What if someone offered you a magic elixir that would whisk you out of your humdrum life for an hour a day?
That would smooth the jagged edges of your mind and magically erase the annoyances swirling around your brain? And that would return you, fresh and renewed, to pick up where you left off?
You’d jump at it, right?
We all want to get that instant hit of downtime. We’re all time poor and trying to juggle so much.
You’ve seen that meme of the dishevelled crazy barbie that reads: “Me trying to work, go to the gym, entertain my kids, not be broke, maintain a social life and get 8 hours of sleep a night” – well I bet that at certain times, that is your life.
I get it, because it’s me too.
It’s #everymum. (Well, except that annoyingly perfect mum at the school gate who has flawless makeup, is perfectly accessorised, is always smiling and never shouts at her kids. Who IS she?)
So those sneaky advertising dudes offer us crazy dishevelled barbies the magic elixir of “Mommy Juice”. What’s not to love? It offers a teeny crumb of sophistication and adulthood in the messy mayhem of parenting. PLUS it has a cute name; a kinda inside-joke name that the kids don’t get. Double bonus. It promises sooooo much.
But - what do you actually get?
OK, so you might get a teeny lift for a moment. But once you’ve had your first hit at 5 o’clock; that longed for, big fat glass of vino or bottle of icy beer, it’s often hard to stop. Another quickie, before you start making dinner, because the last one felt so good. And then another, and sometimes another after that.
Mommy Juice is like a nasty loan shark. “Yes! Of course you can borrow some light heartedness! But I want it repaid, with interest. I want you to lose coherence as the evening wears on. I want your quality of sleep. I want your energy the next morning. I want your soul!”.
Well ok, maybe not your soul. But it feels like it, when that loan shark has its teeth sunk into your neoprene-clad butt.
Is this really the best way to relax?
Are there any alternatives?
Yup. Here’s five to start with.
1. Jump in the bath
Bathtime is a legit excuse for leaving the kids in front of the TV for half an hour, whilst you escape with lots of bubbles plus a good book or trashy mag (#ProTip – leave your phone in a different room). Of course, escaping like this works best if the kids aren’t hangry, feed ‘em up first. Mumma Bathtime is probably one of the biggest things that shifted me away from numbing out on booze; something about immersing your body in water. It usually works on hyped up kids too.
Park (fed) kids in front of the TV or devices. Do NOT guilt out over screen time, it is a far better thing that you do to give yourself a break from booze. Promise yourself you’ll deal with screen guilt another time. You can get your headphones on, grab a massive cup of tea or long glass of icy cordial and brain dump all the days feelings into your book. Check out Morning Pages for inspo.
3. Get Kon Mari-ing
Getting rid of junk has an amazing affect on how you feel, it can physically lighten you up, plus the act or getting organised will keep you busy and distracted for 30-60 mins. Get some help sparking Joy here.
4. Online jigsaw-ing
I know, I KNOW, sounds liked total nanas-ville right? but if you can get past that, it’s weirdly soothing and satisfying. You can choose a picture you like from a big selection, then you choose how hard you make it/how many pieces. And as you click each piece into place, your tired and fraught brain will go like this: mmmmmmm, lovely, thank you. Jigsaw Planet is my guilty pleasure.
5. Make 5pm your Music time
Crank the tunes and take it in turns choosing from the Spotify app. We love doing this because it means that I can make dinner at the same time – plus music is another mood changer. Watching your mum prance around the kitchen and shake her booty usually has the kids in fits of laughter. It can also redirect the feral-hour impulse to go off like a frog in a sock.
The Road to Hell …
… is paved with good intentions, and the prostrate bodies of mums who thought Mommy Juice was a cute and harmless idea. It’s really not. There is nothing cute about it and it’s just a big advertising schmozzle.
Do it differently.
Try a different way of approaching feral hour, without a bottle in hand.
I PROMISE you, you will love it. Your life will get a million times more shiny and sunny and guilt-free.