Lesson 1: Mommy’s Night Off

Have you seen those commercials where the sick parent tries to take the day off? They are hilarious because as most of us know, parents don’t get time off. I am a proud stay at home mom, I work from home, I home-school my children, and we don’t eat out often so I cook a lot.

And I truly love every part of it.

However, I began to notice as I cooked dinner every night, tidied up the house for the 20th time, bathed my little critters, passed out warm milk, and read my kids to sleep that I was smiling a little less as the day went on. I was so exhausted by the time I dragged my tired butt out of the shower that crawling into bed was my only option. I stopped reading books and a lot of other things I enjoyed because I was just too tired. Don’t get me wrong, I love my family but I just wasn’t showing much love to myself.

Does this sound like you? Well, listen up ladies. I found the answer to shake up that normal nightly routine slowly draining you of your energy and sanity: Mommy’s Night Off. Not to be confused with Girls Night Out, those are fun too, but I’m talking about one full night where you hide out at home and your family pretends you don’t exist.

Friday nights are my night off, and boy have they made me TGIF! I don’t even go anywhere, I could but lately I prefer to just hide out in my room. Around 5:15PM every Friday, as soon as my husband walks through the door, I go into “hiding.” I shut my door and do whatever I want. Let me tell you, it’s the sweetest gift I have ever given myself. No matter what happens on the other side of that door, if I hear something break, if my children stand on the other side and cry, no matter what, I take the whole night off. Sometimes I do a hundred things; I literally go crazy (happy crazy) taking care of myself. I take a nice long hot bath, work on my writing, catch up with my sister on the phone, traipse through Netflix, and eventually end up reading until I doze off. Sometimes, I don’t do anything, I lay wrapped in my comforter and stare at MSNBC for hours. No matter what I do on my magical night off, it’s all about me and I do what I want. It is so refreshing as a mom to take care of myself instead of everyone else for one night. It makes the weeks easier and my attitude much sweeter.

Use these 4 easy steps to create your very own night off and take back some personal time and space!

Step 1: Come to an agreement with your spouse and children. Mine was simple, I asked- Do you guys like mommy? Do you want mommy to continue to provide breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, fresh laundry, a clean place to live, and fun things to do? OK, so, do not bother me after 5:15 p.m. on Fridays. My husband and our two sons can do whatever they want on their “guys night” as long as they give mommy her space. I hear the strangest things coming from the other side of that door but I never know because I never look.

Step 2: Figure out the food situation beforehand. The last thing you want is to be bothered because they have no food (or a fridge full but no idea what to do with it). We keep it simple in our home. I usually buy a frozen pizza for my husband to cook along with some chicken tenders from the freezer and fresh fruit for the fellas. I also pick something easy for him to put together for me, like a salad topped with some sort of protein, a glass (bottle) of wine, and something sweet- which he delivers on a tray to my door at my requested time. No joke! And it’s awesome! Hey, we deserved to get a little spoiled for all we do for our families every. single. day.

Step 3: Under no circumstance are you to open that door (unless It’s your room service). Pretend you are in a scary movie and we all know what happens when the cute girl peeks outside her door. You are the cute girl, keep the door shut! If you let them in, they will never leave. This can be a tough one for moms of younger children. I have a three-year-old and an 18-month-old toddler; I don’t like to hear my kids cry but when they are with their father- he can handle it and so can yours. Dad may not parent exactly like you do but he is the only person who loves your children as much as you do. So, relax, everyone will be fine for one night. This is good not only for your kids but also for your spouse. In a lot of households everyone is far too dependent on mommy. When mommy gets sick, or even goes out for a quick pedicure, it’s like everything falls apart and that’s not good or fair. Trust me, I went through that for around two years and it feels so good to relinquish some of my control and responsibilities. If you need to have a code word, by all means- do it, we did. Me and my husband used the word: Congo. Unless I heard that, no matter what they were up to on the other side, I knew my husband had it under control.

Step 4: Play fair. Hubby gets a night off too. My husband picked Thursdays. Its football season and if there isn’t a game on that he wants to watch, then he binges on seasons of Sons of Anarchy or some other show I refuse to have on if I am in the room. He usually places a room service order for chili cheese hot dogs or some other grossly un-healthy option and I oblige. He happily stays in our bedroom all night while I take care of everything else. It’s funny because these days, as tired as I am by the end of the day, especially on Thursdays, the day that I am “on” all day, I usually have the biggest grin on my face because I know my night off is just around the corner.

This has been a major game changer for my husband and me. We both get to be a little selfish which is unusual when you become a parent. He is so happy to be able to watch Thursday night football in peace and eat his favorite greasy food without me glaring at him. I skip around the house all day Friday because I get room-service and the opportunity to try face and foot masks without freaking my kids out. Knowing that you have some regular personal time and space scheduled in weekly, can make a real difference in your marriage, the lives of your children, and your overall personality. It sure did for me!

Kim Derrick

Kimberlie Derrick, the creator ofhttp://justahotmess.com/ is freelance writer living on the east coast. She is happily married with two young sons and praying for more! She received degrees in Psychology, Anthropology, and African American Studies from the University of Houston and spent time studying abroad in West Africa. She is currently working on her first series of children's books about a quirky kid named Quincy.