Today’s post is about taking a “Lazy Mom Day”. And while I kind of hate to use the word lazy when it comes to moms, I think “Lazy Day” is the best phrase to evoke the feeling of just laying about in a hammock with cool drink, relaxed and happy. That’s my idea of a rest day, what’s yours?
I think it’s important to start off this important post discussing the importance of this very important practice of rest. Do you understand by my excessive use of the word, how important I think this is?? But I didn’t used to think rest was important. In fact I have a very good story about it in my new book that is coming out just in time for the new year… 😉
But more about that later.
For now, I want to talk about burnout and how it affects the body and brain. It is NOT good. Burnout is when you overwork yourself for too long and get to a point where you are not healthy. It can cause things like emotional breakdowns, physical disease, relationships crisis, inability to work productively, loss of creativity, and the list goes on. It affects your self-esteem, your appetite, it affects everything. Rest is not about being lazy or selfish. It is about self-preservation, it is about health.
That’s why today, what with the holidays coming up and school starting and all that goes with it, I wanted to take moment to give this practice it’s valid space. As a mother, this can be especially difficult to do.
BTW, and it sucks that I have to say this BUT— DO NOT come at me with, well you had those kids so you have to do EVERYTHING! That is SO TOXIC! Um, well doctors decided to be doctors so why do they need a nurse, or a receptionist, or a day off?? See how stupid that sounds? Or how about business owners hiring people? Or what about fathers working seven days a week? Their decision right?
Every person on this earth is entitled to rest and help. And while having kids isn’t a “job”; cooking, laundry, cleaning, planning, budgeting, supervising, researching, and whole host of other things about mothering IS. The only thing that isn’t a job per se when it comes to having kids, is loving them… and even that can be emotionally overwhelming. Especially if you have trauma or brain settings that make loving someone, in a way that is healthy for them and you, challenging.
Anyways, when I was going through a time when I had little to no help it sucked! I needed to rest but I couldn’t find the space for it in my life. Imagine waking up feeling awful and then seeing a huge pile of dishes in the sink. You need to make breakfast for the kids but the pans and spatula and plates are all jumbled on top of each other, and if you turn on the water sprays all over you because you don’t even have room to wash a dish. And you can’t find the soap. That’s what would happen if I even thought about taking a rest. It was frustrating, and exhausting.
Now that I have more energy things are easier. But back then I needed a solution to have my rest day. Over time I put together a few little practices that made having a rest day easier on me. Maybe you’re experiencing burnout, or just having a hard time, or have depression like I do. If so, I want you to know that you deserve rest and rejuvenation. It’s not just a luxury, it’s about health!
How To Plan For A “Lazy” Mom Day
- The first order of business is to pick your day. Preferably every week, or every few days. Right now, my days are Sundays and Thursdays. But before, I was lucky to get one once a month. It doesn’t matter, do it whenever you can, but plan it!
- Acknowledge the amount of time you have. There were times when a whole day wasn’t an option and so my rest time was a 15 minute shower where I meditated or cried. At times I feel like a need a Lazy Month and not just a Lazy Day. So whether it’s a weekend getaway or doing five minutes of breath work before you go to sleep, whatever you do with the time you have, make it count.
- Eliminate chores where you can. The less chores you have the more time you have for rest days. My ten year old and her older brothers now do their own laundry. I stopped making my husband’s lunch on busy weeks, or weeks when I just need more rest (don’t worry, he can make his own lunch or buy lunch). I stopped folding clothes and just throw them in the drawer. Find places to eliminate chores or adjust them so you don’t have to do as much.
- Adjust your idea of what is acceptable. Sometimes you’re able to have meals made from scratch and a perfectly laid out table. Sometimes you shove all the clutter to the side to make room for the boxed mac and cheese. It’s ok. What makes life suck is too many expectations. A lot of us are expecting too much of ourselves. What I’m trying to say is, don’t give up rest days to try and keep things to a standard that isn’t realistic.
- Ask yourself “What would make me feel rejuvenated?” The WHOLE POINT is to become rejuvenated. This will mean different things to different people. It will also mean different things to you depending on what’s going on in your life. Sometimes my rest days consist of taking my kids to the park all day. Sometimes it’s going to the gym and lunch with my husband. Sometimes it’s spending hours alone just sitting with myself. Whatever makes you feel good and rested is a good option for a rest day.
- Prepare what you need for your lazy day after you…
- Plan your lazy day activities. Ok so this sounds kind of counterproductive, but I have found that when I don’t plan what I’m going to do, I get antsy just sitting around and it makes me feel stressed. Here are a some sample “To Do” lists:
“I Have A Baby And I need Coffee List”
- Starbucks run with baby
- cartoons all morning while I lay on the couch and read
- long, hot bath while baby naps
- warm up leftovers for lunch
- Lay on the floor while baby crawls all over me, maybe do some stretching and planks
- Order takeout for dinner
- Call loved ones while munching on candy
“Life Is Sucking My Soul List”
- Make myself a gourmet breakfast while listening to music that touches my soul
- Take a walk at the best park in the city
- Take a shower with an aromatherapy melt
- Heat up a pre-prepared meal
- Work on a hobby
- Dinner with Bestie and talk about our dreams for the future
“I Just Can’t Take It Anymore List”
- Green smoothie and pancakes in bed while watching a comedy
- Crying session with trusted friend or therapist
- Take a walk
- Scream in the shower for 5 minutes
- Eat leftover chicken soup
- Turn everything off and lay down while concentrating on my breathing
- Turn my pain into art through writing, painting, coloring, or crafts
- Make all my favorite snacks for dinner and watch another comedy
” I have A Shit Ton Of Kids In The House List”
- Have cereal for breakfast
- Chill in my room while kids play in the living room
- Watch the kids play as I enjoy a hot drink.
- Do some stretching together
- Easy sandwiches on napkins (no dishes!) for lunch with some chips or fruit.
- Movie marathon while I take a nice relaxing shower
- Have the kids clean up their mess if I feel like it
- Heat up leftovers for dinner.
- Have the older kids take care of the bedtime routine while I relax
“I’m Exhausted List”
- Uber Eats and sleep all day
Don’t forget to…
- Have pre prepared food and paper plates on hand. Ordering out isn’t always an option and pre-prepared meals can be affordable and also healthy. Whether it’s leftovers, homemade freezer meals, or frozen chicken nuggets- it doesn’t matter. Have a meal specifically for your rest day in the cupboard, fridge or freezer that all you have to do is heat up and it’s ready to go.
- Clear any appointments if possible.
- Let others know about your new habit of taking time for rest. You might say, for example, “From now on, Fridays are my day off” or “I won’t be cooking on Sundays so we will need to figure something out”, or “DO NOT BOTHER ME WHILE I TAKE THIS SHOWER”.
- Be prepared for negative feedback. People don’t like it when someone who has been doing it all decides to take a step back. Maybe they don’t want to take on more responsibility, or maybe they are genuinely concerned to see this change in you. When someone replies to your need for more rest in your life with something like, “You’re a stay at home mom, you get every day off!” or “It isn’t healthy to just lay around all day” or “It’s not like you do that much around here” or “Self, you do not deserve to take time for yourself, what kind of a mom does that!” do not give in to feeling badly about your right to a balanced life. You do not need to explain yourself. Simply say, “This is important to my health and this is what I will be doing from now on”. That’s it. Do not give long answers. If they ask you for help or to do something you don’t want to do on your rest day, an acceptable answer is, “No”, or “I am unable to do that today”, or “I’m actually very worn out, maybe another time”. Once they see that you’re serious, they will adjust, though it may take some time.
- Actually take the rest when you say you’re going to. If you say you aren’t cooking on Sundays, then don’t cook. If you need a babysitter on your rest day, hire one. Do not expect others to swoop in and help you have a rest day. Believe me, there won’t be people lining up at the door to help you because in America the law of the land is to be busy and work until you die, especially for BIPOC and WOC. Taking rest is part of the revolution.
So my dear, I hope this article helped you to see how crucial it is to schedule “Lazy Mom Days” and I hope you will continue to take your needed rest. It’s not only for us, but to model to our children to make sure they learn to take care of themselves, and to inspire our culture to stop making burnout something to be proud of.
You are more powerful than you think you are.
With much love and encouragement LC Venegas xoxo