How I Beat the Blues and Got My Parental Groove Back

Mom Moment 10

I had been feeling blue for a couple weeks. Things just seemed to keep piling up: budget stresses, a canceled work trip, a disagreement with my husband that dragged into several days of hurt feelings and resentment, a helpless sort of frustration over the thankless parenting tasks that take up my days and never reach completion. "Blue" is a bit of an understatement, really: I spent several days so crushed and miserable I could barely find the energy to get dressed.

Do you know that there's an actual medical diagnosis for this sort of thing? Apparently it's an adjustment disorder -- the short-term condition of being unable to adjust to a particular source of stress. Symptoms include being sad, having no energy, and eating all the sugary carbohydrates that it's possible to cram in your face-hole.

Me, I call it feeling shitty because, you know, things were kind of shitty. Here's how I decided to treat it: I ran away from home.

I basically did the middle-aged mom equivalent of throwing a can of beans in a red bandana, tying it on a stick, and hopping the nearest train: I packed some magazines and snacks, booked a hotel room on the coast with a giant Jacuzzi tub, and hit the road. Solo. And oh my god, it was wonderful.

Driving through misty autumn-tinged forests while listening to whatever I wanted on the CD player -- at whatever VOLUME I wanted? Bliss. Settling into a cozy and quiet hotel room where the toilet wasn't pre-seasoned with someone else's pee? Magical. Cruising through a tiny coastal town, stopping whenever and wherever I felt like it, before retiring to a silent room and soaking in a perfectly-clean tub while losing myself in the mindless chatter of an Us Weekly and savoring a cookie that I didn't even have to share? PRACTICALLY ORGASMIC.

I know you can't really run away from your problems, but for that one day, I felt like I had. There were no stacks of laundry, no meals to prepare, no deadlines to meet. No conversations. No requests. No one else's needs to consider. Nothing.

If it hadn't have been for the 11 a.m. checkout time the next morning, I think I'd still be there right now.

I left reluctantly, but it was good to come home. Later that night, I curled on the couch next to my husband and listened to the boisterous squawks of our children as they pretended to be ninjas, and I looked around at the familiar sights of our messy, chaotic household -- laundry already piling up, crumbs everywhere, my computer glowing with to-dos -- and I realized deep in my bones how very, very lucky I am.

Man, I needed that break. For the decompression, for the perspective, for the sheer luxury of it. I'm glad I left, and I plan to do it again.

Have you ever taken yourself on a mini-vacation? Would you, if the opportunity arose?

Image via Linda Sharps

time for you, stress


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Lovin... LovinJerseyMama

I think that's a great idea and one I will be using soon! I have never gotten a break from my kids since they were born. I have no family close by and lost all my friends once I had them. So I never asked for any help or a quick break. I am in dire need of one now though. Just so I can refresh myself from time to time and be a better parent :)

Melis... Melissa1508

That sounds wonderful!  I'm still breastfeeding so taking off right now is out of the question, but once we graduate to strictly bottles...Mama's going on a road trip!  haha  All parents need a little break every now and then!

Tendr... TendrelovinMaMa

I need this so bad right now. I feel like I am having an emotional and mental break down from all the demands of life. I know that's just life but I need a break from work cleaning my husband and our toddler. . .I keep wondering when it will be a day for me other than my birthday LOL. My hubby goes hunting all the time n does Guy stuff n I do nothing. Things have gotta change soon.

Donna Plumley Brubach

I used to do this all the time, I'd go to Taos for the weekend, walk around, get a massage, go horseback riding, hiking, whatever.  God it was awesome.  Unfortunately, I haven't had the money to go for awhile..., and I totally need to go!


Keya25 Keya25

Next time you get away, come to Florida (i know the flights gonna be pricey) BUT we can sit on the beach all day w nice fruity virgin drinks and eat all kinds of seafood and just BREATH!!! You ladies are ALL welcomed to come :)

nonmember avatar A

Linda Sharps, you are the best writer on this site. I cannot tell you how often your pieces resonate with me (and probably with a lot of other moms). I, too, had been feeling a little...thin (stretched taut like a rubber band about to snap) and I took the same kind of time off this past weekend. What a difference it made to, what my husband calls, my "whole well and goodness." Glad to know I'm not the only one who needs that kind of decompression time.
Please keep writing - I always look for your posts as they are standouts amidst what can be a lot of fluff.

lovem... lovemyson1224

I was just considering going to the movies by myself this weekend. I need a quick break I work from home and take care of a toddler and my husband works long hours. If we can't go on a date together then I am going to take myself on one.

Natashia Sheerin

I took a vacation kinda similar but I had another purpose. I was a bridesmaid in a wedding and I was gone from home for 5 days. When i came back i had a whole different Outlook on everything. Before I was on the brink of having a total pregnant hormonal breakdown. But i came home and my husband had cleaned the whole house that desperately needed it and my terrible two year old transformed to a sweet and cuddly happy to see momma little boy. It was just what I needed!

nonmember avatar CC

YES in one week I will be running away to YOUR city, alone - for 6 days! Oh my gosh, so excited but so nervous to be leaving my kiddos. I am also know 'deep in my bones' how insanely lucky I am but cannot wait to explore Portland, like a grown up, and have long girlfriend conversations! Yipeeee! And if I run into you, all the better :)

Tasha Elsnau

 Where would I go if I could take a mini-vacation? Well I wouldn't want to travel too far, so I'd go about 2.5 hours south of me. There is a couple smaller towns south of me that have antique, bead, candle, and book shops. They have some old homes you can tour and the motels in the area are affordable.

 Would I go if I could? I'd drop everything right this very moment and go.  For weeks I have been a taunt rubber band, yet in the last few days that rubber band is letting loose, and I am not liking the person I have been. Unless I can actually get a true moment to decompress I feel with where I am this very moment, my stress could push straight into depression. It's sad to admit, but I feel I am a mom on the edge. Getting even a day to just be, would be fabulous. Not just for myself, but for my family.

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