You’re tapped out. Your emotions are raw and anxiety high. You love snuggling with your little one but you are completely touched out. Your mind is cloudy and racing. You’re grateful for your partner and family but you feel like you’ve lost yourself.
You have an overwhelming urge to run away.
Days and even weeks like this are normal. It’s okay to be afraid of the changes that have taken place in your life. It’s normal to feel restricted by duties of motherhood. It’s not unreasonable to mourn your life as it was before.
Motherhood can make you feel like you’ve lost yourself. And in a way you have. You’ve shed the you that you were for the you that is a parent to your baby.
As long as these feelings are not disruptive to your day to day life and do not lead to feelings of self harm or become something darker like depression, you may just need a little self care. You are allowed to run away, for a little while.
I once knew a mother of four who jogged 6 miles every day. When I asked her how she got started she said that one day when her children were small she just wanted to run away. So, she did. She put on her sneakers, kissed her husband and children and she ran. She ran away every time she felt the urge.
If actual running isn’t your thing, you can run away in a different way. Sometimes we just need to shed the constraints of motherhood and expectation. There are so many ways we can get away, steal moments for ourselves that fill our empty cups so that we can return home full.
Run away to the coffee shop.
Jump in your car or take a walk to a nearby coffee shop. Enjoy your favourite coffee or tea with a good book. No books about work, no books about children, or parenting, or how to be a better wife. Bring a book about something you love, or an adventure to take you away. I hear great things about Ladybug and Café!
Read a book at home.
Find a quiet place (which might not be easy depending on how old your baby is). Get lost in a fictional tale. If you’re someone who enjoys reading, a good story can help you feel like you’ve had a little escape and spent time with good friends.
Sit on a patio, alone.
When the weather is right you can order an appy and a cocktail and sit on a patio. Bow Valley Ranche feels like an escape from the city and boasts a beautiful view of Fish Creek Provincial Park. If you’re into people watching, you should check out Royale. The location on 17th Ave was once the iconic Melrose Café but has been resurrected with a French brasserie inspired menu.
Go for a drive.
If driving is something you enjoy, take yourself on a little cruise. Feel the wind in your hair with the windows down or the sunroof open. Blast that gangsta rap and relish in the freedom of 4 wheels and a tank full of gas.
Go parking, solo.
If you’re sick of driving but still not ready to go home, go parking. The 14th Street parking lot at Nose Hill Park has a fabulous view of the city at night. This is a great option in the winter. Calgary looks even more beautiful covered in snow, just watch yourself driving up the sometimes rough road into the parking area.
Find a secret hideaway in nature.
In Calgary, we have so many gorgeous parks. Sandy Beach Park on the Elbow River is the perfect spot to sit by the water, skip rocks, reflect on life and your goals, or just clear your mind and exist in nature. You’ll return home feeling completely revitalized, just don’t forget the bug spray.
If sneaking away is unrealistic for you, make sure you are scheduling time for yourself. Book a babysitter regularly so you can get away. Go to a class you enjoy. Join a book club. Take yourself on a date. You need you time!
Starting a self care ritual that incorporates time for just you is an important habit for parents.
And tell any #momguilt to shove it. Sometimes, you just need to run away so you can come home again and be your best self.