The importance of leaving the house.

Do you know what I took for granted before I became a stay at home mom?

Leaving the house (by myself!) with ease.

Nowadays I can’t exactly just walk out the door, unless I have Clara with me and she is well fed, clothed appropriately, not overly tired or fussy, etc. Basically, it’s all a rather large production.

Tim and I are fortunate enough to have relatives living near us, so Tim’s mom comes over once a week to watch Clara while we go out to dinner.

However, one night per week of getting-out-of-the-house doesn’t cut it for me and I’ve been trying to find excuses to leave the house (by myself) more and more frequently.

So I’m trying new things (as I alluded to earlier this week).

Thing #1 – I’m starting to volunteer with VITA (volunteer income tax assistance), which offers tax preparation for low income and elderly clients.

Thing #2 – I’m taking advantage of my ClassPass membership and have been working out at least a few times a week.

Oh what a difference these outings make! I’ve discovered that it is vital, vital to my sanity to get out of the house at least once per day. I love taking public transit and feeling like a ‘real’ person. I love driving by myself and listening to the radio and not worrying about what Clara’s doing in the backseat. I love not lugging her carrier around. I love the freedom of just walking without carrying a diaper bag/stroller/baby/etc. Leaving the house, sans baby, brings me a great amount of joy.

Which brings me to a realization: I (definitely) haven’t been leaving the house enough. I’ve found too many excuses to stay in and nurture and care for Clara and felt like I was unselfishly sacrificing my wants and needs for this little human. However, ignoring my own needs does not make me a better mom!

The best advice for new moms: Leave the house!

My number 1 piece of advice to new moms is to leave the house.

Seriously, it’s so important to take a mental break from time to time.

In the midst of these winter months it’s easy to think that it’s easiest and more convenient to stay in and hibernate with a sweet little baby – but (in my experience) it is much harder mentally to stay in and be a full time mom day after day without taking proper time for myself.

I’m a better and more present mom when I take some time for myself to disappear and enjoy doing things independently. My patience grows, my frustrations decrease, my energy levels soar, and I regain my sense of self. My time with Clara greatly increases in quality when I am able to disappear for a few hours each week.

So I implore you, if you’re a new mom, find reasons to leave. Have dad or a family member spend time with their little loved one, get a babysitter if you need to, just schedule some time each week for you.

Trust me on this.

…As a side note… Earlier this week, while I was preparing taxes, Tim watched Clara (by himself) for the longest stretch of time since she was born, and this conversation happened upon my return:

Tim: Clara just went down for a nap.

Me: Awesome, how much did you feed her?

Tim: Was she supposed to eat?

Next time I’m leaving more detailed instructions.

Whether you’re a mom or not, are you getting cabin fever this winter? How do you cure it?

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