Hey, Busy Working Mom: Let’s Destress with Some Laughs (and a Helpful Tip)

Inside: Busy working mom, you need a break. Let’s take a break from the busyness, with some funny stories and one strategy that works 9 times out of 10.

“How are you?” says Busy Working Mom A.

“Busy” says Busy Working Mom B, in a frenzied state of self-absorption assuming everyone else in the world is currently managing only one task at a time and taking breaks to eat bonbons.

Oh, and Busy Working Mom B in this scenario is me.

Welcome to the Busy Working Mom Stress Nest

I think a lot of us find ourselves in Busy Working Mom B’s well-worn Payless flats though.

It’s a fast-moving, multi-tasking, eating standing up world and we’re along for the ride. I’ve been trying really hard not to answer “busy” though because unless Busy Working Mom A is a close personal friend or relative the only answer they are really expecting to “How are you?” is “Good!” and I like people to feel comfortable small talking with me.

And more importantly, something about the word “busy” feels relative. Like it’s not just busy, but busier than you. And that’s not cool. Because we’ve all had those weeks (months… yikes) when it seems like you need to Dolly the sheep yourself in order to accomplish a tenth of the things you want and need to do.

Or days on the stress scale of 1 to “Oh, I’m definitely going to cry today” that look like this:

Image result for crying gif

So instead of wallowing in my stressedness, I’m going to assume that you are also incredibly busy and are reading this as a quick reprieve from many important things that need your attention. And maybe your destresser is laughter. Hey – me too!

Let’s laugh about busyness.

Well, That’s Not What You Want

Busyness has had some unexpected physical consequences for me lately which is fun.

At a recent appointment, my dentist said, “Hmmm it appears that you have been clenching your teeth a lot. You’ve even created new bones in your mouth from the pressure… Anything stressful going on in your life?

To which I replied, “I have two kids, a full-time job, and the This is Us season finale led me to believe that something terrible is going to happen to Randall Pearson’s family.”

She replied, “Yeah… so we might give you a night mouth guard, but since those are terrible and it seems like you might need to sleep just try sticking your tongue between your teeth when you feel like you are going to clench your teeth.”

In other news, I no longer have a tongue.

Making Some Mom Me Time

Shortly following the dentist appointment this happened

This led me to believe I was due for a little self-care. But when? My first thought was, “Oh, I know! I have some ‘me time’ coming up. My yearly gynecological exam.” But even that got canceled. This is why we can’t have nice things.

So instead I microwaved myself a nice lunch. Leftover chicken marsala. Which I cut up as if I was a toddler so that I could eat it quickly and with one hand while typing emails. #Relaxing

Oh, and I took a hot ten-minute shower and used fancy conditioner. A sample pack of fancy conditioner. And I didn’t even really read the directions because you were supposed to leave it in for fifteen minutes apparently and then rinse.

Fifteen minutes, just for conditioner?? That doesn’t even compute. Is it designed for people with a hefty trust fund? It was still nice though. I smelled like a B level celebrity on Dancing with the Stars.

The Pinching Trick

Given my current mental state of affairs, I thought I’d share my mom’s trick to help me when I’m in a whirling, twirling, stress spiral crying on the kitchen floor.

When I’ve really gone down the rabbit hole she tells me to breath into a paper bag, but if she catches me before I go all Alice she tells me to pinch my leg. Hard. And focus on it.

I think it works for a couple of reasons.

1. You are forcing your mind to focus on a physical act instead of the one million thoughts ricocheting through your brain. Brain, move hand.

2. If you do it right it really friggin hurts and then you’re mad instead of anxious.

This is not medical advice in the least but it’s a good stopgap. For actual medical advice, because anxiety is very, very real, check in with your doctor. It’s okay not to feel okay.

Shake Your Stress Out with More Laughs

Beyond leg pinching and eating copious amounts of sugar, I have realized that when I get super busy and all kinds of stressed, I really do need to take a break. And my favorite way to shake my worries out is some comedy.

Either I try to make myself laugh by writing or watch the pros do their thing. A half-hour of stand-up comedy is a game-changer for me. It’s a much-needed reset button.

May I make a recommendation?

The Stand-Ups on Netflix is giving me life. Fortune Feimster OWNS. Brent Morin made me cry laugh. Nate Bargatze’s bit on buying a hammock added three years to my life.


Not Too Busy for a Takeaway

Career development tip on this one? You need to take care of yourself.

We aren’t all our jobs. Or all our homes. You’re going to be the best version of yourself if you embrace your whole self, and take some time for some laughs.

Plus, the busyness will still be there in a half-hour. Promise.

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  1. Taking a break is so important when we are busy, but it is so hard to do, but much needed. I am going to have to try the standup comedy and see how that works for me! Great ideas! #WanderingWednesday

  2. I think my go to response is exhausted lol but I feel you. Once you have kids busy is just the norm and it’s hard to break out of it being the auto response. Me time? What’s that. I guess after birthday season maybe I’ll get some (with four kids that seems never ending when each is a week long event lol). <3 Jamie

  3. So funny! And great advice, too. When I’m stressed I love laughing, too. It’s REALLY important to me, actually. I love me some Tim Hawkins and lately Ryan Hamilton. #wanderingwednesday

  4. Love it! I too find that a quick dose of standup can do the trick. Maybe it’s the endorphins released from laughing, I don’t know. When the kids are around I revert to Gaffigan, cause he’s clean. His hot pocket sketch makes me smile just thinking about it! I def need to check out the sketches you linked to. Thanks–and hang in there!

    1. Gaffigan rocks and I want to go watch the hot pocket sketch right now. Have you read his book “Dad Is Fat”?

  5. Me time. HAHAHAHAHHA. I hear people talking about me time all the time, but like, what is it? My idea of ‘me time’ is a shower. Does anyone other than a parent consider a shower to be ‘me time’? No. No, they do not. Me time is yoga class or meditation or a girls night out or a quiet walk where you don’t have to chase anyone or reading a book in the sunshine. I know. I dream big.

    1. Hahaha! You can say you’re a dreamer, but you’re not the only one, I hope someday to read a book again, and sit quietly in the sun.

  6. Did you know there’s something called Laughter Therapy? Seriously. Google it. From what I gather, a group of people get together and, well, laugh. I don’t think there’s a focal point, just laughter. But I’d imagine that’s fine, since laughter is contagious. Apparently, really advanced laughter therapy people do it by themselves. #nojoke. Hahahaha!

    1. Try Ryan Hamilton on Netflix too! Just watched his special on Friday night. Very Seinfeld meets the midwest.

  7. OMG it really sounds like you need a relaxed girly evening and a proper break! I am so impressed with your current juggling, but could you drop just a couple of the juggling balls?

  8. Re: This Is Us…I’m still having trust issues with my Crockpot. And if something bad does happen in Randall’s family, namely to Beth, I’m not ashamed to say that I’ll step up and be wife #2.

    I hope you get some legit me time soon and destress!

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