“A woman is like a tea bag. You can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt
This has been a well-thought-out plan and it has been executed perfectly. You sit stealthily upon the throne, afraid to move. At last, you’re alone in your bathroom while the little people watch “Frozen” for the one billionth time. They didn’t even see you leave the room. Oh, you’re good. You can now sit on the potty in total seclusion. Mission accomplished.
Just as you open your Kindle and prepare to dive deep into a chapter of “Girl on the Train,” you see it…the tiny hand sliding under the door. Then another. Now there are three tiny hands reaching out for you like zombies, each whimpering, “Mommy? Are you in there Mommy? What are you doing, Mommy? We’re hungry. We want raisins. Can we have raisins, Mommy? When are you coming out, Mommy?”
You feel your heart sink. For some reason that you can’t explain, you remain very, very quiet.
Suddenly, with the thud of a sack of flour busting on the kitchen floor, reality sets in. Do you really believe they are going away from that door without you? Yeah, that ain’t happening. You slowly close your kindle and surrender. Just like you do a thousand times a day. You surrender yourself for the betterment of your family, over and over and over again. It’s what mommies do. You do this because you’re a good mommy.
“I’m coming guys, Mommy will get you some raisins.”
While it’s difficult to explain to others who are not mommies, how being worshipped to the point that your family has to have you within a five-inch radius at all times is not always a good thing… the question most mommies find themselves pondering is, where did I go? And of course, I just want five minutes alone!
So how do mommies successfully manage to balance this dilemma of being everything to everyone while making sure they are taken care of too?
When confronted with this overwhelming hurdle, some mother’s feel guilty about missing their former lives. They yearn for the simpler times before breast pumps, colic drops and chicken nuggets. When sleeping late was the norm, their stilettos were well-worn and they could jam out to Foo Fighters on the car radio instead of “A Whole New World” on repeat for two years running.
Sometimes, mommies look at their husbands and can’t help but feel a little jealous. Afterall, he hasn’t changed a bit. He still has intelligent conversations with work associates and dresses in “big people” clothes instead of yoga pants. He still laughs at his own farts. Way to go. So, it’s official. Having children only changed you. It’s difficult not to get a tad resentful at times?
But here’s the good news. There are remedies for this dilemma. The first order of business is to recognize that you’re in a funk. Done. What next? You need a plan. Remember, slowly becoming resentful like Squidward from Spongebob’s Bikini Bottom is never going to work out, so here are some realistic suggestions to help you recharge you!
- Hire a daytime babysitter one day a week. If money is tight, do a babysitting co-op with a friend where you swap babysitting services for free. You will be amazed at how just one day away to be you, to go shopping, to have lunch with a friend, to engage in an adult conversation or to see an adult movie will fill your inner well.
- Have a party! Invite other mother’s over with their children for a daytime party. Ask them to each bring an appetizer, a bottle of wine or snack for the children. Have a fun activity planned for the children while you and your friends sip on a nice chardonnay. Yes, you are adding to your list of things to do to pull this together, but you won’t regret this adult time with the other mom’s giggling and sharing mom tips. Just order pizza for dinner that night. Worth it.
- Enlist the help of Grandma. Most Grandmother’s want to be involved with their grandchildren and they can be a wonderful source of help for you and your family. Why not ask Granny if she would mind watching the children on a Saturday night sleepover once a month so you can go out to dinner and a movie to reconnect with your husband? It can be a win-win for all if handled properly. Try it out. She may be waiting for the invitation!
- Create a Saturday “Mommy Day”. This is where your sweet husband watches the children for the afternoon, while you go, get your nails done, have lunch with your girlfriends, go shopping, even to a local Starbucks for a good cup of coffee and a few hours to read a book uninterrupted. Delightful!
- Incorporate “Daddy Story-time” before bedtime so you can take a hot bubble bath at the end of the day. This is a win-win because it gives Daddy some loving one-on-one time with the children and you have the opportunity to unwind from a busy day of mommy-ing.
I could go on and on but I think you get the jest of my message. Mother’s must find creative ways to be alone to recharge and reconnect with who they are. Yes, we are super-human. Yes, we are multi-taskers. Yes, everyone and their mother needs us it seems. But that doesn’t mean we can’t carve out some time to fill our well. Let’s be serious, it’s in the best interests of everyone around us if we do! No one thrives with a bat-s*** crazy mom!
Last, I want to remind you that the woman you once were is still there. You might feel like you can’t find her anymore or that she’s lost forever…but I assure you, hidden down deep, beneath the baby food carrot stains on your sweatshirt and the ponytail on top of your head that resembles a broken sprinkler head, she’s still there waiting for you to bring her back to the forefront. Even if it’s just once a month, she’s willing to wait for you to bring her back to play. And one day, when your little ones are all grown up, she will come back for good. Just like an old friend.
So, try not to sweat the small stuff for now. Your time is coming I promise. In the meantime, nurture your friendship with yourself as lovingly as you nurture your family. You are superhuman enough for both.
Happy Mothering Ladies!
Michele E. Mathews
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