Women, specifically mothers, are like cars. We need fuel in order to run properly. It doesn’t matter if you’re a smart car, an affordable car, or a luxury car: you need fuel. Now, you may or may not have ever experienced what happens when you’ve ignored the dropping needle or the indicator light that means there is little or no gas left in your car. Unfortunately, I can tell you that despite your best efforts – and no matter how much you jerk your body forward – eventually your car will stop and it will not get going again until you refuel.
As a mom, you likely see to it that yourself – and perhaps many others – are properly fed. Whether you are a pro at meal planning like KCMB contributor Allison, or the sort of person that heats up a frozen waffle for dinner and calls it a hot meal, you DO still manage to remember to feed yourself and those you love. However, on occasion, I bet you also find yourself out of fuel … the kind of fuel that makes it possible to do the work of mommy-hood: wiping bottoms, folding laundry, re-folding laundry, grocery shopping with a toddler, paying for the items in the glass jars that your toddler knocked off the shelves, packing lunches, kissing boo-boos, reading Dr Seuss, pushing swings, playing dress-up, cleaning peanut butter off the television, wiping faces, arranging play dates, and all the other important duties too numerous to mention. Did you know that there is a fuel that makes it possible, even easier to move forward through the craziness of motherhood?
It’s called a break. How often do you take a break? A real break, not just something you see done with a Kit-Kat bar. I was quite shocked to learn that in motherhood, at times, there would not even be potty breaks. Even if I remember to lock the door, I have company. Those tiny little fingers waving at me underneath the door are there to remind me that I will not have a moment to myself until the youngest has graduated from high school. Or perhaps you are a working mom and you have a lunch break in which you have the opportunity for some refreshment and adult conversation; I bet that you could still use a break. Being a mom is tough. There are no sick days in motherhood. I remember having an infant to nurse, lunches to pack, and kids to drive to school while I battled the flu; there simply is no calling in. As moms, I think it takes us twice as long to get a over a cold because we don’t allow ourselves the rest needed to heal.
Recently, I got the break that I’d been needing. I found myself in the middle of no-where Illinois, in a town also known as Effingham. My husband was headed there on a business trip and I decided to go along. There is nothing much to see or do in Effingham, but St. Louis was on the way and that meant that I could drop my kiddos off with the folks and continue on to Pleasantville. Yes, the kids missed one whole day of school for this trip; no worries, though, because being the stellar mom that I am, I called ahead and made arrangements to get their work ahead of time.
Effingham is my new favorite place in the world (besides Kansas City, of course), because the only thing I could find there was a break. Here, I got a chance to really refuel. I put an outgoing message on my phone explaining that I could not be reached until Monday, and I ignored emails full of grocery coupons and PTA updates. I traveled with my husband to our modest yet modern accommodations and I enjoyed doing nothing. I encouraged my husband to take the car to keep me from doing anything that wasn’t restful. Luckily, there weren’t too many local attractions to tempt me to do otherwise.
I enjoyed a fantastic complimentary breakfast – one which was actually hot when I ate it. I did not have to share any part of it, nor did I have to get up sixteen times during the course of the meal to assist others in eating their breakfast or cleaning up their spills. It was simply divine.
I enjoyed the whirlpool, a long hot shower, a perfectly girly marathon of WHAT NOT TO WEAR on TLC … I even gave myself a manicure and a facial!
The day to myself was superb. I made phone calls to girl friends without interruption, I read, I wrote, I napped. It was all so rejuvenating! I put on my favorite maxi skirt and new accessories for a great dinner out with my man at a fantastic farm to table restaurant called Firefly Grill. I fell in love with this little place and felt perfectly pampered by the time our short business trip was over.
The best thing about this simple, affordable opportunity to refuel was how capable I felt upon my return to reality. I suddenly felt like I could handle three kids screaming at me at once while the phone rings and the buzzer on the dryer sounds. I no longer felt like I was going to blow a gasket. I had energy to face the day and all the peanut butter that there is to be spread. I was ready to tackle the chaos of motherhood! It is now my firm belief that women are indeed like cars; not only do we need fuel, but we need regularly scheduled maintenance.
I heard this quote at a recent conference that I attended which sums up my thoughts so perfectly… “As with your automobile, be alert to rising temperatures, excessive speed, or a tank low on fuel. When you face ‘depletion depression,’ make the requisite adjustments. Fatigue is the common enemy of us all – so slow down, rest up, replenish, and refill. Physicians promise us that if we do not take time to be well, we most assuredly will take time later on to be ill.” – Jeffrey R. Holland
Refueling doesn’t have to take the whole weekend, and it certainly doesn’t have to take place in Effingham. I have since learned how to refuel at Barnes and Noble in Zona Rosa, near fountains at Country Club Plaza, and even in the luxury of my own bedroom. I simply require a package of Milano cookies and a glass of sparkling pink grape juice. The tricky part is remembering to schedule time for yourself!
How and where do you refuel?