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May Stress: Moms – YOU Need a “Hall Pass”

By Lisa Barr

Let that shit go. 

Wash, Rinse, Repeat.

I said (using my Outside Voice): LET THAT SHIT GO.

Here’s a brief summation of all my close Mom friends’ issues this past week alone: ACT prep/tutor/tests, high school finals, college finals, dance/play rehearsals, Prom weekend “car wash” (dress/hair/makeup/nails/wax), camp forms, car trouble, migraines due to wacky weather, carpool issues, Can You Believe that Mom Said horror stories, travel sports trumping family time, dinner/dinner/dinner, bills & taxes, college housing demands, summer internships, book tour stress, high school couple “break-up”, bad grades, dog needs surgery, knee needs replacement, sick kids while dealing with heavy work load, iffy mammogram results, ‘why can’t I fit into my jeans’ concerns, slacker husband, teen ‘tude, school wrap up sign-up (field day, graduation ceremony/graduation party planning), and ‘Le Mother’s Day Plan’.

Yes, the last one is a stressor too. Mother’s Day. The joke’s on us, isn’t it? Let’s be honest: Every day is Mother’s Day. We are ALWAYS on duty, a 24/7 full-service one-stop shop. Always. So, here’s what I’m thinking, and yeah, it’s a bit radical, but I’m going to gift it to you anyway … a Hall Pass, a reminder to give yourself a much-needed break in the middle of all the crazy. As in, you have no other option but to take it. What the heck – I’m even going to go out on a limb and hashtag it: #MomHallPass 

You are a great Mom, even on those days when you think you’ve fallen short. You are a great wife, even on those days when you fantasize pulling off a Thelma & Louise. You are a great daughter, even on those days when you avoid your parent’s call because you “just can’t deal.”

What you are, what I am, what my bestie is … is depleted. And in layman’s term: tired, wiped, exhausted. And the month of May, with all its blossoming flowers, shows us no mercy.

Here’s where I’m going with this … Why wait for Mother’s Day (May’s lone olive branch), for the requisite bouquet, the maybe-breakfast in bed, the maybe-someone else in the house doing laundry/dishes/errands, the cards, the extra goodies. The one Sunday allegedly dedicated to you – unless, of course, you are a Sports Mom – and that day still goes to the team. What are we waiting for?

The Tired Mom phenomenon, I’m afraid, is glaring in klieg lights: Everyone else in your life takes first, second, third place, while you can barely cross the Finish Line.

It’s high time for some no-nonsense self-care. No one’s going to give it to you – so I am. Here’s your Hall Pass, Girlfriend. Note-to-Self: Just. Do. It. 

  1. Don’t stress about dinner– order in, especially if it’s one of “those’ days. Why wait, order in TODAY. Did I mention it’s National Mom Hall Pass Day? If Facebook can coin National Yogurt Day or National Manicure Day — so can I.
  1. Next time you go to the grocery store – ask yourself, “What do I want?” — The first time I did that, after two of my three daughters went off to college, I was lost … I didn’t have any clue what I wanted. It was all about what my kids like, my husband likes. One grocery shopping … that’s all. Start there. Make it about YOU. This will force you to remember what it is you actually like … and I promise, kale does not make it into the Top 10.
  1. If your kid is not following the “Plan” – let it go. I’m personally working on this. I tried it yesterday and I felt so much better, and my daughter felt so much better. (She told me so). Win-win. It’s their life, their choices, their successes and failures, their life lessons. I’m a saver … but sometimes you gotta stand back, buckle your seatlbelt, and let them save themselves.
  1. Even if you have NO TIME, schedule coffee/wine with the girls – or whoever your Best Girl is, the one who laughs with you, listens, and sees you—and vice-versa. I’ve been under intense deadline pressure lately and all I have been doing is saying NO to everyone these days, avoiding calls—and taking them only if I’m driving, just to get my overwhelming amount of work done, and I’ve been uber-miserable, and admittedly grouchy. Girl Time IS the healer, coffee and wine are the magic ingredients. Stop in your Crazy Tracks, and make time with your best girl.
  1. Sex. You’re so tired … the last thing you want … Just do it. If it’s not with your significant other, then find that special time for yourself. (Yes, I did just write that). It’s all part of self-care. And if sex isn’t on the table … then get into a bathtub with candles and your fave music, and just veg … The key is, it’s your time, your body. The part of you that belongs to you … the woman (not Mom)—yes, she’s in there somewhere. Let her out.
  1. Buh-bye Peloton, the treadmill, the trainer, and dictator Spin cyclists. That’s work/torture … if weather permits, take a walk/stroll to nurture your soul, with your dog or no dog, but definitely with your music and NO RETURNING CALLS.
  1. I’m still working on this one … I’m Lisa Barr, and I’m an iPhone-aholic. I LIVE on it for work/kids/everything else. Take an hour – just one (not a lifetime) – off your phone/Facebook/Insta and the rest of those time/energy suckers and just hear the rhythm of your inner voice – the true connection. If you listen to you, then I promise others will follow suit.
  1. Demands … my husband tells me every day – just say NO. I’m the quintessential YES WOMAN. Guilt is my middle name. I hate hurting anybody, and I lose sleep over it. But choosing to say No when you truly feel it, is best for everyone. Saying Yes but meaning NO leads to depletion, anger, and resentment.
  1. BUT, always say YES to you … it’s not selfish, it’s the greatest gift you can offer. Do you want a massage – do it. Do you want to buy that little dress you’ve been eyeing or those shoes – ABSOLUTELY YES. Don’t wait for that special occasion. Do you want a glass of wine before 5 p.m. – have a rosé at lunch? Umm, yes, please. I was so stressed the other day by so many demands – work and family combined — that I just said “Enough. I’m SO done. And I turned off my phone, shut my computer, grabbed my dog into my arms and watched a Netflix guilty pleasure, a show that my husband hates (not on our ‘list’) in the middle of the day! Huge departure for me – but afterward, I felt great, guiltless, and energized to take on my world.

Here’s the deal, my friends. Sometimes we just need a break and our lives simply won’t allow it. The raw truth is, we can blame everyone else for feeling mentally and physically wasted, but it’s on us — WE won’t allow it.  We are afraid to let go of those things that “define” us, shackle us, To-Do List us.

When you do decide to let go of the overwhelming details and make a real commitment to YOU … one day turns into two, two into three. I’m not preaching here. This blog is as much for me as it is for you. If I can do it – and we’re talking Type-A perfectionista, stickie-note Queen — then you can do it too.

Here’s my proposal: Why go solo? Let’s Let That Shit Go together. Yeah, let’s Groupon this. YOU, Me, and the Mom Next Door – We CAN do this, do US first. Not tomorrow, not some lamo Mom Diet Monday Morning resolution, but today. Starting right NOW.

Lisa Barr is the editor and creator of GIRLilla Warfare and author of the award-winning novel Fugitive Colors

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