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Stefanie Wilder-Taylor is the host of Parental Discretion on NickMom as well as the author of four books including Sippy Cups Are Not for Chardonnay and Naptime Is the New Happy Hour. She also hosts the podcast For Crying Out Loud.

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Can’t You Just Relax?

By Stefanie Wilder Taylor |

As moms, we have a serious need to relax. At the end of typical day I’ve probably experienced more than my share of screaming and yelling (only 25% coming from me), logged time in LA traffic, catered to the myriad needs of three very different children and done a hells a lot of laundry. You know the deal. You’ve done it. Yet, I have a very tough time relaxing!

Every so often for a holiday or birthday I have been given a gift certificate for a massage/spa treatment. Chalk it up to a dislike of strange people rubbing me or just a fear of Enya but getting a massage always sounded about as relaxing as singing for Simon Cowell. Yes, I’m fully aware that I’m the only woman on the planet that has that hang-up.

If I explore the issue more deeply I guess I’d have to admit that I’ve always had trouble relaxing. And especially if there’s real or imagined pressure to do so. My body just seems to have the opposite reaction. It used to be if a nurse airily said, “Go ahead and pee in this cup” my bladder would close up like a steel trap. Didn’t matter if I’d had a two liter bottle of Diet Coke for breakfast, no pee would be leaving my body until I got home. For many years I couldn’t pee in a stall if someone was next to me. I’d have to pretend I was “just changin’ a tampon” and rustle around some paper, prematurely flush or do something to distract from the lack of peeing going on. It was embarrassing and uncomfortable to say the least.

So, even though I’ve worked my way past the shy bladder issue, I still don’t like to put myself in the path of any forced relaxation situations. I avoid yoga, meditation, hypnosis, staring into space and never indulge in any sort of deep relaxation spa activities. But as I mentioned in a past post, I do love a facial! There’s something delightful about going to a spa, drinking ice water with lemon, getting my hands rubbed and strange potions applied to my face. Plus the warm blanket is like cotton heaven. But unless you’re a Kardashian you can’t go spa it up every day.

Therefore, I’ve been forced to come up with other “relaxation alternatives.” Here are a few of my favorites:

  • 1. Read some trash. Seriously. Buy the National Enquirer in line at the grocery store, bring that baby all the way home and read it cover to cover! Hearing about celebrities hidden cellulite problems or a cat who diagnosed its owner’s pancreatitis is just good for the soul.
  • 2. Throw an impromptu dance party. Turn on the stereo, blast some Beebs and get your wiggles out. Your kids will thank you (or think you’re really weird), you’ll work up a sweat and you’ll feel looser and happier when you’re done.
  • 3. Help someone else. Reach out to a friend who’s going through a tough time. I know you’re tired, I know you just put the kids to bed. But this is a tried and true way to serenity. Sometimes it’s as simple as asking what you can do for your husband or offering to drive your neighbor’s child home from school. You will be the one who feels better when you’re done.
  • 4. Drink. If you’re not me you can have a glass of wine. If you’re me, have a hot cup of cider with a cinnamon stick or even warm milk. I hear you calling me a dork in your head! I don’t appreciate that!
  • 5. Get enough fluids. Being hydrated especially if you work out, can keep your emotions on a more even keel.
  • 6. Buy more lip gloss. A lot more.
  • 7. Lay on the couch and watch 20/20. It doesn’t seem relaxing, but after your blood pressure surges from being scared, you will take in the fact that you are not in the sights of a serial killer but just hanging around your house in your robe and you will definitely feel calm.
  • 8. Imagine different way you could get rid of Caillou once and for all. Let the thought of a Caillou free world sink in and just say “aaaaahhhhh.”
  • Thank you to Brita for sponsoring this series of posts.  It’s really inspired me to think of ways to be better to myself and my body.

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    About Stefanie Wilder Taylor

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    Stefanie Wilder Taylor

    Stefanie Wilder-Taylor is the host of Parental Discretion on NickMom as well as the author of four books including Sippy Cups Are Not for Chardonnay and Naptime Is the New Happy Hour. She also hosts the podcast For Crying Out Loud. Read bio and latest posts → Read Stefanie's latest posts →

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    9 thoughts on “Can’t You Just Relax?

    1. Annabelle says:

      Us Weekly is my escape. The second I leave a massage, the muscles begin to tense up again. But with Us, the mushiness in my brain remains for the rest of day, as the brain cells struggle to come back to life. $5/month versus $100 bucks for one hour of relaxation, me think Suzy Ormon would definitely approve. And now I know that celebrities are just like us, they squeeze melons and put quarters in parking meters. NEVER would have known that!

    2. Rebecca says:

      I want to leave a comment to show my support and all that jazz but this website keeps giving me an error message or it says this page does not exist when I comment. I read the internet and comment on stuff to relax but today relaxing is not happening……..this page keeps telling me something is wrong, why won’t it work?!!!!

      Thought I was the only one who couldn’t stand Caillou. He whines way too much. At least with Dora I can say, “My kids are learning something” but Caillou doesn’t teach the kids anything except how to whine…and his parents put up with it!!! Gahhh……

      And, what does it say about me that I had to look up the National Enquirer because what you described did not match what I envisioned……..for some reason I get the National Enquirer mixed up with the National Geographic.

      And why did you double number everything? (Error message received, third try to post comment.)

    3. Anne says:

      “Lay on the couch and watch 20/20…you will take in the fact that you are not in the sights of a serial killer but just hanging around your house in your robe and you will definitely feel calm. ”
      Umm, is anyone else convinced after watching 20/20 that there IS a serial killer in the front lawn watching you through the windows and now you’re only in a bathrobe and how could you possibly defend yourself? Just me?
      I’m tensing up just thinking about it…off to Sephora.com to buy some lip gloss.

    4. Dawn Rose says:

      Ah, Caillou! The thorn in my side! I swore I would never let my kids watch him… But my oldest daughter started watching Caillou at her babysitter’s house. So I have an agreement with her… As soon as he starts whining or being a brat, the TV goes off. I could spend days… WEEKS fantasizing about him getting trampled by a moose, or getting mauled by Gilbert, or lined up next to Barney and Spongebob in a firing squad (me holding the AK 47)… If it makes me a bad person for dreaming of the untimely, violent death of a cartoon 4 year old, so be it.
      Hey… I feel more relaxed already :-)

    5. Kellie says:

      The only thing that relaxes me is my husband getting home & taking over with the kids! They are wonderful & I love them but oh MAN do I start seeing that light at the end of the tunnel when he calls to say he’s on the way! :) and as for Caillou I say we use that to torture terrorists. They’re the only ones who deserve that kind of punishment. Maybe prisoners too. Bet we’d see fewer people going back to jail after the first time!

    6. Arnebya @whatnowandwhy says:

      Without fail, on Sunday afternoons, I start thinking about all that I didn’t accomplish over the weekend and the fact that I have to leave the house for work on Monday, leaving those things for even longer. It’s the can’t do it all, I’d really like to just lie down, cycle from hell.

    7. charlotte (not my real name) says:

      That is an absolutely gorgeous baby in that photo.

    8. Annie P. says:

      More great tips Stefanie..thank you!! I have trouble relaxing at the end of the day too. Too many years of leaning on that Chardonnay I think. Reading does help. I love my Real Housewives..especially Beverly Hills. I enjoy my 20/20 too and sometimes Nancy Grace but it does make me get up in the middle of the night to make sure my children are still present in their beds. Whew!! I don’t do the hot tea; maybe I should. And a dance party? My kids would love it!! Thanks for the tips. -Annie P.

    9. Alley says:

      Lipgloss – hellz yea! I’ve got like 12 tubes and counting. I’m not keen on the idea of anything relaxing whatsoever either… I think my definition is either cranking up some hard music, or sitting and watching something on youtube or hulu whilst snacking on garbage food. My waistline shows that I should be a lot more relaxed than I am in reality. Go figure.

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