Sunset over a lake

..before long you’ll discover mothering is an art and part of that art is both learning the craft of snagging a quick break, and the practice of making the most of those little quiet(ish) moments.

Being at the beck and call of smaller, much less experienced humans, day in and day out can take it’s toll on anyone’s sanity. While at first it may appear there is little, if any space for reprieve..before long you’ll discover mothering is an art and part of that art is both learning the craft of snagging a quick break, and the practice of making the most of those little quiet(ish) moments. Here’s a short list meant to spark your creativity…

1. Quick! Run to the freezer and grab that Ben and Jerry’s they don’t know about that you smuggled in from the grocery store.  Remember, your goal is stealth…..make it to your bedroom undetected, slip into your walk in closet, taking a comfy seat next to your ever growing shoe collection to eat in blessed silence.

2. Hide in the bathroom with a magazine.  You don’t have to use the toilet, but you’ll flush before you leave. Get half-way into an article before the kids start knocking, “Mom. Mom. Whatcha’ doin’?”. The jig is up, you’ll finish the article later. For now, there are dishes to be done…

3. Do the dishes.  Your partner will surely wrangle the kids while you clean up after a meal.  You might not exactly be resting in this scenario, but at least you’re not cleaning toddler poop out of the trampoline!

4. Plop the baby in your partner’s lap and head to the bathroom for a hot epsom salt soak.  Get discovered by the munchkins in your water filled paradise, agree to let them bathe with you.  Resign yourself to never bathing alone again. But you don’t mind…because, sweetness.

5. Plan a meal you don’t have all of the ingredients for, require a quick run to the grocery store.  Leave the littles with your significant other, run into the store for your mushrooms or whatever… linger in parking lot listening to that song you love.  Arrive home feeling as though you’ve just had a mini-vacation.

6. Turn on the hose in the backyard.  Try not to think about the water bill, or the mud bath.  Get distracted with cleaning and forget you were going to take 10 minutes to yourself.  Be grateful for the quiet time you had to fold the towels.  Use pile of clean folded towels to dry off wet, muddy children.

7. Give the kids some paper and finger paints.  Let go of caring about your furniture (here’s where I hope you’ve already decided to buy all of your home furnishings at the Goodwill while your kids are small). Now while they’re painting their beautiful pictures, and probably also themselves and something around the house that you have an attachment to, you’ve got a few moments to sit down at your computer and look at Pinterest boards all full of fun kids’ projects that would just make their little lives so blissfully perfect— if only you had the 80 hour day or clone required to make them all happen!

8. Build a “circle track”… which is exactly what it sounds like it is.  A train track, in a circle. Anything much more elaborate than that and only the littlest one will play. Keep your track simple and it is sure to attract children of all ages– there’s something about pulling little wooden trains, slowly along, in a continual loop.

9. Sacrifice a children’s board game you never much liked playing anyhow- perhaps Candy Land or Hi Ho CherryO?. Set the game down in the center of the space you plan to occupy– yes. I said in the center of your space. Trust me on this one-it might not be quiet time, but it will be free of “mommy! mommy! mommy!” for at least a period of ten minutes. And that period will last longer if they’re playing right next to you. And by the word ‘sacrifice’, I mean sacrifice.  You will unlikely ever be seeing all of the pieces, if any, again. …and now you won’t have to play HiHo Cherry-O anymore. Win.

10. Staple foods. Rice, flour, varieties of dry pasta. *for a bit of added fun, color the rice and pasta with food coloring and vinegar! Younger children will enjoy practicing their pouring skills, so be sure to provide a variety of bowls. Children of all ages enjoy digging with various kitchen utensils. Provide yarn to string colored pasta with. This is going leave you with a mess to clean, even if you send them to the backyard., you are going to have a not insubstantial mess on your hands. Broken sharp little shards of uncooked pasta in a rainbow of colors, rice as far as the eye can see! A word of warning… if you give them flour, they will find water.

What clever ideas for micro-breaks have you come up with? How do you manage to get moments of peace- and possibly even quiet- throughout the day? Share your little successes in the comments below!

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