I admit it, ladies: today, I sucked as a Mom. I’m pregnant, tired, and hormonal. My 3-year-old daughter is being especially needy and strong-willed at the same time. Enough is enough. I need a sick day. A mental health sick day.
But, as we all know, sick days are non-existent in the Mom world. Sure, when our husbands come down with even a slight headache, they suddenly become yet another child in the household. I end up waiting on him hand and foot. Heating up tea and soup — what his desires are at the moment. While simultaneously make a peanut butter sandwich and chocolate milk for my daughter. Because, of course, their desires can’t ever be the same.
But, when Moms get sick, there’s no reprieve. We could have a fever, chills, and vomiting every 20 minutes, but no one bats an eye. It’s the same-old routine. “Mom, I need this. NOW!” “Honey, where are my keys?!” (for the 100th time) “But, I don’t want to wear pink pants; I want purple pants!! (insert dramatic tantrum here.)”
Nothing stops; nothing slows down. Moms are expected to be business as usual. No. Matter. What.
Well, today, no more! I’ve had it. I am tired and I have a headache. And I’m hormonal because I’m growing a tiny human while trying to wrangle and raise a slightly larger human. My husband just gave me a list of business trips he needs to go on. Sigh.
So, today, I choose me. I choose to lay on the couch and watch reruns of Gilmore Girls while snoozing, instead of tackling the overflowing dishes in the sink. I decide to immediately start crying when a friend calls me just to talk. Because I need to cry about all the things frustrating me instead of pretending everything is great. I decide to sit my kid in front of the TV while I take a long shower.
I, then, decide to let her play on the iPad so I can write this and hopefully start to feel better by getting my feelings out. I decide to let her have chocolate milk all afternoon because I don’t want to fight with her. You want three fruit snacks for lunch? I don’t have the energy to resist. You want two glasses of lemonade now. Knock yourself out kid. She thinks this is the best day ever. I think it is the worst. Perspective is a funny thing.
At the end of the day, will my child suffer because she had more than the recommended amount of sugar intake? Nope. Will she be scarred for life because she watched 3 hours of TV instead of 30 minutes. Not at all. Will she become a spoiled brat because I let her have her way for an entire day. Oh god, I hope not!
But will be she benefit from an emotionally stable mom? Most definitely. I think as moms we have a difficult time taking time out for ourself. Someone once asked me what I do on a daily basis to nuture myself. I had a hard time coming up with an answer. Then it dawned on me — if we, as women, give everything to our kids, husbands, families, then we lose ourselves. And that isn’t going to help anyone. I find myself becoming depressed, bitter, and resentful. That’s definitely not the image I want to portray to my daughter. I want to teach her to be strong, independent, and caring. But, it order to do that, I must model that for her.
It feels weird to “take time for myself,” but when I do, I notice a huge difference. I feel good about myself; I have energy and confidence. And that translates into a better mom, wife, and friend. Today, I checked out. In the future, I want to check in. Check in to when I start feeling depleted and do something about it proactively to ensure I stay mentally healthy. You go to the doctor for check-ups and hopefully preemptively find any problems. Same goes for your mental and spiritual health. It’s difficult and foreign and scary. Quite frankly, it feels selfish. But, it’s imperative.
In this new year, I am sending out a challenge to myself and all the moms out there to start nurturing yourself. Start on a weekly basis, then maybe bump it up to daily. I am putting it out there so I can be held accountable and I hope it inspires others too.
This post first appeared on Scary Mommy