There are so many different types of people in this world; it’s what makes the world so great. Introverts, extroverts, people with OCD, messy folks, people who must be around others, people-pleasers, worriers, those who seem to always be “up” and happy, moody people. I tend to be a little bit of everything. Take a bottle and fill it half full with laughter, add a hint of melancholy, a dash of clueless, a tablespoon of fun, a pinch of people-pleasing, a heaping spoonful of annoying, top it off with a cup of “she can do it all,” then shake vigorously and VOILA! You’ve got Brooke (all of the fun without the morning-after headache). I’m a personality “mutt” if you will. The problem with a pound puppy personality is that at some point all of those traits clash and you burn.
Brothers For Sale?
Shel Silverstein’s "Sister For Sale" is by far my favorite poem (oh, don’t act so surprised! Y’all knew I wasn’t going to quote some Edgar Allan Poe fanciness).
One sister for sale!
One sister for sale!
One crying and spying young sister for sale!
I’m really not kidding,
So who’ll start the bidding?
Do I hear the dollar?
Oh, isn’t there, isn’t there, isn’t there any
One kid that will buy this old sister for sale,
This crying and spying young sister for sale?
I’ve loved this poem since I was a kid when I changed the word "sister" to "brother" as my big brother was always acting, well, like my big brother. Little did I know that I would recite it over and over again when I grew up and became a stay-at-home mom. Don’t get me wrong, I fully realize the blessing it is to be a stay-at-home mom (and I really wouldn’t sell my boys). I appreciate the sacrifice of my husband as he works tirelessly to allow me to be home with them. I love being with them, they are my world, but THIS. MOMMA. IS. TIRED! Like, half of the time I look like I could be an extra on The Walking Dead tired. I wouldn’t even need to spend hours in the make-up chair, just yell “action” and I’ll slowly trudge my way across the set. An Oscar-worthy performance, I’m sure. Like “Pantry Mom” Ashley Gardner said so well, “They never go away. They’re always there.” Trust me, I thank God that my boys are with me, hugging me, giving me kisses, talking nonstop, giggling at their own farts, but sometimes I just need to be alone. Untouched. Quiet. Still.
A few weeks ago I definitely had one of those "Brothers For Sale" days and I reached my breaking point. I called my husband around 8pm and told him that I was going to call our sitter because I just needed to be out of the house and it was highly irresponsible to leave my children home alone (I do have parenting standards). He excitedly agreed and mentioned a date night. God bless him...how could I gently break it to him that I didn’t even want to be around him? Honestly, I just said a dead-panned “no” and he responded that he’d be home soon. He walked in and I instantly walked out the door. I don’t even think I said goodbye. I literally was running away from my home because I needed a break. I didn’t know what that break was going to look like, I just knew that I needed to just be with me. I cranked up my minivan and roared out of the driveway. About 10 minutes into my drive I realized that I was listening to Veggie Tales on the DVD player. I angrily punched on XM and after deciding that Mercy Me wasn’t going to cut it, I cranked up some Hip Hop and drove like a boss to WaWa. Yup, I said it. I went to WaWa because their chicken salad sub was calling my name and I was HANGRY. As I munched on my sub, my van auto piloted to the motherland. That big red bullseye lit up the night sky and I knew that I had a full hour to wander the aisles of Target before they closed. Alone. Browsing. Perusing. Then it hit me, I could either walk the aisles of Target and be around people (the whole point of my walkout was to get away from people) or I could buy a movie that I wanted to watch and put my van’s DVD player to good use. You can bet that I chose the latter.
Parking Lot Loser or Mommy Winner?
I purchased The Duff off of the clearance rack (I may have also bought a purse and some ice cream) and I headed off to find a parking spot away from prying eyes and psychopaths. I took Veggie Tales out of the DVD player, I won’t confirm nor deny that I hurled it in the back of my van while saying grown-up words, and I slid my movie in. I reclined my seat all the way back and spent the next two hours laughing at what was a pretty good, if juvenile, movie. I enjoyed my ice cream and quiet time and I did a pretty good job at ignoring the pity stares of the high schoolers that walked past my van. I’m sure that they made fun of me, I mean a thirty-something chick watching a movie alone in a minivan could be quite depressing, but for me it was GLORIOUS! It was exactly what I needed and that was simply a break. A quiet break doing what I wanted to do, not what I needed to do. Simply being alone to gather my thoughts. I loved every minute of it.
Even though I was really enjoying my wild night in the parking lot, as I watched the movie my thoughts wandered to my boys, my husband. The kids were already asleep when I had my mommy meltdown but my husband had come home for me and didn’t even get the courtesy of a goodbye before I left on my little adventure. I knew that I had to start taking time for me BEFORE a meltdown, not during it, but I wasn’t sure exactly how that would look. How do you take time for you when it’s pretty much always just you with three adorable boys who need you? I had to think outside the box because while I would love to go get a mani/pedi, that’s just not feasible when your husband works like mine (and truth be told I bite my nails and hate wearing shoes so it’s really a waste of money).
What I came up with works beautifully and it gives me a daily break, should I need one, and I usually do. It’s ingenious, it’s never been thought of before, you’re going to love this.
It’s…..my front porch swing.
I know, boring, but it works for me, for us. It’s my little escape and my boys know that when mommy’s on the front porch swing that she needs a minute or an hour. They’re pretty good at respecting my “swing space” and they’re equally awesome at cuddling up on that swing with me after I’ve decompressed. It’s simple but sometimes simple is all you need. So, go on, be like me (I normally don’t give that piece of advice) but find something simple that allows you to be you again. Join me in putting yourself in a mommy time-out. You’ll thank me later.
Brooke is warrior mama to three rambunctious boys, wife to an honest, hardworking man, daughter to one of the greatest humans our great God ever created, and friend to anyone who talks to her. She's has been dubbed "the most inappropriate friend." She lives for a good belly laugh and to bring laughter to others - laughter feeds her soul. She loves the outdoors (not like hiking or rock climbing - she's not that cool - more like standing in the sunshine listening to nature!) and she finds God in the simple things.