Mom's Day Off

originally in Abilene Families

An intruding hand poked into the warm sanctuary of my bed.

“Are you getting up, or are you sick?”

Ugh. Didn’t I tell them it was my day off? Since those are about as common as leap years around here, I’m sure more explanation was necessary.

I crawled out enough to glance at the clock. 6:50. I’ve usually been up for well over an hour by now, and I was planning on getting up at 7 anyway.

“No, I’m fine. I was just sleeping in a little today. I’m getting up now.”

The holidays are hectic for everyone but my family usually has a blissful ‘time out’ period when all outside activities cease and we spend our time with only family for a few days, resting and regrouping.

This year was a little different. I took on more writing assignments than usual and had several deadlines looming right after the holidays. I was thankful for the work and the confidence my clients entrusted to me, but by the end of January I really began to lose steam. I realized I was due a mom’s time out.

I would love to tell you that the realization that a day off was necessary came as a gentle decision made with forethought for my mental health. However, the need was made obvious when my husband asked for help with a simple task and I dissolved into a pile of tears on the floor. It was past time for me to have a day off.

I began clearing my calendar and finding a spot for a day of respite. Of course it was eight days after my nuclear reactor level meltdown, but I was still in need. I told writing clients that I would be unavailable that day. I rescheduled a child’s orthodontist appointment. I became giddy at the thought.

I crawled out from under the covers, still anticipating the day in front of me. I have been known to take a day off to get things checked off my list. I have taken a day to spend time organizing my life and setting our family in order. My only order of business for this particular day was to simply rest and relax. If I wanted to, I would; If I felt like I had to, I wouldn’t.

I went about my morning with my family as usual, getting everyone off to school and work. Then... I stood. Frozen in the middle of my living room as if my feet had taken root. I found that I had absolutely no idea what I should do to relax.

Ummm... I think I used to read books? Okay, let’s try that. Yes, I shall read. But first, I should... No. No “I should’s” allowed. That went on for an embarrassing amount of time while I debated starting a load of laundry or making an appointment for a family member.

I finally decided not to even start down the road of “just this one thing” that I could do that was productive.

Today, rest would be productive.

I grabbed a book, snuggled back into bed, and read. And napped. I watched a few moments of TV, then decided that wasn’t relaxing, so I found a different book. And napped again. Yes, I turned into your average sloth. And it was quite enjoyable.

My day off was a success but far too short. Life cranked back up to full speed immediately, but I learned that life could survive without me for a day. I also found that it’s possible to stop and take some time for myself along the way before I crash into the carpet. If that doesn’t work, I’m calling in sick.

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