Kids have super powers.
How do they know the differences in the squeaks of the hardwood floor? They all have a sixth sense that I like to call Mom-radar. Their ears perk up the moment I move, and this sense feathers out, coming after me like a toxic fog from a horror movie.
Somehow, they know I’m off to do something just for me. Maybe it’s to sit down with my tea and the book I’ve been dying to read, journal, paint my nails, or exercise. The moment I shift toward me, they are on their feet, running to investigate exactly what I’m doing, asking a million questions through the process while simultaneously demanding that I sew their stuffed animal or set up a painting station.
Mama’s, I’ve got to be honest. There is a deep craving in my soul for a moment alone. A moment to breathe. To bury my head in Pinterest and look at some of Joanna Gaine’s gorgeous kitchen. Or, if I’m brave enough, a moment to think about my own dreams. The ones that don’t revolve around my children.
Of course, that’s when Mom Guilt throws open my front door and struts in with the type of gawdy hat that would block your view in church. How could you want anything that doesn’t involve them?
“BECAUSE I’M HUMAN!”
Then Mom Guilt leans in with her hands on those thick hips, this time digging in deeper. So are you saying you don’t want them?
“No. Oh Goodness, no.” I look down at their gorgeous little heads that smell of chalk and maple syrup and I breathe in their presence. Sure, they may have just chewed and spit out my last bite of quiche back into my palm, but I’d never want to be without them. So I pull them tight, relishing in gratefulness of this rich opportunity of being a mother.
Mom Guilt brushes off her hands. A job well done, she says.
“Yes,” I think as I land a kiss on their foreheads. “Thank you for the reminder. But those dreams? I’ve still got them.”
She shrugs, nodding curtly on her way out my front door.
…Can you ladies just feel my sigh? I know I’m not the only one this happens to, right? Sure, there are times when this doesn’t bother me. I can bounce right back into the constant demands of being Mom without a blink of the eye. But there are other days where it feels like being Mom is the only thing I am.
And, I’ve learned that’s a warning sign.
When I feel this forceful undertow, I tell me kids to go play and go lock that front door. And I try it again. I keep going, striving to carve out time for myself.
“Go ahead, Mom Guilt. Knock as loud as you want. I don’t care if the neighbors think I’m rude. There’s some serious stuff happening in my soul and I will not let you steal the opportunity for me to catch my breath and remember who I am and what I love to do.”
You see, mamas, I’m a firm believer that our liveliness depends on some me-time. If we don’t take care of ourselves, we will go under and the whole ship goes with us.
It doesn’t matter if you are a stay at home mom, working Mom, or work from home Mom, Me-Time is essential. You’ll be able to tackle your day on a firmer foundation when you know you’ve met your own needs. Everything is easier to manage when you remember to put on your own oxygen mask.
And, for me, well I’ve found an added bonus. When I take time to renew, my kids look at me with new eyes. Sure, my preschooler may cry when I honestly tell him I don’t want to play Paw Patrol for the fourth time and I plan to journal, but something inside his little heart clicks into place. A few hours later, he may walk away from his sisters in an emotional wreck, retreating willingly to another place in the house, explaining, “I just want to play alone right now.”
He’s emulating my self-regulation. And oh how it makes me so proud.
My daughters, six and five years old, see ME, not just the woman who happens to be there to make meals and toss out the occasional fruit snack. They understand that I love to write, baths relax me, and exercise keeps me healthy. My oldest loves to tell her friends about my new obsession with juicing and my middle child keeps asking when my next book is releasing. And somehow it gives them permission to be confident in doing their own thing.
So, go be you. Acknowledge Mom Guilt if you must, as from time to time she does serve a purpose, but don’t let her stand in the way of doing the things you love.