Mom's day off
What would you do with a day off? A real day off- with no responsibilities? 
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I asked my closest mom friends how they would spend a day off and almost all the responses I received centred on three elements – wine, sleep and reading. I expected far more intricate and expensive ideas but it seems us moms have quite simple needs – and a little peace and quiet would be very cherished. Taryn Ras, a stay-at-home mom to three boisterous boys in Centurion says that she’d spend her day lounging on a balcony overlooking the ocean, devouring a book or two, along with sushi and strawberry daiquiris. She feels that taking time off from the responsibilities of her mommyhood reminds her that she does deserve that time, and that it makes her a better mom.

A juggling game 

Our lives require us to be focused and dedicated: to our jobs, our lifestyles, our children, our partners, friends and families. Our work does not end when the office lights go out, and it’s probably likely that most of us feel a twinge of guilt when we do take a moment, just for ourselves. Take the guilt, mix in some work deadlines, grocery lists as long as your arm and your son’s out-of-sync sleep schedule and, well, it’s no surprise so many of us are feeling burnt out.

Guilt-free time off

So how do we carve out time just for ourselves? It’s obvious that we need to make me-time a priority, but it seems almost impossible! There is a range of service providers available overseas that help you do this, but while regular childcare and daycare providers are common in South Africa, professional emergency or once-off childcare services are few and far between. Perhaps a business like USA’s Mummy’s Day Off hasn’t come to the fore in SA yet but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a niche for it. One mom, Durbanite Kerri Swart, says that she’d happily pay for someone to “take your family out for the day, look after them and keep them happy... Only catch is – they’d have to be moved out of the house for the day so that we have the house to ourselves!”

Make it happen

Until such time as someone rather clever fills that niche, we need to make our own emergency support structure though. Here are a few tips on how to make mom’s day off happen for you:

  • If you are a working mom, book yourself a day’s leave. Working moms know, all too well, that the majority of their leave is swallowed by family responsibilities, juggling school holidays and trying to be there for every single school event. Take just one day, for you.
  • Secondly, secure childcare that you trust. That’s often the most difficult part, so why not try a relay system? For one day, let your partner carry the load of parenting. Alternatively, you could rally together with some of your closest mom friends, and give each other a day off. Whichever you choose, make sure you feel happy to hand over the mom reins for a day – it will mean you get to relax properly, reassured that your children are in good hands.
  • If your children are old enough, explain to them that you will be away for the day. Let them know where you will be and that you will call them once during the day to check on them. Reassure them that you’ll fetch them at a pre-determined time, and stick to it. Now, about your mobile phone... It is normal to want to check on your children as often as possible during your day off. Stop it. You will have ensured that they are in the best possible care. If there’s an emergency, you will be called. Call your children once during your day off to check on them but beyond that, put your phone down and stop checking Twitter. Let go of being connected for once.
  • Set yourself a structure for the day. If that means setting up an appointment for a pedicure or spending some time by the pool, do it. Make your required appointments and set aside definite times to do things. By setting yourself a task list for your day off, you will walk away with that same sense of accomplishment that you get from ticking off items on your to do list every normal day. Sometimes it’s difficult to break the routine, so just adjust it for your day off!

Even if you’re taking your day off to catch up some silly television or lie on the couch eating ice cream, drop the guilt and know that you’re doing it for your own peace of mind. Moreover, you’re doing it for your children.

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