They Think I’m at Work, but I’m Not: Mom’s Secret Day Off

It’s 9:00 a.m on a Monday morning and everyone in my life thinks I am at work.  But I am blissfully sitting in a coffee shop catching up on my personal blog and other writing projects.  I’ve got messy mom hair and leggings that are at least two days old.  I’m sipping some sort of coffee concoction and enjoying the fact that nobody needs or wants anything from me.  Cue the choir of angels.They Think I'm at Work, but I'm Not: Mom's Secret Day Off

It’s not that I don’t have a good support system.  I have an amazing support system of people who, if I needed them, would move heaven and earth to take my kids and give me a break.  But I struggle to accept help and feel far more guilt by burdening my family and friends than just sucking up whatever the issue is and moving on.  (I know, I have issues).

So what’s a mama to do when she needs to not be needed?  She gets sneaky.

My husband, kids, friends and family all know this as a normal Monday.  Mom goes to work and picks kids up at 4:00.  But I scheduled this day off long ago, and the only person who knows where I really am today is my boss (who vows not to call me unless something is literally on fire).  Hubs takes the kids to gramma’s before work around 11:00, so I am huddling in the corner of this coffee shop waiting for stores to open because my boots have finally taken a crap, and not even the king’s horses or men can put them back together again.

After I treat myself to new boots I’ll grab my favorite lunch (I’m looking at you Vito sandwich with extra Jimmy Peppers) and head home.  I promise myself to avoid catching up on housework or projects that don’t fill my bucket.  I may stop off at the church on the way home to wail on the piano in peace without having small people nipping at my heels.  I may not.  I may take the world’s most epic nap.

My husband and friends know that these secret days off exist.

They fully support the need for absolute solitude, and they fully support the notion that the way to avoid feeling the pressure of actually taking care of myself is to let me do it in secret.  They don’t take it personally that I want to be alone.  That is a gift.

I look forward to this secret day off all.freakin’.year.  All year.  It’s the permission I give myself to be a human again and have some breathing room.  It’s good for my mental health, it’s good for my physical health (ok, maybe not the salt and vinegar chips but work with me here), and it’s good for my spirit to be able to open just a little.

No pressure, no agendas, no worries.  It’s a glorious thing.

So, have you ever taken a secret day off?  Would you ever?  What would you do with yourself? Share in the comments below, because this mama may run out of ideas someday!

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Missy is an Arizona native who migrated to Iowa on a whim and fell in love. She is a social worker by profession but stepped away from her career to be a pseudo-SAHM to her two girls: 8 year-old Selah and 2 year-old Mercy. She has been married for 10 wonderful years to her TV man husband, Andy, and Bo, the black lab pound puppy completes their family. Most days you’ll find Missy working part-time at a local non-profit, leading worship, and chasing after her children. In her spare time, she enjoys writing/composing music, connecting with other women who are also in the trenches of life, and finding time to get to the giant pile of laundry in the basement. Missy loves a good laugh, crime documentaries, coffee, and naps. She also writes about overcoming strongholds on her blog: Inching Toward Freedom


  1. I used to do 2 of these a year. I would get up at my regular 5:45am time, make sure things were set at home-hisband was off to work, kids were ready for school, and I would “drive to work”. Only instead of work, I grabbed a hot cup of coffee with a book, a newspaper, or nothing at all-sometimes I would just people watch. Frequently, I had a planned to do list of things that my superhero powers could not get completed during a normal day off with kids in tow-such as looking at bras and underwear without kids asking if they could get lunch (again). A lot of times I had a massage scheduled at some point during my free day, and often I found myself either aimlessly driving around with my favorite playlist at an unreasonable volume, or aimlessly walking around window shopping for the next holiday or birthday. Then 2020 Covid year from hell happened. I have been working from home since March 2020 and my great escapes now have been replaced by random Tuesday night grocery runs or 30 minutes of extra trips to the Target Drive Up lot. If 2021 brings anything back it should be random Mom days off to waste a day in order to regenerate our Superhero powers.

  2. Yes, yes, and yes! Covid royally screwed with my day off plans this year! I’m going to need to get more creative!

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