Physical Breaks Are Nice, But It’s The Mental Breaks That Moms So Desperately Need

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All moms share the same hopes and dreams.

Happy, healthy children.
Bedtime without tantrums.
Hot coffee sipped in silence.
The patience of a Kindergarten teacher.
Rest for a week on the couch.

These mom dreams are ambitious. These mom dreams are universal. But every mom knows these dreams are not attainable.

Well, the first four might be…on a unicorn day. It is achieving the 5th and final dream—rest for a week on the couch—that is the most sought after albeit unfeasible dream that all mothers share.

The challenge, of course, is not being able to lay on the couch all day—I’m pretty sure I could sleep 12 hours straight if you just hand me a soft throw pillow and a 16lb weighted blanket—it is getting to do so.

With all the demands and stresses that mothers face, having the opportunity to do absolutely nothing is unheard of.

Unless, of course, divine medical intervention occurs. Perhaps you break your ankle while walking the dog. Maybe you trip on a rogue toy and sprain your knee.

Or possibly you birth a large human being out of a small orifice of your body.

I kid, we don’t get time off from motherhood for that miraculous feat. Regardless of how you do it, you’ll likely need a minor ailment to earn yourself a few days of rest.

So, when my orthopedic surgeon (Damn, when did I become “When my orthopedic surgeon…” years old? I digress.) said I needed a surgery that would require three weeks on the couch, I took his first available appointment.

Sure, I knew this would be a struggle for my husband.

Sure, I knew my kids wouldn’t help out as much as we’d need them to. Sure, I knew my ADD would kick in and I’d likely drive myself bonkers by the end of the first week, but this was my chance to finally live the mom dream. 

What would I do with all my free time on the couch doing absolutely nothing? Well, for starters, absolutely nothing. When I was doing that, I would catch up on my correspondence.

Finish one of the 17 parenting books sitting on my nightstand.

Finally find out why Rege-Jean Page left Bridgerton.

Learn what “yeet” means.

Train my phone to not type “ducking.”

In my mom dream, if time allowed, I would solve world hunger. Find a cure for cancer. Teach myself to needlepoint.

But, first, I would take a nap or two. Anything was possible with all this free time.

But, ladies, I’m here to tell you I attained the ultimate mom dream, and it was just okay.

I opted to have surgery on my hip to fix an old running injury, which resulted in three weeks of non-weight bearing, crutch-hobbling, couch-sleeping, bed-bound splendor.

And, let me tell you, he first 8 hours were glorious. Truly superb.

Fan-fucking-tastic, really. Everything I thought they’d be. I took my prescribed pain medication and then I napped. Did you hear me? I fucking napped! I woke up from that nap, sipped a hot coffee in silence, and binge-watched Schitt’s Creek.

This was it. I was living my best life.

And then something happened.

It was a low rumble, at first. Then, it got louder and louder as if it were getting closer. It suddenly stopped outside my window. A car door slammed. A child shrieked with laughter.

School was out.
The kids were home.
My day in the sun was over.

I learned very quickly that life doesn’t stop just because you stop for a brief moment.

Just because I was bedridden didn’t mean my children stopped asking—demanding—for things. No, I cannot get you another snack.

I can barely go to the bathroom without getting pee on myself right now. My children still screamed, yelled, fought, and whined as if I could do anything to help them. I couldn’t, and that was the problem.

The only tool I had in my stupid parenting toolbox was my voice.

I yelled from the couch “LISTEN TO YOUR FATHER OR NO DESSERT!” as he attempted to feed dinner to three merciless children. I promptly ordered a megaphone to help myself feel heard.

Amazon also delivered a grabber to help me pick up small objects off the floor.

It wasn’t strong enough to pick up the screaming three-year-old, but it did help move Legos out of my way as I hobbled to the bathroom, so I gave it a good review.

What I learned from living the ultimate mom dream is that—yes, physical breaks are nice—but it is the mental breaks that us moms so desperately need and deserve.

Laying on the couch rested my legs, but it didn’t rest my mind from the worry and strain and excruciating demands that my children create. To achieve that, I needed more than a day to myself. I needed my village.

As I recovered from surgery, friends brought food. Family watched the kids. My husband helped me shower. Ladies—I cannot emphasize this enough—find yourself a husband who will help you shave your legs. This is a real man. Dainty as fuck in his approach with the razor, but manly for his willingness to try.

With the help of my village, my load got a little easier.

My children didn’t stop whining but they were fed, and my legs weren’t quite as hairy.

As moms, we put so much pressure on ourselves and carry so much weight (and guilt, obviously), that motherhood often feels like more of a burden than a joyride.

We desperately seek a break from the day-to-day demands, hoping that if we get it, everything will fall in line. But what I learned is that I don’t need days to lay on the couch doing nothing.

Sometimes I just need help from a friend, a sister, or my husband. Hurt hip or not, I need my village to get me through motherhood.

My mom dream quickly changed from “Rest for a week on the couch” to “Rest easy knowing my family is loved and cared for.”

So, Moms, whatever you do, don’t be afraid to lean on your village.

Get the support you need to lighten your load. Call a friend, take the nap, break your damn ankle if you need to. You deserve it, you really do.

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