MOTHERHOOD: How to survive a mama off day

by Sarah Lyons

We do what we can to avoid it, but at some point, the inevitable will happen. Mama will be off her game. Enjoying a restful day in bed sleeping is not an option.

What’s a modern mama to do?

Here are some tips to help you survive a mama down day/take a mama mental health day.

1. Call in the reinforcements

In some cases, your partner may be able to stay home and help with the kids, but often this is not a feasible option, so don’t be too proud to call in reinforcements. Ask friends and family to take the kids to school or help cook dinner. Most friends are willing to help, especially if you offer to return the favour in the future. If you help out others when you are on top of your game, they’ll be there to help you when you are not.

2. Simplify meals

For an unwell mama, feeding your family can be a huge challenge. Keep it simple by ordering take out, raiding the freezer, or letting the kids eat cereal for dinner. It’s all OK, really it is! They are not going to keel over from a few easy meals. And when you are feeling well, cook in bulk and freeze meals so you always have a back up plan.

3. Let go of ‘normal’

Many families limit the amount of screen time their children are allowed each day, but when mama is sick or needing a rest it’s okay to relax the rules. Just focus on making sure your bambinos are fed and changed. It’s fine to let the house go and to bend your ‘normal’ parenting rules for a few days. It won’t hurt the kids to have some extra screen time, and they will probably enjoy it as well. Curl up and chill out together.

4. Have an entertainment plan

What do you do when TV time gets old? Build a fort, get out craft supplies, or play with blocks. Yep, all too hard when you are not feeling crash hot. “I have a secret stash of toys that I only bring out when I’m sick.” says Jessi Cole, mama of three. “Since they are rarely out, my kids think it’s a huge treat.” Try having the kids read a book aloud or put on a dress-up show for you while you rest. Set them a creative toy challenge – can they draw you a picture or make you a Lego creation? When mama is sick, anything goes. The goal is to keep your kids entertained as quietly as possible.

‘WHEN MAMA IS OFF HER GAME, ANYTHING GOES.’

5. Read the signs

If you are starting to feel like you are going downhill, don’t wait until you are in a hole to act. Start early. If you rest, you will be back to your old self in no time. Have a day at home. Take a break. Go on to ‘cruise’ control. Allow your body and mind the time to regenerate. It’s alright to have some quiet time. Do NOT feel guilty. Kids do not need constant entertainment every moment of their little lives. In fact, it’s an important part of their skill set to know how to play simply and just ‘be’. Take the opportunity to watch your children, allowing them the space to explore life on a more peaceful level.

You might also like MAMA MIND: Be-YOU-tiful! How to practice self care more often and MAMA MIND: Seeking happiness? Try mindfulness.

Peace out mama xo

MD®