Making Time For Yourself As A Mom Is Freaking Hard, So Why Isn’t Anyone Talking About It?
Have you ever read an article that tells you to take more time for yourself and you just you read the title and roll your eyes a little?
Or do you ever get advice that tells you to take a break (you deserve it!) and you glance over the words encouraging you “take more time for yourself” and sigh heavily because yeah, right.
I get it, Mama, I really do. I have felt my hands ball up in frustration like that Arthur meme that is floating around the Internet when I’ve read any article suggesting that I “just” make more time for myself or “just” take a break, as if it is as easy as snapping a finger and an affordable, safe, reliable babysitter magically appearing on a day my kids aren’t sick (is it just me or are anyone else’s kids always sick??) and I just have loads of free time and no work and endless amounts of money to go pamper myself with a pedicure.
The reality is that doing anything for yourself as a mom is freaking hard work. In almost every single way, taking time for yourself as a mom is harder than not taking time for yourself. And I don’t think anyone is really admitting that.
I used to think that all these mothers dolling out the advice to take care of myself more were more relaxed than me or had more help than me or maybe just had endless amounts of free time on their hand in which to “take time for themselves.” In my mind, there were two types of moms: moms like me, who literally never do their hair (I’m not exaggerating here and it’s not cute) and moms who had more time than me to do their hair. I used to think it was just easy for them and hard for me.
But the truth is, those “other” moms know something that I don’t and it’s a pretty simple secret: you have to make time for yourself as a mom and it’s not always easy. It sounds ridiculous, but I feel like for the past eight years a mom, I’ve been waiting for things to “slow down” or for me to finally find a secret pocket of time in my life where I could finally get my act together and learn how to find time to do my hair in the morning or dress cute or nurture my creative side or incorporate a spiritual practice into my day, but the hard truth is, that time will not come to me magically.
As moms, we have to take that time.
We have to steal it, rob it, run with it, and guard it fiercely.
I think that what every mom “needs” to feel like herself is different -- some might need time in the morning to blow-out their hair, some might need a creative hobby, some might need full-time work, some might need exercise, some might need to just sit in silence for 10 freaking minutes -- but I do think that whatever it is that you need to feel more like you is worth taking.
I wish that someone would have told me earlier that no one was going to hand me the magical thing I needed to feel better as a new mom. No one was going to lay out my clothes in the morning and say, “Chaunie, you don’t have to wear yoga pants all day. You are allowed to put on a shirt that makes you feel good and not just like a slob.” No one was going to give me a permission slip to quit my job and pursue a new one. No one was going to look me over in disdain if I decided that I wanted to squat for my “me” time instead of go to a spa. No one was going to lay out a freaking red carpet to my “me” time -- I had to do it for myself.
Obviously, I’m a slow learner, but I’m getting there. I’m starting small -- giving myself permission to put on a cute outfit, even if I’m going to be home all day with little kids and never even leave my house, taking time to do my hair once in awhile, just because I feel like it, spending money on a gym membership without beating myself up about it. I’ve even let go some of the ideas of what I’ve always thought I needed to do to take “time for myself.” For example, I just don’t care about my nails, I just don’t. I’ve always thought that “someday” I’d be the type of mom who always had manicured nails, but you know it? It’s just not me. So why feel bad about it?
The point is, taking time for yourself as a mom is about more than “just” taking time for yourself. It’s about finding out what is important to you, letting everything else go, and sometimes fighting for what you need.