Dear After-Hours Mom,
I see you. It’s finally getting dark outside, and the kids are in bed. Maybe you rocked your baby to sleep. Perhaps you left a happy kid in their room after some bedtime stories. Maybe your sweet angel is having a meltdown in bed because they don’t want to go to sleep. But it’s done. You made it. Bedtime is here. It’s now After-Hours Mom time.
You’re hoping not to hear the result of a nightmare or teething or a tiny head peep around the corner. Now you just want to turn off your brain and put aside all duties. You need a detox period. You need mental space not to question every decision you make. Maybe you got the kitchen squeaky clean right after dinner, or maybe the counter is still covered with crumbs, and the sink is still full of dishes. The washer is full of almost-mildewy clothes and toys are covering the floor, or maybe you have an empty laundry basket and a fully organized toy box. Regardless, you don’t want to think about it now. Now is the time to not be “MOM! MOM! MOM!” for a while.
As After-Hours Mom, you can open your book without fear of having to reread every page because your focus is elsewhere. As After-Hours Mom, you can turn on the TV to a non-G-rated program. As After-Hours Mom, you can bust out the hidden leftover Easter candy stash and chow away. As After-Hours Mom, you can open a beer and drink it down before it gets warm. As After-Hours Mom, you can mindlessly scroll social media and Amazon. As After-Hours Mom, you can put a butt imprint in the couch or fall asleep watching that new movie you’ve waited forever to see because you just can’t keep your eyes open another second.
The day was long, Momma. Your kids were running a million miles an hour while you were running on empty. You worked all day, either at home or away. Your coffee probably got cold, and you might have stayed in your robe way longer than most. You whipped your bra off the minute you got in the door, or you didn’t even bother putting one on at all. Your dirty hair was most likely thrown in a messy bun at some point, but now you are After-Hours Mom and can take a shower without a youngster barging through the door (or maybe even just brush your teeth since you only got baby teeth brushed earlier in the day). Now you have the freedom to take care of YOU instead of all the littles around you.
The day was long, but now even if just for a couple of hours, you can turn it off. You can have an adult conversation with your partner or a friend without disturbance. The only tushy you have to worry about wiping is your own. The only person you have to care for is yourself and boy, do you need some self-care! You can be selfish without feeling guilty.
The day was long, but you don’t have to be needed right now. Right now, you can go back to feeling like that “pre-mom you” that isn’t around as much anymore. You can take time to do what you want to do without having to say, “Because I said so!” You can relax and enjoy the quiet or let it all out in a vent session.
The day was long, but you’re trying to remember that the years are short. You love this rare After-Hours Mom time, but funnily enough, you miss those little whippersnappers. You are soaking up every minute of After-Hours Mom time, but you know that tomorrow you’ll have to get up at the crack of dawn and do it all again – and you can’t wait. Because I know that you love being “Mooooommm!” as much as you love being After-Hours Mom. I see you, After-Hours Mom. I am you, and I am in solidarity with you each and every night.