It was a typical morning around the house. Between dressing and feeding the kids and making herself look presentable, this mom wondered if she even knew who she was anymore. She enjoyed her children immensely, but always felt like she lived in the mommy fog and had no time for herself. She felt guilty about being away from her kids even for 30 minutes here or there, but sometimes she asked herself, “Where does a mother go to hide?”
Between endless laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning spit-up and spilled milk, keeping up with schedules, bath time, chasing children, and preparing meals, many moms wonder exactly when they will get time for themselves. They feel that if one more person says, “In the blink of an eye they will be grown, so cherish every moment,” they aren’t sure how they will respond.
So, how can a mom recharge her batteries without feeling guilty?
Understand that taking care of yourself isn’t optional; it’s necessary. This isn’t the first time I have written about this but it is something I have to remind myself all of the time.
If I have to come back to this, I assume one of you do as well.
Y o u c a n ’ t g i v e w h a t y o u d o n ’ t h a v e .
If you are always running on empty, irritable and have a short fuse, everybody knows it. It impacts your relationship with your children and tends to bring out the worst in them … and you.
Let’s not forget this spills over to your husband and other relationships.
Who feels me?
Want to know how I know, because I feel it. I am on EMPTY. I am so on empty that I was convinced I had some thyroid disease or dealing with some serious issues health wise.
I always told you I would be honest – here is my truth peeps:
It is right before the holidays, I just went to my twins 1 year appointment and I spent the whole appointment with the pediatrician asking about ME and wanted to know what I am doing for myself. She did not like what she heard.
She (yes, my kid’s pediatrician) ordered me a blood test and highly recommended a babysitter one day a week. She called me a few days later with the blood test results and was laughing at me. She told me she thought I was feeding everyone but myself. She was laughing because she knew I was convinced I had something wrong with me. She told me to go eat a steak and potato with lots and lots of butter. My response to myself – “THAT is just completely embarrassing. Get a grip Christin, this is pathetic…!”
To be honest, I was. I was forgetting to eat a full meal, I was forgetting what was good for my body. I wasn’t exercising. My kids are first as they should be, but I wasn’t even last. I wasn’t even on the list. I couldn’t tell you when I actually made myself a meal that day or what I had for lunch. I was a grab a protein or granola bar kind of gal. I was taking care of mom LAST and it was NOT working for me.
Why am I sharing?… because I was losing weight, losing my hair, feeling like I had no energy, looking exhausted when my kids sleep insanely well, and by the twins 2pm nap, I was TOAST. I was NOT stopping all day long until I hit the bed and none of that consisted of time for me, including food. My blood tests made that clear.
I always said I would be honest. I don’t want this to ever come across that I am this miserable person. I am extremely grateful, happy and a positive person. But positive people can also get in a rut. When I am in a rut, I tend to want to write about it because I am not alone and I know it.
The truth is- I have just really been disappointed in myself. How do I expect my picky toddler to eat, if she doesn’t see me sit down and eat. How do I get my kids to drink lots of water and exercise if they don’t see me doing the same. Just a few small examples of things that I am not demonstrating. How the heck am I suppose to be great for them, if I am not taking care of me?
You need to take care of you.
Aside from immediately implementing a better nutritional practice– I signed up for a Barre membership and got a babysitter for one day a week so that I could focus on some specific things I wanted to work on. That isn’t always enough. I had to change my mindset and know that this is not selfish of me to implement. Here is what I am focusing on:
• Plain and simple, asking for help. People need to ask for what they need. If you don’t have extended family around, barter with friends or find surrogate grandparents who would be willing to help. Avoid the trap of believing others are too busy to help you.
• Share the load. If you don’t share the load or at least some of it, you will never feel like you can leave your kids. If you share the load with your husband, you will feel comfortable that things will be taken care of and you will not have the worry that holds you back from that time to yourself– even if it’s an hour at the grocery store alone.
• Create margin in your family’s life. You know your family situation better than anybody else, so evaluate your current set of circumstances. Your children don’t have to be busy every moment. You don’t have to do everything everybody else is doing. Commit to doing what is in your family’s best interest.
• Do something daily that fills your soul and makes you smile. There are lots of options, from enjoying the outdoors to silently soaking in a tub. Believe it or not, this will help you feel better about yourself and your parenting.
• Avoid wishing away the moments. Life is short. Instead of wishing time away, embrace where you are and make the most of every moment. Every season has its challenges. Instead of viewing the challenges negatively, surround yourself with people who can help you walk through them, embrace them and successfully reach the other side.
• Be grateful. In the midst of dirty laundry, food prep, smelly diapers, children pulling on you, fights over toys and lack of sleep, acknowledge your blessings. Even if you feel like you are living in a never-ending fog, gratitude can change the way you feel and think about life in general
A mom’s role is not easy.
But remember, moms have needs, too.
If you want to care for your family well, take good care of yourself.
Believe it or not, that is what will help lift you out of the fog and prepare you for whatever comes next.
Take a moment and write 3 things down that you are going to do for YOU.
You got this Mama!!!
Sending all the love and positive vibes your way – life is beautiful, let’s live it and kick this fog.