The responsibilities we have as parents can take a toll on our physical and mental well-being. Add other issues in life, like chronic medical conditions, and stress is taken to another level.
As a wife and mother of two beautiful children (and a fur baby!), I know that all too well. I was diagnosed with heart failure in 2004 and fibromyalgia in 2019. It's been a struggle and, on most days, it's hard to keep fighting. But over the last three years, I've started focusing on prioritizing myself. I've learned I need to take care of myself first so that I can take care of those around me.
This journey evolved into me creating a "mom cave" just for me. With the help of my wonderful husband, I created a space in my home where I can go to be alone and engage in things that make me happy, including writing and decorating my planner.
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As a little girl growing up on the island of Jamaica, I always loved journaling and paper crafts. When I came to America at the age of 10, I received my first planner at school, and a newfound obsession began. That's why it was a no-brainer that my "mom cave" would include these things, and in the summer of 2016, I took over the guest room in our home. I put up shelves to store my papers and décor items and placed a small desk in front of the window facing the birdhouse in our backyard.
It wasn't long before I realized this room could not only really make me happy but could become my mini escape from a reality that often dragged me down. I added a couch for days when I felt fatigued and needed to rest, as well as lots of storage for all of my planner accessories, craft items, and even a space to keep blankets. I threw in a TV, light fixtures, and a few decorations to really boost up my "mom cave."
It's almost like having a hotel room where I can go for 'me time.' There are just two additional perks: I don't have to travel, and I don't have to wear pants.
My special space has had quite a few transformations since then. I've changed my desk, shelves, carpet, curtain, paint color, and light fixtures, and added a few treats—caramel popcorn, Godiva chocolate bars, and granola bars—that are for Mom only (sorry, kids!). Sometimes when I get bored, I re-organize my desk, moving it from one corner to another. It gives me a sense of control, plus organizing is my favorite thing to do.
But despite all the rearrangements, my "mom cave" has never lost its meaning.
Courtesy of Chevonne Dixon
When I get home from work as an operation supervisor, I switch into wife and mom mode, spending time with my husband and children. Later in the evening, when the kids are in bed, I sneak into my "mom cave" for a little alone time before I call it a night. This time is my mental break from the day and opportunity to relax as I take in scents of lavender from my oil diffuser.
Some days when I am not feeling my best, both physically and emotionally, I even sleep on a futon in my "mom cave." It's almost like having a hotel room where I can go for "me time." There are just two additional perks: I don't have to travel, and I don't have to wear pants.
I find genuine happiness in my time spent in my "mom cave," even if it's just watching my favorite movie alone. I thank my husband all the time for helping me to create this space and for being supportive of my well-being. I'm glad he understands the importance of self-care and is always there when I have a new crazy idea—or to run after the kids when I'm locked away in my "mom cave."
My "mom cave" has helped me through some very tough days, and I am grateful for being able to have such a calming space where I can go whenever I need it. That's why I encourage moms everywhere to create their own "mom cave" no matter what it looks like for them. All you need is a space, big or small, that includes things that bring you peace. After all, happiness comes from within, and you have to find things that make you happy and do them often, especially when navigating this thing called parenthood.