My oh my, the importance of a good time.
I got to say, its super easy for me to get wrapped up in my own thoughts, in my own head. Its so incredibly easy to get lost in all that goes on up in here. Add my son into the mix and double the fixation – I get completely lost in being a mom. I utterly lose myself in those baby blue eyes, and when he says “huggies” as he sees I’m getting particularly frustrated, forget it, I’m a complete goner. He’s my entire world, and I wouldn’t have it any other way – but it’s easy to get wrapped up in being a mom, and losing who you are when you’re not mothering.
For someone like me, someone with an anxiety disorder, this can be a good thing, it means I spend less time fixating on my usual anxieties, less time worrying about other things and more time distracted by my, usually screaming, bundle of joy. It could also be detrimental, it means I’ve now found something new to incessantly obsess about. It means I don’t always know how to lay back and let things be when it comes to my little one, and more so, it means that I sometimes forget to remember my own sense of identity.
Hell, sometimes I end up leaving the house having forgotten to dress like an appropriate member of society – who knew that going grocery shopping with marker on your face would get so much attention in the produce aisle. Or when I forget to put my big girl pants on and speak like an adult to my coworkers (you know, without explaining things to people in excruciating detail… because let’s face it, Jack probably already knew how to use the microwave, and no he didn’t really need me to annunciate all my words that clearly, it sounded condescending Janna, not helpful).
So how do you not lose who you are, or who you were, without kids? How do you be you, when the new you is a parent? DATE NIGHT (or if you’re single, then go out with your friends, the point is leave the cave!).
This last Friday we went out for my sister’s 25th birthday – like I mean got my makeup did, straightened my hair, put on my heels, and danced all night long (I mean literally all night, I couldn’t peel my shoes off my feet when I got home, it made me feel gloriously like a party girl).
Man, I forgot how good it feels to spend an hour and a half putting on makeup and incredibly uncomfortable heels – said no one ever… (okay except maybe my sister, she lives for that shit… she’s also not a parent). This is precisely why date night hardly ever happens in our household – or at least not a conventional date night. Our date nights usually consist of us sitting on the couch and watching something together on the television (this differs from non date nights because on non date nights he’s watching television and I’m reading a book… we’re wild, I know). Now, there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with sitting at home and watching movies on the couch, but I can do that pretty much any night after the baby goes to bed, its just the continuation of a regular day. If it’s the continuation of a regular day, then frankly I’ve never really left mom mode.
This is precisely what reminds me of how important it is to push myself past that ‘but I’m sooooo lazy to get dressed and leave the house’ moment, and get my ass into gear and out that front door. It’s important for my anxiety, it important for my identity, and frankly it’s important for my marriage (ps- there isn’t ANYTHING wrong with my marriage, its fan-fu*%ing-tastic, but sometimes it’s just as easy to lose who you are as a couple when all you ever do together is parent).
Going out and ‘adulting’ is like a refresher (and I say adulting in quotation marks because we’re more like silly adolescents again, going to watch a film, dinner dates, mini golf, bowling, whatever). I get to get away, focus on my relationship, act like ridiculously overqualified teenagers, and on top of that I get to regroup, recharge, and come back all smiles, hugs, and cuddles for my baby. I’m not the ball of stress who can no longer find herself because all she’s done for the past five days is work, clean, cook, and spend several hours, and nights, trying to convince a toddler that eating at 3am is NOT how we run shit in this household. It’s better for me, it’s better for my kid, and I know it’s better for my husband, cause five seconds into the date we’re all over each other – TMI, but damn he’s sexy, sorry not sorry.
Now if you don’t have a significant other, that’s totally cool too – go out with your friends, go out by yourself, just for the love of all that is holy – go out. Get out of the house. I know its easier to stay in, I know you’re tired, I know the bed and those cozy pajamas are calling your name, and they’re so close and its so comfy, but you wont feel any better in the morning. It’ll just be more of the same thing. So just as I’m going to tell myself the next time I’m making excuses about why I just can’t be bothered to put some mascara on and get my ass up and out, I’m telling you – Just DO It (sorry Nike). You owe it to yourself, and you owe it to your kid. Your sanity keeps everyone else sane – pay it some mind, take good care of it.
On the topic of dating – check out my post “4 Date Night Rules for Dating Someone with Anxiety”