By: Winnie Yu
Doing dishes at 9 p.m. Folding laundry at 10 p.m. Cleaning the bathroom at midnight. If you’re a time-strapped mom, you know exactly what I’m talking about. You don’t stop doing chores until you collapse in bed.
Truth is, it probably takes every hour of the day to get the job done, and so you do just that. But think about it: If you had a desk job, wouldn’t you just set things aside until tomorrow? Wouldn’t you want some time to wind down and relax? Wouldn’t you have a quitting time?
Like any job on the planet, being a mom requires a quitting time. That’s the moment in your day when you say, “Enough is enough. I’m done. This task can wait until tomorrow.” Unless your dishes are piled so high they might topple overnight, and unless the dust bunnies in your living room are coming to life, most chores can be put aside until the next day.
For years, I didn’t have a quitting time. Being a writer only made it worse. I worked on weekends. I worked at night. I got up early and wrote in the wee hours of dawn. (Confession: I still do that sometimes -- but only when I have too many deadlines.)
Over the years, I slowly learned that having a quitting time made me a better person -- and a better mom. The endless to-do list was never going to go away. I could dust and vacuum and write and organize until I turned blue, and there’d still be something left to do.
I finally learned to quit at a given time. For me, that means I usually stop working around 5 p.m. and I wrap up my household chores by 8 p.m. Then I can spend the rest of the night playing games with my family, watching TV or catching up on my reading.
Having a quitting time gives me the time to relax and unwind that all moms need. It lets me chill out before bed and savor time with my kids. Most important, perhaps, it gives me the stamina to do it all again the next day.
Do you give yourself a quitting time?
is Completely You’s mom blogger. She has two daughters (Samantha, 14, and Annie, 12) and is the author of seven books, including New Mother’s Guide to Breastfeeding and What to Eat for What Ails You. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including Woman’s Day, AARP Bulletin, Prevention and WebMD.com.
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