Chronicles of the Off Duty Mom

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Last week, I was at home alone for just over an hour, before I went to the dentist. Ok, that’s a big deal for me. I think since my kids were born, I’ve been home alone maybe 5 or 6 times in four years! Look, it felt weird, and strange that the house was quiet but I decided it was time to let it all out.

I turned on some music, blasted it at full volume and danced around my house ~ and not dancing while I’m mopping, or dancing while I’m washing dishes ~ dancing like no-one was watching, dancing like it mattered, and JUST dancing, not doing anything else house or mommy related! (I hope no-one was watching that is because that would be slightly embarrassing) Let me tell you ~ IT WAS LIBERATING. It has been christened my Mommy Dance Jam.  For about an hour there, I was back to my twenty-something , carefree self and it was glorious.

I then drove to the dentist and BLASTED my music so loud, played air guitar, head banged and sang at the top of my lungs to Timbaland! Very entertaining for the traffic? Maybe, but seriously, it was the first time I’ve driven alone for maybe 6 months, without one of my little ninjas in the back.

Now before you all think I’m gone a little crazy…

I wrote a blog a little while ago for my friend Brett’s blog series about parenting small children (If you wanna read it, it’s here: http://brettfish.wordpress.com/2013/05/09/taboo-topics-parents-of-small-children-meet-candi-fourie/ ) and one of the things that I mentioned on there, was that in the middle of trying to survive without sleep in the beginning stages of your motherhood journey (and as you mature into motherhood), you can forget who you are.

I can tell you out right ~ for the last, going on now, 5 years, I’ve forgotten who I was before I had my babies. It is like when I had my first baby, I was automatically all-consumed as a mother and everything else was lost in the black hole of eternity of what had gone before and who I was before.

For example, I really love to dance. I’m not that good but ever since high school, my down time was to put on a tune (or seven) and groove around the house, and sing my heart out. I didn’t remember that until I did it for the first time, for a long time, the other day.  I dance with my kids all the time but they have preference on what the music choice is (right now, it’s one of three on repeat ~ The Lumineers, Maroon 5 or Bruno Mars.) Of course, there are times at home when my kids are napping that I could possibly put on a tune or two, but firstly, I don’t want to risk waking them up and secondly, the couch (ok, I’m lying, the ironing or the washing or the cleaning, but let’s pretend: couch) calls me and my time out is really not a time out at all.

Another thing I love to do is read. I NEVER get time during the day to sit with a big glass of Coca Cola and tuck into a great book. Again, down time isn’t really down time at all. Read when I get into bed, you say. Well, great idea except once I’m horizontal in bed, I can only manage to keep my eyelids open for about three paragraphs and then, I’m asleep. I remember reading well into the early hours of the morning, really getting stuck into good books. Now I’m awake in the early hours of the morning still, but there ain’t no reading happening besides trying to see the markings on an Avent bottle when measuring my daughter’s nightly drink.

Am I ok with who I’ve become and the responsibilities that comes with? Of course! I’m loving being a mommy ~ it’s an immense blessing. I understand it’s a life stage ~ I’m walking through, as a parent, some of the most intense (time-wise) ages in a child’s life right now and I’m game for that. I’m so proud and grateful to be a mommy. My little impromptu solo dancing session just made me think about my life and how it’s evolved. Who was I before I defined myself as a mommy and had my babies? What did I like doing before I had kids?

I’m encouraging you mommies out there to take time every once in a while, to return to and identify with who you were before motherhood ran away with you. Go and do something that you did before your life was being chief bottle washer, head of the laundry department, executive chef of all things pureed and keeper of hours of non-existent sleep. After all , the person you were before is part of the journey that made you the mommy you are today.

I don’t do it often enough and hey, I get that my kiddies are young and I might have more time as they head to school etc. BUT this little hour I had this past week to really check in with my pre-mommy self, was refreshing. Try it. If I see you in the traffic, jamming, believe me, I get it. I’ll hoot in support! The off duty mommy moments are rare ~ sometimes, a mommy has to turn back the clock and let it all out. I’m right there with you, sister.