When was the last time you had a day off? If you’re like me, it was probably a pretty long time ago.

And for most parents, a day “off” is generally filled with activities like cutting peanut butter sandwiches into tiny pieces, mopping said tiny pieces from the floor, and dealing with diapers. Yes, that’s my glamorous life, too.

Well, on Monday I took the day off. I’d been feeling so tired lately—lacking energy, craving unhealthy food, and being (if I can admit it) kind of cranky. Okay, really cranky. I had workshop proposals to design, emails to answer, expense reports to fill out, projects to photograph and dinner to prepare. It felt like there weren’t enough hours in the day, and I wondered (for the hundredth time) whether this tentative balance between work and motherhood was ever going to work.

I think I felt like 99% of all mothers.

So on Monday, Keith and I had a review meeting at Anna’s nursery, where they give us a progress report on her activities (a glowing report!) and then we went to the Amsterdam Museum and to lunch at a favorite cafe. A date! I wore a dress. And heels. And felt, for the first time in a long time, that I wasn’t rushing to fit this and that into timeslots determined by the length of a nap.

Should I have been beavering away at those workshop proposals and project photos and emails and the other items on my mile-long to-do list? No, actually not. I needed to have some breathing space between me and my work—my work work and my parenting work—to talk about politics, books, art, Costa Rica, the amazing displays at the museum, history, alternative transportation and food. Not what’s for dinner, where’s Choo-Choo the stuffed monkey, can I get this done during morning nap or afternoon nap, and all the usual topics that crowd my mind.

That day was a pretty big deal for me, and although we say “let’s do it regularly!” I know that can be hard to do. But when I came back that night to a full email in-box and a table full of half-completed projects, I felt refreshed and (unexpectedly) full of ideas, like that pause had somehow recharged me.

I’d suggest you, too, might need something like a day off, whether you’re a parent or not. We all get bogged down in the daily minutiae, and it can be so so so hard to justify taking time off. And while a whole day might seem like a lot, I think it’s safe to say that an hour or two break could also help. Breathing space. Re-energizing space. Stepping back space.

Here’s to time off and renewed creative energy—and a happy Wednesday!

 

 

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