“Schooool’s out. for. the summer. Schooooool’s out. For….ever??” Yikes.
Your kids are out of school for summer! Hurray!! Right? Well, mostly. And maybe less so as summer continues. But for now, we’ll stick with “mostly”. Even as you are celebrating…enjoying the extra quality time spent with your “babies” (who really aren’t babies anymore), cherishing the memories made at the beach and pool and on vacation, loving not having to pack lunches and be out the door by 7 am…you are feeling a LITTLE stir crazy at times, right? Not stir crazy in the “I Am Running Out of Ideas For Things to Do With My Kids” sense. There are plenty of blog posts about that. Check out this one: https://austin.citymomsblog.com/2015/05/14/ultimate-austin-summer-bucket-list/ And this one: https://austin.citymomsblog.com/2015/05/11/austin-splash-pads-pools-water-holes/ . I’m talking about stir crazy in the, “I Love My Kids to Pieces and I Love Having Fun in the Sun With Them, But At The Same Time, I Used to Have Hours..Actual HOURS…Where I Got a Break From Them..And Now I Don’t…And I May Lose My Mind” sense. Come on…you DO feel that way at least a wee bit, right?? If your answer is “no”, just don’t tell me. It probably means you are a better person than me. Much more suited to be a mother. Heaps more selfless and full of cheer.
Honestly, I truly am savoring this summer more than others, because it’s the last one I’ll have with just my TWO little men, before we welcome the third, but….even with that…I have my moments. Some mornings, I wake up and think “Aaah. How nice. A whole day spent with my babies, with no plans, no agenda, nothing we have to do”. Other mornings, I wake up and think “AAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!!! A whole DAY spent with my babies, with no plans, no agenda, and nothing we have to do?? This is not going to be pretty”.
So, on THOSE days, here is what I PERSONALLY have found to be effective in coping. I’m not saying any of these are necessarily “mothering at it’s finest”. I’m just saying, they work for me.
1) Baby-Sitters and Date Nights:
You’ve been in sweat pants and a pajama t-shirt all day. Or maybe you hair hasn’t been washed in…yeah, you’re not even going to reveal how many days….and your “shower” has been the swimming pool. There is NOTHING attractive or appealing about you….but. That doesn’t mean you can’t and shouldn’t hire a sitter and go somewhere. Ten minutes before your husband gets home, scurry off into your bathroom, turn that pool hair into sexy “beach waves”, assure yourself that the chlorine from the pool has cleansed your body sufficiently, throw on a sundress, admire how nice your tan looks in it, and then off into the sunset you go. The anticipation of a night out will cure your stir-craziness all day long!
2) Bubble baths…You and Them:
Here is a double-whammy. During the day, when I just need a minute to….breathe? Sit? Stare? I throw my kids in the tub. Don’t worry…I sit NEXT to the tub. They are well-supervised. But they are happy, and occupied, and CONTAINED, and yeah…I zone out for a bit. Don’t judge. I ensure no one slips below the surface. I respond to text messages with one hand while shielding the two-year old from tumbling out the side of the tub with my other hand. Sometimes I scrub them down, sometimes they just soak. And then while looking at their warm, sudsy water, I remind myself that in 6-8 hours, after the tub has been thoroughly disinfected, (because I’m not naive enough to believe they aren’t peeing while they are soaking in my tub), I too will be taking a nice, relaxing bubble bath. Nix the ninja turtles, plastic cups, and rubber ducky, add the book and the glass of wine. Stir-craziness….gone.
They aren’t just for the kids. Choose a location where no one can get hurt…well, at least not irreversibly so…and turn the kids loose, while you chat with the other moms. Everyone wins. And by winning, I mean…you may get to have adult conversation in 30 second snippets, in between the fights you will be breaking up, the snacks you will be serving, the sippie cups you will be retrieving, and the requests to “come wipe me!”. But if that’s not winning, then I don’t know what is. Your thirst for adult companionship during the day quenched…and your stir-craziness…cured!
4) Send them on vacation with the grandparents:
Well, that’s what I’m doing next week, anyway. Buh-Bye, stir crazies!
5) Loosen up with “screen time” rules:
It’s bad for their brains. It’s bad for their eyes. It contributes to hyperactivity, and, well, a million other bad things. I know. I KNOW! But mama losing her mind isn’t beneficial for them either, so sometimes it’s about choosing the lesser of the two evils. And trust me…there are days when…..”hey kids, watch however much TV you want today” is the lesser of the two evils. Go take your overdue shower….and wash off your stir-crazies.
6) Contained Sprinkler parks:
I don’t know what part of Austin you live in. I live North..in Cedar Park…and there is a sprinkler park nearby..Robin Bledsoe Sprinkler Park. It’s small. It’s kind of puny compared to other sprinkler parks. My five-year old has others he would rather go to. BUT…..it is entirely fenced in, and like I said, small. There is NO WAY for anyone to escape or run off. It’s almost like jail, but with fun water features. My two year old loves it. My five year old ends up having fun EVERY TIME, once we are actually there. And I can lounge leisurely on the side, working on my tan, knowing that there is virtually no where they can escape. So…rid yourself of stir-crazies by locking yourself in a round, gated area WITH your “crazies”.
I’m 9 months pregnant. I have two and half weeks to go, and my energy level is basically…zero . But you better believe I go to the gym every day. Why? Two reasons: childcare, and cardio theater. Today, I checked the kids into their class, waddled to the cardio theater, set the pace on the treadmill to “Barely Moving” and watched the 2011 version of Footloose on the big screen. It was awesome. Walked that stir-craziness right off.
8) Breakfast at Chick Fil A:
Every Saturday morning, you will find me, my husband, and our two boys at Chick-Fil-A. We walk in. The boys go straight to the play area. Dad orders food. I set up table. Dad and I eat, drink coffee, have conversation, and high-five each other over this genius “we’re not succumbing to Saturday Stir-Crazies” maneuver.
9) Porch time with drinks:
Almost every summer evening, after we put our kids to bed, we make ourselves a drink (margarita, non-pregnant, Fresca on ice, pregnant), sit in our backyard, and just hang out. It’s bliss. Our five year old peeks out the window at us occasionally, and we pretend we don’t see him. We simultaneously reflect on how much we love our boys, and also how grateful we are that they are in bed. We knew all day this moment was (eventually) coming, and…you guessed it….it nipped our stir-crazy right in the bud.
In closing, let me make it really clear…I ADORE MY LITTLE BOYS.
I’m not saying I’m looking for ways to escape them every day….I’m just saying that WHEN I AM…..these tactics work.
What do you do to make it through those days when you are feeling stir-crazy??