Desperately Seeking a Slow Down
Ramblings of a SAHM Trying to Fit "It All" In
Dear mamas, you are wonderful. Let's just get that out of the way. Working, stay at home, married, single, all of the above... you are awesome. I don't discredit dads at all, my husband is one of the best there is. I am speaking to the mamas because that is what I am, and that is who I'm writing for. No matter how many kids we have, or what our days look like, we are busy. I don't know about you but even when I'm sleeping, my subconscious is always thinking about the kids. I know this because I wake up at the drop of a hat when my kids make any type of noise at night. Just this morning about 3 AM, I swear I was awake before my 3-year-old even came in to tell me he peed the bed. My husband, that glorious dude, was passed OUT and didn't wake to even ask what was going on. I ask him sometimes if I ever were to go away for a night, what would he do if something happened? He insists that he would be fine and that he just stays sleeping because he knows I am here. Thanks, dear. I am not complaining. He works hard so that I can be home with our three kids, ages 5, 3-1/2, and 1-1/2. My point is this: we as mamas always have our children on the brain. It's probably instinct. We carry them, feed them, care for them, so therefore we are attached in a way that maybe others aren't, or don't understand. It is both a blessing and a curse. (I will get to the photo soon, I promise.)
I want to be raw here, no sugar coating anything... that's not my style. So first just let me say this because there is always someone out there that assumes you mean on thing if you say another. Just hear me out... I ADORE AND LOVE MY KIDS. I WOULD DO PHYSICAL HARM IF IT MEANT KEEPING THEM SAFE. I love their hugs, I love their laughs, and I love when they want to cuddle on the couch and read books. I LOVE THEM. HOWEVER... sometimes mama needs a break. Sometimes, I don't want my kids with me. Sometimes I don't want my husband near me. Sometimes mama just wants space. Sometimes I just want to SLOW DOWN. I am positive that I am not alone. Mom burn is real. I don't have to get into specifics of the hectic part of our days because if you are reading this and you are a mom, you already know. If you are reading this and you are not a mom, you probably already know. You know someone that is in the middle of raising tiny humans, or you remember your own mother and what she did for you and the family when you were young. (Again, I know there are dads and grandparents that parent... and you are all due your props, but I'm writing to the mamas here because I have first hand experience with being a mom.)
I get mom burn often. It could be the age of my children. They are young and only 22 months apart from each other. Not exactly planned that way, but the fact that we were able to have one, let alone three, will always be a blessing. My children are wild. My two boys who love each other dearly fight constantly. My 5-year-old has all of a sudden decided he is Mr. independent and always wants to do things "by himself" excluding his little brother. His little brother wants nothing more than to play with him, and will instigate and annoy the crap out of older bro when not allowed to join in. This causes fights, crying, whining, etc... The whining especially drives us nuts. What do I do? Force my oldest to play with his brother or do I allow him this time alone to free play in solitude? I'm still working on how to make it fair, but I do allow the alone time because I TOTALLY understand the need. My 1.5-year-old just wants my attention 24/7 unless Mickey Mouse Clubhouse is on. (You feel me, mamas? That one gets ALL the kids!) At the expense of judgement, YES I do in fact let her watch television and yes sometimes it's just to get her to let go of my pant leg. On top of doing the mom thing all day, we cook, we clean, we make lunches for school, we pay the bills, (most on time ha ha) and sometimes we get a daily shower, sometimes we remember to eat, and sometimes we get to take a moment for ourselves. That last part is rare. The rage these days is SELF CARE. It is everywhere. (One popular quote I see all the time is "You can't pour from an empty cup." It's true!) There are books about it and for it. There are videos, motivational speakers, podcasts, blogs, Facebook pages and groups, Pinterest boards, and so much more. I will admit that I used to laugh at those I read about that would "schedule" self care days. I just thought it was funny. Yet, good for those people! Here I am poking fun but they are making moves to ensure they get that time to come down from the crazy and chaotic moments of life while I still am wishing I could do it.
What's that saying? "STOP WISHING AND START DOING!" What a dope I was to pick on the people that are doing what I want to do. I pinned the pins, I read the books, I followed the pages, and I listened to the podcasts, yet up until recently I hadn't done anything to give myself that much needed brain break. Well, I can't say I hadn't done ANYTHING... (you see my book above). There are so many things I love to do, writing being one of them. Reading is second in line. My problem is that I have WAY too much going on. For a stay at home mom, one might think what the heck could you possibly have to do all day that wouldn't allow you a stinking half hour to yourself? Well, full disclosure, I SUCK at utilizing my time. I get two hours a day (sometimes more, but usually not) where my two youngest nap. I can almost guarantee that other mamas will relate to what the first thing is you do when they lay their little heads down to rest... CLEAN! I pick up all the toys, sweep, throw in a load of laundry, do dishes, then scrounge to figure out what dinner is going to be because hubby works hard all day and I want him to come home to a hot meal. (He runs his own excavation bizz so he is quite literally physically/mentally exhausted when he gets home.) I want him to come home to a clean house and dinner ready. I know I'm not alone, and mamas that's just us, always thinking of everyone else. ( If I was smarter, I'd meal plan! But that's a whole other thing.)
I also have two small side gigs. One is mine and one I help a friend with and I try to work on those during this time. Add to this a half hour workout because I need to up my exercise game. (No I don't count this as "me time" because working out is not actually enjoyable for me. I enjoy outside activity way more than burpees in my computer room.) Before I know it, my 3-year-old is coming down the stairs and time's up. The lack of time for myself, the nagging from kids, the whining, the rushing, etc, is tiring and I find myself losing my patience more than I ever used to.
I have worked with children since I was 15-years-old and never had problems, then again... I never had to bring them home with me either. When you are experiencing the mama burn, and your patience has worn thin, you are tired, you are cranky, and you are a bit resentful of other woman who are treating themselves regularly (you know, there's always that one mom who gets her hair done every 6 months, or her nails, or has girls nights or date nights regularly... UGH, I say resentful but deep down I'm really envious. How the heck do they do it?). It takes a toll on you mentally and physically. At some point we realize something has to shift or we are going to be bitter housewives, mean mamas, and really crappy versions of ourselves. You know how I know? I did something yesterday that I NEVER DO. I made the time.
Talk about hypocrite. I SCHEDULED my time, just like those people I said I made fun of. Last night after the kids went to bed, the hubs and I watched the rest of a movie we were watching on Netflix and then he jumped in the shower. He asked if I was jumping in after and I said, "yep, but I'll be up in a bit. I'm gonna hang downstairs for a while." He looked at me kinda odd, and was like, "Ok... night, love ya." Here is what I did, ladies. I took my shower... SLOWLY. Now, here's the thing before I get any further... this has been a conflict for me because I am giving up sleep time so I can have me time. I can NOT wake early. I just can't. I can't see myself ever being the one that gets it in at say 5 AM. I'd rather stay up late and sleep 'til like 7 AM. But hey, that's me. If you are an early bird then that's your time!! It's just important we get it.
Now, back to the shower.... I stood in the hot water and enjoyed it. I didn't rush to wash and get out and get in bed. After I was done, I made a mug of tea (plugging Yogi Tea Stress Relief tea here... THE BEST) and I grabbed that book in the photo. I sat on the couch in the quiet of my house and read. That's it! A quiet living room, tea, and my book. I picked this book because I follow the author on social media and a lot of what she talks about speaks to me as a mom. There are prompts in it for adding thoughts etc... I love a book I can interact with. The best part is, no one is around to distract me from my thoughts. It was so much better than sitting on my phone in a dark room, playing until my eyes couldn't take the light anymore. (I know, SO BAD!) Mamas, I kid you not... I went to bed feeling more relaxed than I had in MONTHS... maybe years. My head hit the pillow and I was out. You know what I did in the morning? I woke at 6:45, (mostly b/c I heard my 3-year-old up) I had a cup of coffee with my hubs while he got ready for work, and then I picked up a notebook and wrote down 10 things I am grateful for. Sounds so cheesy, right? I follow another amazing woman Rachel Hollis who you probably by now know of since she has gained much popularity over her new book Girl Wash Your Face. Anyways, long story short she does this every morning, and it's part of a routine that sets up her day. I don't know if I will remember to do it every day, but seeing a physical list in front of you sort of makes the craziness that is every day seem worth it. It is worth it. I love my life. But sometimes we mamas just need a break. Maybe it sounds like we are complaining, maybe people out there think we are dorks because we have it so easy not having to go to work etc...to that I say, come to my house and do what I do just for a day. If you can do it better, than I will keep my thoughts to myself. Until then... NO APOLOGIES.
I am grateful for coffee! I am grateful for Fall weather! I am grateful for my family! I am grateful for authors that put it into perspective! (Not necessarily in that order either.) Mamas, I am writing to you because I was a mom that was caught up in this chaos of raising a family and forgetting myself in the process. I will no longer make fun of those who schedule their time. I no longer think self care is just a trend (even though it has become trendy) but maybe it's just because more people are making it priority and not feeling ashamed for doing so. Just that little bit of slow down before bed was exactly what I needed. It doesn't always have to be that time. I would love to sit outside on one of these nice Fall days while my kids sleep and read or write some more. For now, I will just take it one day at a time. The laundry may have to be sacrificed, the hubs may have to have leftovers for a night, or I'll stay awake when the fam is asleep... Either way, THIS lady is making some serious changes. And you know what, it will ONLY make me a better mama to those crazy littles and a better wifey to that hard working, selective hearing, man I married. PLEASE get your time in!
All the love, mamas!