Does Becoming a Mom Make You Incapable of Relaxing?
Lately, I’ve been saying out loud to anyone that would listen that, “I really want to take a vacation”. I haven’t taken an actual vacation since before my daughter, who is now 2 1/2 was born, making me a single mom.
Scratch that, I was on my way to go on vacation to celebrate my 30th birthday with my best friend, when I found out I was pregnant with my daughter…so that vacation was not only cut short to deal with life matters, it also was not what one would call relaxing.
I mean sure, I have been away to a location other than my home, but those trips were courtesy of my parents. Plus, my daughter joined us and woke us up around 6am every day. And when I went away this summer with my family to celebrate my grandmother’s 80th birthday, I worked the entire time. It was a great trip, but I want to UNPLUG. Like disappear for a week, without any access to social media, cell phone, Internet and human beings who I need to harass in order to get them to eat their dinner.
None of this is even remotely possible anytime in the foreseeable future. Not only because of financial limitations, but also because I don’t have anyone that can easily watch my daughter for a week, and I also don’t have a clear space in the projects I am working on to actually take a break. And…and…well…I think I may have forgotten how to actually relax. It’s like once I had my daughter I went from a type A personality to type A+.
And most of that is due to my incredible determination to try to build the best life possible for not only myself now, but a tiny person too. In the choice between sinking or swimming, I am doing everything I can to swim. The only way anything is going to get done in my life is if I do it - paying the bills, making money to pay the bills, taking the garbage out, filling out school forms, scrubbing the tub, vacuuming, swapping out outgrown clothes, washing the dishes, paying the sitter, finding a sitter, telling the landlord that there is a smell in the hall the makes me actually gag when I walk out every morning, getting the super to fix the leaky faucet in my bathroom, playing with my daughter, taking her to the playground, bathing her and tackling her when she won’t brush her teeth. All me.
I know my responsibilities and tasks are magnified because I am a single parent and everything that needs to be done that is related to the home or my daughter needs to be done by me, but I am sure that about 80% of the moms I know have trouble just doing nothing. Forget about taking a vacation. I mean just sitting still for ten minutes and doing nothing. No mom list making in your head, no writing an intro for a piece that you are working on, n-o-t-h-i-n-g.
A good friend of mine told me the other day that I am like a didgeridoo which is apparently played by exhaling into that long stick thing and inhaling at the same time to make a continuous sound. I have no idea how this would actually be done, but this is what my friend claims. Anyway, I was in the middle of some story which turned into an explanation for something else, that rolled into a questioning of some theory and he said, “I got it! You are like a didgeridoo…as you are talking and listening to what someone is saying, you are already forming your next thought and conversation…you are taking everything in as you are pushing it out.”
And I said, “Yes!!!! That is how my brain always feels – two tracks always running.”
Now, I am smart enough to know the value in recharging my batteries, but I think I have forgotten how. I am always doing one thing and thinking about two others and that is when I am NOT stressed.
So because a vacation is so not in the cards, I told myself I would DO NOTHING for ten minutes every day – like a mini-vacation in my head. I told myself I would just sit still and do nothing. So before starting work the other morning, I sat in the middle of my living room floor, set the timer on my phone to ten minutes, laid down and closed my eyes…
And what seemed like an eternity later, I sat up thinking, “Huh, I must not have set that timer properly…”
When I checked my phone I saw that only 4 minutes and 38 seconds had gone by. Not even a full 5 minutes! So I laid back down and closed my eyes for another 2 minutes and then that was it. I couldn’t take it anymore.
The act of doing nothing was too painful because all I kept thinking about was all of things I need to get done.
Is it just me or does becoming a mom break your “do nothing” button?