It is a good idea for every MamaBear to have an outlet, a getaway or a break from her babies. As dedicated mothers we pour our heart and soul into raising our children, so much so that we are sometimes depleted of energy and find ourselves at our wit’s end. I have learned over the years that it helps to have some kind of interest or task unrelated to the kids. For some women this can be working outside the home, feeling a sense of accomplishment and interacting with other adults. For others, like myself, we try to carve out time in our day to do something that makes us feel good about ourselves and avoids us reaching the E level on our tank of patience and energy.
Tennis and writing are my outlets. Writing does not really count though, because I write while the puppies are napping at my feet and most of the time I write about them. Tennis is a true get-away for me. It requires my concentration on the court, which allows me to completely disconnect from my role as MamaBear for a few hours. I also burn calories, gain endorphins, increase my levels of serotonin, and absorb a little Vitamin D. Then there is the bonus of camaraderie, being a part of a team, cheering each other on, and strategizing with my doubles partner. As if that was not enough, we follow our tennis mornings with lunch together. Nothing beats laughter and chit chat amongst women. We are all on our “break” for those few hours each week, then it is back to MamaBearing all over town with each of our own families.
When my kids were very young I did not play tennis or take writing classes. I barely got any breaks. My trips to the bathroom were even interrupted with kids banging on the door needing me. It was not until my youngest entered preschool that I actually had a little time in the house by myself. Up until that point I had to creatively find opportunities to relax: swim lessons where I would sit in the parent waiting area enjoying the temporary calm, or our frequent trips to the park where I’d bring a picnic lunch and just watch them burn energy on the playground. Once my four children were in grade school I felt like I had all the time in the world. What did I do? I volunteered at their school. I also found my way to the gym and to book clubs. Then I found tennis.
My tennis team is full of some fun girls. When we are together we laugh a lot. I feel years younger when I spend time with these friends. Then I return refreshed and eager to snuggle my puppies. I even bring them home tennis balls. My human kids like to hear about my tennis matches, we enjoy the tables being turned and them getting to cheer on MamaBear. For the record, I won today. My partner had fast wheels on the court, and not to toot my own horn, but I had some good shots at the net. My legs are stiffening up as I write this blog entry, I better go walk the dogs now before I am unable to get off of the sofa!