I was in the middle of getting dinner ready and unloading and loading the dishwasher, and simultaneously thinking how my cabinets need to be reorganized as I shoved a pan into a space it clearly didn't fit when Eddie started shouting for me from the other room.
He was especially persistent, reminding me as he often did of Stewie from that old Family Guy commercial. "Mom. Mom. Mommy. Mama. Mommy. Mom."
I went to see what the emergency was.
I walked into the room and he was pointing at me. "Here mom, I have a big booger." He stated, almost accusatory in his tone.
Thanks, Eddie. I took his booger off his finger with my fingers. This is motherhood.
As moms, we are always taking care of someone else's need. We are perpetually cleaning up blocks and cars and dolls, chopping up dinner into tiny little swallowable pieces, changing diapers, picking out red clothes for spirit day at school tomorrow, kissing a boo boo, creating a grocery list, switching a load of laundry (or forgetting to), taking a booger off your kid's finger and disposing of it properly. We are the keeper of all the plans, the family calendar, the diaper bag and the password to every online bill account we have – and we have a lot.
You know what’s weird? The way we can hyper-focus on all of those needs of our children and our partner and our pet and on and on and on…but then we leave the house and forget our wallet. Or our coat in the middle of a cold September afternoon or an umbrella on a rainy day. Does this happen to anyone else? I make sure that everyone else has everything they could possibly need (and usually lots of things that they don’t yet need but might), but then I leave the house without very basic things that I will need while I’m out. I’m so busy worrying about everyone else that I forget to take care of myself.
You know what else is weird? Amidst all of those things that we are all-at-once taking care of, all of those needs we are concurrently meeting, it’s so easy to feel like we somehow aren’t enough. I have an aching feeling WAY too often that I am not giving enough. I’m not home enough with my kiddos. When I am home I’m not present enough. I am not planning and cooking meals for my family the way I feel like I should be. My house has not been vacuumed in too many weeks to count. I’m a terrible wife because I’m often too tired to hold a coherent conversation with my husband at the end of the day. These negative thoughts fill my head on a weekly – heck sometimes daily – basis. And this negativity plays a HUGE role in keeping me from taking better care of myself! I’m sure of it.
Let’s talk about self-care. Why does it feel so unnatural, almost selfish, to take care of ourselves? Every single time I schedule a girls’ night, a haircut appointment, a pedicure…I feel guilty. WHY? Who do I think is judging me for needing to take care of myself? Why am I judging myself?
I’m challenging myself this month (because who says “this month” can’t start on the 26th?) and I challenge you, lovelies. I challenge you to be intentional in scheduling something – yes, actually writing it into your calendar is an important part of this – that is JUST for you. Think about it for a bit and figure out what you really need right now. Is it a professional massage? Is it a trip to target, sans kiddos? Is it a coffee date with yourself? A no-chip manicure? A couple hours on a weeknight to focus on a hobby you have neglected for too long? Could you even stretch yourself so far as to schedule a girls’ night with a few of your besties? However big or small, NOW is the time. Pick something and get it into your calendar and then the key is, when the big day rolls around, DON’T FEEL GUILTY! Don’t do it! Girl, you deserve this! I promise you do. I see you taking care of everyone’s needs but your own and it’s time for a change.
Let’s get into the habit of scheduling something like this at least every couple months, if we can’t swing it any more often than that. I have a feeling we will start to come home refreshed and a little more ready to take on the heaps of laundry and the meal prep and all the boogers. Even if it takes a few times to get past that guilty feeling. Our families need us, no doubt. But the only way we can continue to be there for them is to take a minute to look within, figure out what it is that WE need – what we require – and then work just as hard at taking care of ourselves as we do taking care of those we love.
Now excuse me while I go wash the same load of laundry for the 4th time!