Do moms of young children ever really relax? I know that as a mom of a toddler, that I devote most of my life to, I try to take time every once in awhile to pamper myself and to relax. I go out to get my nails done, I take some time to shop by myself, I have a girl’s night, I wake up early to work out, or I simply take a nap!
I know as a stay at home mom, lots of people would probably say, “don’t you have lots of free time?” My answer to that would be no, not really. I love staying home with my son, and yes it does give me freedom to spend time with him, but it does not give me free time for myself. When he naps I do endless loads of laundry, I clean the rest of the house that gets trashed every day, I water my flowers that seem to always be dying, and I occasionally make time to write. It’s not that I don’t ever enjoy doing these things, but they do get a little monotonous day in and day out. It’s all worth it to spend every day home with my baby boy. Plus I would still be doing these things even if I had a job, they would just pile up more than they already do and I wouldn’t get to spend as much time with my son.
Anyways, back to the relaxing. As young moms do we ever actually relax? I have noticed lately that the things I do for myself that are supposed to be relaxing are actually quite the opposite. I went on a manager’s business trip this past weekend with my husband. Silas stayed with my parents, so we had the whole weekend to relax and just be together. Friday morning the men had a meeting and the wives all got to go to the spa and be pampered. I had a 75-minute massage and a pedicure booked; I was ready to relax and clear my head. I don’t know about most women or just people in general, but as much as massages feel good to me, they are not relaxing! The first thing I always think about is being completely naked with a stranger in the room. My first few massages I did still wear underwear, but I think the last couple I’ve done, I have tried not to feel weird about it and just decided to bare it all. Once I get over the naked thing, I start to think about how this massage should make me fall asleep, but in thinking that I certainly can’t make myself fall asleep. I think about every tiny little thing that I’ve done that day, or that week and analyze everything. I then think about why my masseuse keeps rubbing the same freaking spot until it begins to hurt! Do I have a really big knot there? And if so, why do I have a really big knot there?
Finally she has me turn over on my back so she can start on my front. At this point I know it is impossible that I will ever fall asleep so I start to make conversation with my masseuse. I ask her why my muscles are grinding together and she tells me that it’s most likely because I don’t stretch enough. She’s right! I never stretch anymore. I tell her I also carry around a 30 lb 2 year old all day and she asks me how many massages I get normally. I tell her this is my first one this year, and she seems very surprised and says I need to take care of my body better; it’s the only one I’ll get. May I also mention that I have really started to notice at this point how often she tries to shake out my shoulders and my arms and hands. Apparently I am very tense even though I am trying my hardest to relax. That’s the real problem though, when we try our hardest to relax, we actually tend to make our bodies tenser. She finishes the massage and waits outside the room for me to get dressed. All I can think about at this point is how amazingly greasy my entire body is! What can I do to get all of this off? There is a shower in the room, but upon quick inspection I realize that it is probably her personal shower and should not be used by guests. I settle for wiping my arms and legs down with a towel and slip my clothes back on.
When I get back downstairs to where the rest of the wives are gathered waiting for their spa services I am asked how it went. I tell them it was nice and that my masseuse did a good job, which was all true actually. It was a nice massage and she did do a good job. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy the massage at all, and it did feel good. When I started to hear the responses of other women as they came out of their massages I thought to myself, “maybe something is wrong with me”. All the other women talked about how amazing and relaxing their massage was and how they were falling asleep towards the end. I thought back on how I hear this from a lot of people while after they get a massage, but surely I can not be the only one that doesn’t find a stranger rubbing my naked body non relaxing!
With all this said I began to realize it’s not just massages that make me tense. When I get a manicure, I have really started to notice that the manicurist will try to shake out my hand and will continuously have to tell me to relax. Maybe it’s not the situation, maybe it’s just that I am always on edge. I think as a young mom, when I am away from my son I am constantly thinking of what he is doing. I think about if he’s eating well, if he’s getting a long nap in, and if he is just generally happy and okay with being away from me. I thought about all of this and realized that I think the only time I am really relaxed is when I’m home with my son and I know that he is having a good day. Yes, there are numerous other things going on. Yes, I have lots of household chores to do. And lets be real here, yes, sometimes we have hard days and neither one of us are happy campers. But when all is said and done, as a momma of a 2 year old, the only circumstance that makes me happy and completely relaxed is being home with my family and knowing that we are all content with one another.
Now isn’t that how it’s supposed to be? Shouldn’t we want to be with our loved ones and be content and relaxed when we are with them? Sure it is nice to get away with my husband every once in awhile, but we shouldn’t have to leave and go do something else in order to feel relaxed. As mommas we are wonderfully blessed and we should find peace and comfort in that. Walking through the grocery store yesterday, an elderly man stopped me in an aisle to tell me how precious my son was and went on to say numerous times that I am amazingly blessed. I have to say I wholeheartedly agreed with him, but do we really take it all in and thank the Lord every moment of every day for those wonderful little blessings? Do we thank Jesus that we get to be with our babies, or do we just long for a moment of relaxation? I’m not saying all of this so that you’ll think I’m perfect and just always want to be at home with my child, or to make you feel bad about needing some time to relax. I have days that I think I need a day of relaxation away from home. But this past weekend showed me that I don’t need a weekend away to relax. All I need is to be at home with my family, in the arms of my Father and just be held. So the next time you are feeling stressed, know that you are wonderfully and amazing blessed by the Lord even on your hardest day, and just relax Momma!