#Momtruths Episode 1: Can Moms Ever Truly Relax- by Allie Szymanski
Before becoming a mom, whenever I felt like I needed a little break, I’d make the entire day a day of relaxation. I’d sleep in, go have breakfast somewhere, get my nails done. I’d come home, put on my robe and become one with my sofa, binge-watching true crime docu series and lifetime movies. It was so easy to relax. My job wasn’t exactly high-stress, so switching off from work mode was effortless. Those were the days.
Since becoming a mom, I find it physically impossible to relax. The first few months after having my son, I was bombarded with that unrelenting phrase “sleep when baby sleeps”. The concept of that phrase annoys me for so many reasons, all of which I will cover in this rant:
First off, how am I supposed to relax on a time limit?? Infants sleep in short intervals and throughout the day; my son would nap for about 20-25 min at a time. The pressure to fall asleep quickly enough so that I’d actually get a real nap in before my infant son woke up kept me awake. Then there were all of the things I needed to do around the house, and I’m not talking scrubbing the floors and dusting the tops of ceiling fan blades, there certainly wasn’t much time for any of that. I mean barely managing to get dirty dishes into the dishwasher and wiping the little puddles of spilled formula from the countertops was about all I could piece together in the time allotted. As my son got older, there were less naps but they lasted longer, so I gradually gained a new sort of freedom during my long days. I now had two little chunks of time, one in the morning, one in the afternoon, to myself. Did I use either one of them to relax? Hell no. I showered, worked on a blog piece, cleaned the kitchen, folded laundry, etc.
“The pressure to fall asleep quickly enough so that I’d actually get a real nap in before my infant son woke up kept me awake.”
When my son turned 18 months, he went down to one good nap right smack in the middle of the day. I now had TWO CONSECUTIVE HOURS all to myself. Did I relax this time? Nope. I decided to start my own business. So as far as “relaxing” goes, I can only really do that at night after my son goes to bed…right?….
”well, yes right after I load all of the pots and pans and plates from dinner. Let me just put the 2 million toys scattered across my living room away real quick. Just have to take the dog out one last time before she goes to bed. Oh, and my husband’s work clothes are still in the dryer. Damn, I forgot to pay the electric bill….”Ok, now it’s 10pm and I can barely keep my eyes open. I fill up the tub, scoop some relaxing bath salts in and finally put my head back and close my eyes. I clear my mind to allow relaxing thoughts in….”tomorrow, don’t forget to stop at the store to get milk. Sebastian needs diaper rash cream, too. He has a play date at 10, so we have to leave by 9:30 to get there in time. Don’t forget to pack his snack for the ride there. DON’T FORGET to register him for toddler time at the library. Speaking of library, his books are due tomorrow. Should I stop there before the play date or on the way home? If I stop on the way home he’ll be too hungry and cranky. Ok I’ll stop on the way in, so now we have to leave at 9:15, not 9:30…..”
It’s impossible. I feel like I go through the motions of relaxation, but can’t turn my mom brain off. Even as I’m writing this, I’m in the bath “relaxing”.
So my question is, are there any mamas out there who truly feel that they can actually relax? No matter how near or far we are from our kids, that constant churning of the mom gears is there. Will it stop once my son is a grown man? Or will I then be an old lady, sitting in a bath, writing a blog post about how I haven’t relaxed in 30 years?
Hi! I’m Allie Szymanski, a local mom born and raised on Long Island. I got married to my husband, John, in 2014 and we had our son, Sebastian, in 2017. I am a sahm and also own my own apparel company, The Mermaid’s Tail. I make Long Island Mama shirts and sweatshirts that help raise funds for The Postpartum Resource Center of New York to support Long Island moms who struggle with perinatal mood & anxiety disorders, including postpartum depression. I also run a mommy blog, Long Island Millennial Mama!
You can find Allie at: https://www.instagram.com/longislandmillennialmama or check out her shop at https://www.instagram.com/themermaidstailshop/