Your phone rings in the middle of texting. Meanwhile, 3-year-old pulls on your skirt, screeching, “Mommy! Mommy! Look at THIS!” showing you her latest crayon masterpiece. Meanwhile, in bursts your 7-year-old, demanding that you buy something (what did she say?) because she needs it for her first lesson tomorrow morning. Meanwhile, something is simmering a little too loudly on the stove. Meanwhile, the 5-month-old didn’t nap long enough and therefore needs constant holding, and is now whimpering for his next feed. Meanwhile, you yourself only got home 6 minutes ago, you need the toilet and you haven’t even taken off your coat.
MOM. An appropriate acronym might be Maven of Meanwhile. It just comes with the territory of managing home and children. While these days, fathers often play a large role, more of the hours of child and domestic care still rest with the mother in most cases, as evidenced by a recent Pew Research study. No wonder bedtime becomes such a focus – that longing for the end of the day, when things are relatively quiet (save for the intermittent wakeups!), and you can sit and sip tea (or wine!) and wind down in front of your favorite rerun online. If even for an hour.
In order to cope with the constant demands, mothers need space for themselves. Time to chill out.
So when unexpected extra time comes along, it feels like the ultimate gift of “meanwhile.” Call it the Meanwhile Mini-Vacation. For example, when your work or studies tasks are on a down-time, and you can justify taking a day off during the week. Or it’s a Sunday, and Daddy offers to take all of the older kids to the zoo, and your babysitter can take the baby.
When February 29th comes around every four years, it’s also a bit surprising. This extension to February feels like an unexpected prize which people excitedly react to, exclaiming with a smile, “Oh right! February 29th!” Because it’s rare, it’s special. Businesses even see a slight bottom-line difference in an extra day of February on the books. Women, whether working or not, can take that “business model,” and treat February 29th as extra income – time income. And if that particular day doesn’t work out, then plan a different “mental health” day.
Everyone needs breaks, yet mothers often don’t prioritize their own breaks. By investing in time dedicated for themselves, mothers keep themselves intact. By taking time out to focus on relaxing and rejuvenating, mothers free themselves up to be better focused with the family upon return (yes, moms, you will eventually have to return). Let’s take advantage of the extra February 29th day, any day of any month. Moms, you might benefit from choosing a special day once a month just for you. This leap year, take the leap of faith and focus on how you could spend this time. Just. For. You. The M.O.M.