Below is an article that I wrote a couple of years ago about my Anxiety when leaving the house. While I still can get these feelings, I have learned how to better cope. And now I have added an update at the end with a few tips that help me to relax more, and enjoy my Me Time.
This article is written by Karissa Tunis
For more on this topic, check out the full Self Care collection
My husband and I recently headed to Annapolis for a fun little getaway with some (adult only) family and friends.
We had a really REALLY great time, but I’m embarrassed to say that I almost didn’t go. For several days leading up to the trip I wanted to back out and skip the whole experience.
Before I had kids, I loved going out. Almost every weekend we had something fun planned. Whether it was meeting up with friends, or going on a trip, we were always up for an adventure.
But since having children, things have changed. Over the past few years I have developed anxiety, especially when I have to leave the house. It’s a constant struggle of wanting to get a break, and yet feeling so guilty for leaving my little ones behind. And sometimes just the thought of what all it takes in order for me to leave the house, is enough to make me want to pick up the phone and cancel. The vicious cycle of mom burnout and guilt is very real!
Continue reading this article below, or click play to listen to this article being read to you!
Maybe I’m a little OCD, or just crazy, but before a babysitter is scheduled to come over I usually spend 1-2 days cleaning (even if they are only helping out for an hour). One of my biggest fears is that someone will find my house a mess. I also just like to leave a clean canvas so that the sitter can really play anywhere, and do anything, that she and the kids want to do.
Then, after all of that cleaning, trying to find and take an hour for myself to get ready is almost next to impossible as kids come running in and out of my bedroom! And lastly, I have to get everything (extra cloths, pjs, dinner, etc.) laid out and ready for the sitter along with instructions. All of this to then just barely get out the door on time while hearing my precious baby crying for me inside……… It’s enough to dampen my mood and cause me to ask myself “Is it really even worth it?”
But thankfully I have my husband! In a nice and encouraging way he stops me from backing out of everything. He too knows that if I can just get to our destination, I will be ok. And once I get that confirmation text from my sitter that everyone is happy at home, I can relax and enjoy the moment.
Taking Time For Myself
I’ve learned that when I do get away and take even just a few hours to have a little fun, I come home a much happier and better parent. Not only am I strengthening my friendships and relationships with other special people in my life, but I’m coming home feeling more refreshed, and I feel like my patience has been restored.
I have some incredible people in my life that have really been there for me. They help me unwind, have some fun, and make me laugh until my stomach hurts. These friends have ended up being more, and doing more, for me then they will probably ever realize! They help me keep a balance in my life, and they have helped to save my sanity.
And when I return home and cuddle my little sweeties, I know it was all worth it. It almost always is. The kids always have fun telling us about the games they played and the activities they enjoyed while Mommy and Daddy were away. In the end I am left with some awesome memories, stronger friendships, and a deeper love and appreciation for the special people in my life – including my children!
So to all my incredible friends, thank you! To everyone that was involved in taking care of my children over the weekend so that I could get away, I really appreciate it! And to my family and friends that gave me exactly what I needed, I love you! I am blessed beyond words for so many incredible people in my life and the ability to occasionally take that well deserved, and much needed, Me Time.
Tips for Getting Ready & Leaving the House
Update: While I still stress about cleaning my house every time I go out, there are a few tips I have learned:
Get ready in increments
I used to try to spend the last hour before leaving to get ready. But cramming in a shower, hair and makeup always became too rushed and I never felt put together when walking out the door. Now, I try to get ready in increments. I get my shower earlier in the day and blow dry my hair, a few hours later I add a few curls and put on my makeup. Then before leaving I change into my outfit and just do touch-ups. Most of you probably already do this, but for some reason I only recently figured this out.
Call on my husband or sitter
If I can’t get ready throughout the day, I will actually ask my husband, or call the sitter, to spend the hour prior to leaving entertaining the children. This way I can focus on myself and getting ready. It might sound a little ridiculous or selfish, but if you don’t leave the house feeling clean and pretty, then it’s hard to get your confidence up and enjoy your night – especially when you are already battling the anxiety of leaving.
Use the same sitter
When I find a sitter I like, they almost become like a sister to me. I treasure our relationship, and I try to use this very special lady whenever possible. By always calling the same person, it does cut down on the time it takes to give instructions, and the kids do handle me leaving much better now that one of their favorites is here to play with them. And it always helps to have a sitter that actually will get down on the floor and really play – the whole time!
Age does make it easier
I promise you that it is much easier to leave now that I don’t have a baby in the house! I don’t stress if the baby is getting their bottles and medicine on time, if their reflux is acting up, if someone is home crying, etc. It’s much much easier on me AND for the sitter!
Keep it simple
Not every time out needs to be a crazy long night. Sometimes just a quick weeknight dinner with a friend is fun (and then my husband can watch the kids), or an afternoon picnic with friends and all of our kids can be enjoyable.
I still need to talk myself into leaving the house. Some days it is easier than others, but the important thing is that I do take this time for myself every now and then. You may need to try a few new strategies, but I think the key for me is making the experience of leaving much easier. If I spread out the work, it doesn’t become so hectic and seems more doable. I leave much calmer, and I know that once I arrive at my destination, I WILL have a good time 🙂