I remember when I became a mom for the first time. Everything was exciting and new. Here I was 22 years old, barely married for a year and I was now responsible for a whole human! The first few days after my son was born I had quite a few visitors. Each visitor with the same question, “How’s the baby?” There weren’t many that asked the same question of me. After all, I was the one in labor for 36 hours. I wasn’t the first woman in the world to have a baby, and I wouldn’t be the last so I was expected to get through it. I needed to take care of this new baby.
It’s been 14 years since my son was born. I’ve had five more kids since then and still, I can say not much has changed. With each child came more responsibility, and the same question was asked, “How’s the baby?” I’d like to give myself a pat on the back for successfully keeping six kids healthy and thriving, but at what cost to myself. So I’m going to ask you Mama, the question that few people asked me. A question that no one really asks any mama these days, How are YOU doing? I mean really doing?
If I’m being honest, if someone was asking me how I was doing, my immediate answer would be, “I’m doing well.” But here’s the thing, sometimes, as a person I’m not doing well, and that’s fine too. As moms, I feel like we are so focused on making sure everyone around us is taken care of that we often neglect ourselves. We say we’re fine, or okay when really we just want to scream, “I ned help!” I encourage my kids to talk about their feelings and as their mom, I have taught myself over the years to hide my own.
Whether you have one child or 20, it’s a hard gig. There are so many facets to motherhood too. There are stay-at-home moms, working moms, work from home moms, entrepreneurial moms, I mean the list could go on and on. The commonality of all of these moms is a woman doing the best she can do for her family. As a mom I go back and forth between a state of exhaustion to joy. There are days where I am bursting with energy and other days where I don’t want to get out of bed.
I want you to know that whatever you’re feeling in your motherhood journey right now you are not alone. I have gone from a house of kids running around all day while I prayed for quietness, to the quietness that I prayed for and wanting a house full of kids running around. Craziness I know, but that is motherhood. We experience so many highs and lows and extremes. I have had days where the moment a kid cries, I cry and we’re all just a crying mess. I’ve also had days where my husband has insisted that I take a break and I’ve just sat in my car in the driveway because the thought of doing something or going somewhere by myself was so overwhelming I didn’t know where to go or what to do.
It’s taken me fourteen years to realize that every emotion that I feel as a mom is okay. It’s okay to be super happy one minute, and wanting a place to hide in the next. I have learned to ask for help. My husband is a great dad, when I’m feeling overwhelmed, we have a code word and he doesn’t ask any questions, he jumps right in and helps. I’m not supermom. I tried to be that mom a long time ago, it didn’t work for me. I found myself more miserable than I was happy.
So here’s what I want you to do. I want you to take care of yourself. Take that break that you’ve been needing but haven’t taken. If you are a mom that makes lists, but “breaktime” on the top of that list. Here’s the thing, we can’t be good moms if we’re burning the candle on both ends. We can’t possibly contribute to the happiness and well being of others when we are neglecting our own happiness and well being. Don’t let mom guilt stop you from taking time for yourself. You deserve a break, you’ll be a better Mama for it. I promise.
Until next time