I couldn’t believe it. My body was relaxing. I was tense the whole drive there as my schedule of kids’ activities raced through my head and my actual kids talked incessantly in the back seat. But after our arrival, they were occupied with devices and I got at least 30 minutes to myself. And as I lounged in the chair and closed my eyes, I relaxed into the near silence that was only interrupted when the hygienist told me she was beginning her work. During the next 20 minutes the rhythm of my yearly teeth cleaning lulled me into near sleep, a state that is usually unactable at home during the day. Maybe it’s sad that I had to go to the dentist to relax, but I don’t choose to see it that way. Instead, I like to look at it as being efficient.
Summer is busy. We are going on vacation, taking kids to and from camps or swim practice, or entertaining them at home all day long. And when everyone’s schedule is crazier than ever, it’s easy to forget to make some time to yourself. But how do you find the time for this? Or the money?
Paying for all these camps or swim teams or daycares in the summer, not to mention family trips, pool snack bar items, and 74 pairs of goggles means you don’t have any extra money in your budget, especially extra money to steal away and pamper yourself. But maybe if we stop thinking about self-care as spa days and mom-cations, things that could break the budget or the schedule, maybe we can still maintain a little bit of sanity.
Here are my top 10 ideas for getting in a little relaxation and a break from kiddos. And the best part? You can also check things off your to do list and spend very little money you wouldn’t have already been spending.
- Pilates class—If you take a reformer class, you lay on your back for half the class. You. Get. To. Lay. Down. With no one climbing on you or asking for a snack. Sure, you’re working muscles to their breaking point, but at least it’s not because you’re carrying laundry up and down the steps.
- The hairdresser—Someone who is not your child is playing with your hair. It is pure bliss. I fall asleep almost every appointment. Nap and beautiful hair? Yes, please.
- Aldi—Go while your kids are at swim practice. You cannot substitute Target. You know why.
- Roller coaster that scares your kids—You’re going to the amusement park anyway. Leave them in a group at the exit to the ride and go. You get 60-90 seconds of excitement that will give you the energy to get through the rest of the park.
- Weeding the garden—Kids get tired after pulling one weed. You can get hours to yourself, in the fresh air, and your flower beds will end up beautiful. Or you can pretend to pull weeds and read a book on your Kindle. I’m not going to tell.
- Folding the laundry— The trick is to let it pile up so that it takes a whole morning to fold. Like weeding the garden, kids think they want to help but they with definitely quit after folding two rags and a pair of shorts. Now you can pick a movie on Netflix and fold away. Might I suggest Murder Mystery or Always Be My Maybe?
- Physical therapy—If you’re getting to be a certain age, as I seem to be, you are definitely suffering from something that needs rehabilitation. Each session starts and ends with sitting on a table for 10 minutes with either heat or ice. And you get a workout in between.
- The dentist—You get to recline and close your eyes (you have to, the light is too bright). And you can’t talk with tools in your mouth, so you don’t have to answer anyone’s questions or solve anyone’s problems.
- Waxing appointment—It would be wrong to let your kids witness this anyway, and you can’t go too long without it. Again, a chance to lay down and not just to reach under the couch for an old sippy cup.
- The OB/GYN—Maybe this is a stretch, but except for the 2 very uncomfortable minutes, you get a room to yourself and another adult to talk to. And you probably got extra time in the waiting room beforehand to read whatever you want to read. Total win.
Now please share your go-to mini-escapes that don’t bust the budget? Clearly I need new ideas.