3. Start a band.
We turned our backyard tire swing into a drum set last week. It was simple enough – a few bundt pans tethered with string, some sticks for banging. Ever since, I’ve been setting them loose to create an original song and lyrics while I finish up the dishes, tackle the laundry, sweep toast crumbs from the dining room.
It’s a 10-minute break at best, but offers me a bit of space to get something done, and offers the littles a bit of space for creativity. And the concert that follows? It’s a show-stopper every time.
WHEN YOU NEED TIME
1. Switch roles.
There have been many times when I just need “time”, you know? Time to switch my brain off for a bit, time to gather my own thoughts or – mostly – release them. In these moments, it sometimes works to switch roles with my kids. I’ll tell them it’s their turn to be parents, and I’m going to take a nap on the couch. This amuses them to no end, plus there’s the added benefit of tiny hands tucking you in with your favorite blanket, bringing you more water, singing you a few off-key lullabies.
I wouldn’t call it pampering, but maybe its second cousin.
2. Add another kid.
You know good old-fashioned parent math, right? That handy little law of addition/subtraction that promises the moment you alter the dynamic, peace arrives for a good hour or longer? Doesn’t matter which kid, doesn’t matter how many. Just swap out a body or two.
Invite over the neighbor girl. Call your girlfriends for a (distracted) lunch date. Switch kids on the regular. My friend’s 15-year-old loves to cook but often leaves the kitchen a mess, so I like to volunteer my kitchen if only for the fact that she almost always busts out an origami trick that leaves my own kids marveling quietly for minutes, rushing off to the craft table for paper and tape.
My point is this: rally the village. We needn’t go it alone.
I will say one last thing here: on the longest of days, I employ some version of all of the above and we manage just fine. We’re all happy and tired and fall into bed having lived the life of humanity: of getting on each other’s nerves, of minding the business of others, of parading around the house airing out our own sets of dirty laundry. Attempting to love excellently, falling short magnanimously.
When the ship wrecks, for me, is when those borrowed moments of peace aren’t spent wisely. If I’m storing them up to stare into a phone, drowning precious few exhales in a sea of voices and expectation. And so, I will say this: When you’re given quiet, stay quiet. When you’re granted space, take up your space. If time is offered, make it count.
Feeding souls > scrolling feeds.
Here’s to restful rest, Mamas.
Originally published HERE.
Erin Loechner is the founder of Other Goose, a worldwide homeschooling community for the early years. Her award-winning work has been showcased in The New York Times, Parenting, Huffington Post, and a two-season HGTV.com web special. She has spoken for and appeared in renowned international events for clients such as Walt Disney World, IKEA and Martha Stewart.