh you.
Let me give you some examples of what I mean. Nancy Zieman of the PBS program "Sewing with Nancy" has a wonderful book called "10 20 30 Minutes to Sew." She also has one about quilting. She has projects divided up into short segments to help you fit them into your schedule. If sewing is one of your methods of escape, Nancy's books would probably work well for you.
I love to read. Unfortunately, I can get very engrossed in a book and seriously lose track of time. My solution is to set a timer. I also will allow the kids to watch a program (generally one hour) and while they watch TV I will read my book. This works much like a timer, because when the show goes off my little "alarms" let me know my time is up.
When hubby took the job here in Alabama, I had to stay in Kentucky with the six kids ages four months to 14 years. Can we say stress?
My wonderful perceptive kids discovered quickly that Mom's stress level was directly proportional to Mom's crabbiness.
One day had been particularly bad– the baby had cried all day due to a terrible ear infection, the van had a flat tire, the dishwasher decided not to clean the dishes (possibly due, no, definitely due, to the broccoli someone fed it), the real estate broker called and asked to show the house, and hubby called to say he was going out to eat with a friend (yippee for him).
Well, my perceptive kids smiled and said, "Mom, why don't you take a nice hot bath? The baby's asleep and if he wakes up we'll come get you. I said something like, "No, I've got things I've got to get done." My wonderful, blunt, 14-year-old responded with, "Listen you're a witch, please go take a bath before you go postal!" Well, since she had put it that way, what could I say? I went and took a nice calming bath. It's amazing what 15 to 20 minutes in a hot bath will do to improve my attitude.
Of course, everyone has their own way of relaxing. Some enjoy a long walk, others enjoy books, sewing, crafts, building, weight lifting, aerobics, movies, etc. The more stressed my mom is, the more she cleans. Now, that would be handy!
I know a single mom who trades time with another single mom. Their kids attend the same daycare and twice a month they take turns taking each other's children for several hours. This way at least once a month they each have several hours to themselves.
When we lived in Missouri, I had a friend who started walking in the mornings before her husband and children were up. She borrowed cassette tapes (before CDs) of sermons, Bible studies, and praise worship from the church library. She said she always felt renewed and refreshed after her morning walk with God.
My point is with a some creativity you can find time for yourself. You may not be able to manage it everyday, but a couple times a week works wonders. I hope this gives you some ideas to help you get started having those mini-vacations.
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