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When a Mama Needs Some Space: Advice From a Mom in Meltdown Mode

I took my three-year old on a date to the Franklin Theatre’s showing of The Muppet Christmas Carol over the holidays. Mommy needed it as much as she did—mostly because I played the role of milk cow for my snuggly four month old since she emerged from the womb. (Moo.) As my daughter, wide-eyed, watched Scrooge humbugging through the streets, she kept saying, “He needs alone time.”

I probably should add that the week before this I had a mini-meltdown in between milkings and laundry and meal preparations. In order to calm myself down, I told my toddler, “Mommy needs alone time.” In other words? Scrooge reminded her of mommy in meltdown mode.

Space. We all need it. Sometimes it’s physical space. For example — when I am touched all day by dirty and boogery hands then find myself in need of some space when my husband wants to get frisky.

Sometimes it’s mental space. Occasionally, when I’m social-media’d out (especially during political season), the phone gets banished to the darkened bedroom while I pour myself a bottle glass of wine.

But as a mother? It’s not always possible to have space exactly when I need it — or how I need it. I wear my baby in a carrier. She’s exclusively breastfed. My other daughter still needs help with things like putting on shoes and getting snacks—and processing all those three-year-old feelings.

I’ve found that in the midst of this crazy, beautiful life of motherhood, it is possible to have space. Although it’s not in the ways I thought it would be. Sometimes having space consists of taking life a moment at a time and giving yourself a chance to breathe.

Here are a few ideas for my fellow Nashville mamas on how to find space:

Take the littles to a green area.

Whether it’s to Radnor Lake to see the turtles basking in the sun or Shelby Bottoms Park to hike or bike, green space always makes my shoulders relax a bit.

Lock yourself in the bathroom.

Hide with your donut from Five Daughters. Turn on some Keith Urban, Bon Iver, Metallica, or Kenny G (whatever floats your boat) and breathe.

Take your kids to The Frist.

Let them play in the Martin ArtQuest Gallery. They are easily distracted. And you can paint too! I’ve found just taking those few moments to create gives me a little room to step outside of myself.

Let your kids play at a playground.

You take a walk on the paved path or sit and relax. We like Sevier Park, the jungle gym at the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere, and Granny White Park. It doesn’t matter how cold it is. Bundle your kids in layers and set them free!

It is important to find time for yourself without kids in tow. But if you can’t find a babysitter and you’re needing some space? Bring your kids along with you to do something that brings you to life.

After my December Scrooge-like meltdown, I realized it was time for this mama to have some space. So I locked myself in the bathroom, ate chocolate, and soaked in a bubble bath. I was a better mama afterward. And for that, I have Scrooge to thank.

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