I will be the first to admit, I didn't always have this mentality, but for the sake of my mental health, I've learned how beneficial it is for a mom to get out of the house (literally) and do something fun, challenging, and maybe even a little out of your comfort zone.
Raising seven children is no easy feat (neither is raising one). The simple fact is, children require a lot from us and the needs of seven children compound and get very overwhelming. I need space to breathe and refresh in order to continue to meet those needs well.
I currently have three girls in dance; two in ballet and one in tap. My eldest daughter (12) has been dancing ballet since she was three years old. Each year we attend her recital. The last few years in particular, I've always looked forward to the adult hip hop numbers because they are so fun to watch. I love seeing the adults/parents having fun, too!
And each year, for the past three years, I've made comments to my husband about how fun it would be to join up and dance with them. But I never signed up.
But sometime last September, on a rare occasion my husband took our girls to class, he decided to sign me up for the adult hip hop class. I was very skeptical about this, as I have NO previous dance experience whatsoever. You know, on stage they make it look so easy!
Well, my first day I was convinced I was a hopeless case. But the more I practiced the moves, the easier they became. What was most discouraging and challenging was learning new moves every couple of weeks. After a few months, I started having urges to give it up. I had many excuses: things are too busy at home or I'm too tired in the evenings to go.
But the reality was, I didn't want to do something that was too challenging or took me out of my comfort zone. And by comfort zone, I don't mean doing moves that made me uncomfortable, because my instructor is an amazing choreographer without having to use compromising moves. I meant just having to learn something I'm not used to doing. I consider myself a writer, not a dancer.
And if am going to do something, I want to do it with excellence. All or nothing. That's me. I just couldn't seem to do that in this class. I felt mediocre.
Then in January our family was hit with a minor case of the flu and we were down for two weeks. Two weeks of no dance. I was sure to have missed a lot and how am I ever going to catch up? Week three came around and I decided it was a good reason to drop out. So I didn't go in.
But the next day, I had to take my girls to practice and my instructor was there. I spilled out my excuses. And over the course of the next couple of days, a few people talked me into staying in it and not stressing over not being perfect at it, but to just have fun.
After all, that was the whole point of signing up in the first place; to do something fun and out of the ordinary. Not to find a new thing to stress over being perfect at.
Maybe for you it isn't dance...maybe it's playing an instrument, taking an art class, or running a marathon (to many, that's considered fun!).
The point is, it is good for you as a mom to get out and stretch yourself in ways you may not have thought of. It also teaches your children that you have interests worth pursuing. You can tap into your already creative abilities, or decide to venture out on the opposite end of what comes natural to you, which is what I did. Dancing doesn't come naturally to me.
I struggle as it is to justify a lot of "fun" because I have a productivity disease. So, I consider this an investment in balancing my mental health.
What do you do to have fun?