The best advice you’ll ever get as a parent: take the entire day, and night, to yourself.
Whenever grandparents would babysit, I would rush around trying to do everything. I’d clean the house, workout, work on some writing, study a bit of French. In the early days, I’d either sleep, or lay on the couch watching TV, half asleep, just trying to survive. There is no better feeling than sitting on the couch in your jammies, eating snacks no one is stealing, and watching your favourite TV show. To think I took this type of relaxing for granted.
I may have been getting some things done, but I still felt exhausted and like I was drowning, constantly. It didn’t seem worth it to continue to try to get everything finished as fast as I could in the little time that I had to myself. Besides, my house was completely trashed in ten seconds once my toddler returned home. The level of clean and tidiness I was reaching for when she was away was not sustainable, which is a completely different topic. So, when my husband was away on a trip and my daughter was at her grandparent’s for a sleepover, I did something I hadn’t done in a very long time: I did absolutely nothing.
I did some things that needed to be done like making supper and a few dishes, but I didn’t try to write 5,000 words, or study, or run myself into the ground trying to clean the entire house from top to bottom. I sat on that couch and watched TV and read and did everything I used to do when my husband went away on his annual snowboarding trip.
At first, I felt weird. The house was too quiet. I felt like I was wasting my time and that I should be taking advantage of the free time by trying to make last minute plans with friends, or do something productive. But, I held steady. I told myself to just relax and do whatever I wanted to in that moment. That meant lying on the couch, eating snacks, and watching that TV. It also meant that my mind start get bored (I also got a little fidgety and twitchy, which is a little concerning that that was my body’s response to total quiet and relaxation) I felt like I could write, again. So, I did that. Because it felt right.
I went to bed that night feeling a little weird, but relatively satisfied with my evening. The next morning, I woke up feeling refreshed, cheerful, and exactly how my old self…