Mother’s Day Out starts this week. I’m irrationally excited. Go ahead, judge. But, I’m thinking what a lot of moms won’t say “free free, free at last!” as they drive away from the drop off line. I love Wilder more than I think is healthy sometimes. But, I love myself. There, I said it. You should join me.
It’s really easy to get caught up in the martyrdom, err, I mean motherhood. To sacrifice every single little morsel of yourself to this creature that needs and needs until there’s nothing left (especially when you’re breast feeding through a growth spurt). We’re meant to nurture. I believe we’re even meant to give every last bit we can. To stay up too late working on school costumes and wake too early to pack lunches. To love no matter how hard it might be. To lose sleep. To lose some of ourselves. To let some part of you become “mother” until the day you die. That’s how it should be. But, the martyrdom? We’re not doing anybody any favors.
That’s the thing about giving til the last drop. You aren’t doing your kids any great service. You’re putting a whole lotta pressure on the shoulders of a child to be your everything when you make them your everything. Wilder is my priority. He has needs that only I can fulfill. But, he needs independence. So do I. So do you.
We need a part of ourselves that’s just us. We need to have something sacred that’s carved out and protected. Maybe your sacred thing is watching the Real Housewives of the Great Lakes area or whatever. Maybe it’s crafting from Pinterest (I judge you a little if you find that relaxing, but whatever melts your hand churned butter, man).
Here’s the truth: You can’t give what you don’t have. When you’re all spent it’s hard to do all that nurturing. You can’t water when the well is dry.
Wilder all amped up in the drop off line for MDO.
Being a mom has this little bit of underlying guilt that nags at you. Makes you think you could do everysingle thing just a little bit better. But, the truth is that sometimes you need to walk away and recharge. You need to read a worthless book (guilty) or make a new wreath (really, with the wreaths for every month of the year, aren’t you people exhausted with twisting all that sparkly mesh stuff?) or have a glass of wine or just be still for ten minutes. This is me holding my hand up like “shut up” while all you collective mommies start in with the “but, I can’t –“
I think it’s important to know that who you are matters to your kids. Who you are outside of them. There are great lessons to be learned by daughters, especially, who see strong women. There probably isn’t a better example of this mother/child priority thing than the plane and the air mask thing. You put yours on first or otherwise you’re no good to anybody else.
People often say things like “I don’t know what I did before kids.” I do. I watched two episodes of Vampire Diaries in a row and ate dinner out at 8 p.m. and slept until 10 on Saturdays. And now I’m up at 7:30 aggravated that Nick Jr. dared to change the voices of my favorite Bubble Guppies (thank God I still have 33 episodes on my DVR with original Nonnie’s voice). And I’m going to say the thing I hate to hear people say whenever they complain lest you think they don’t love their children — I wouldn’t have it any other way. Life is richer, more joyful. It’s better. Period. But, this raising a kid thing requires a lot of your spirit.
There are no Super Moms or vampires that require no sleep and eventually you will crash. You’ll run out of that good stuff your kids need — like patience and kindness. I’m a firm believer that no one completes us — not husbands or kids or best friends. That completion thing is between me and God.
I started this post a couple of days ago then got busy looking for nap mats (my kid on a nap mat? I feel a couple future posts on that train wreck) and non-peanut butter lunch items for our peanut-free facility. And now I’m sitting at home with nothing but the sound of Wilder’s sound machine after dropping him off at MDO. He kicked his feet as we arrived in the drop off line. When his old teacher pulled him out of the car he smiled and didn’t look back. No doubt he’s tossing legos about now and telling his classmates how glad he is to finally get some “me time.” We all need our freedom.