As women and mothers, we are living in a strange time. Women are not only expected to break glass ceilings within the workplace, but also to hold down the fort at home.
We are the jack of all trades; providing structure, help with homework, homemade dinners, transportation to and from extracurricular activities, and everything in between. All of this while working 40 hours a week.
The expectation, for some ungodly reason, is that THIS is what we signed up for when we decided to bear children. That we should be ever so glad to tote our four children to the grocery store at 5 P.M. after work and school, to hand pick the freshest ingredients for the four course meal we are to have hot and ready for our husbands by 6:30 P.M.
When we do get the opportunity to have a break from said children, it is expected we will miss them so terribly that we ugly cry ourselves to sleep.
But here’s the thing ladies, it is ok to NOT miss your children!
Hard to believe, but you were a whole person before you decided to have children.
I know, it’s hard to believe, but you actually did have a life before kids. A life that allowed you the freedom to leave the house at 9 P.M. because you just had to have that butter pecan ice cream. A life where solitary trips to the grocery store was not considered a luxury. So enjoy the quiet while you have it mama!
Louder for the ladies in the back! I know what you’re thinking, you don’t have time to worry about yourself. Here’s the thing mama, you can NOT be good for anyone else if you aren’t good for yourself. I can imagine every time you hear this, you simply roll your eyes and keep on truckin’. But stop for a minute and reflect on the times you have really been able to focus on you, and how that impacted you as a mother.
Children do not need a perfect mom, they need a happy one. What makes you happy? Is it endless Margarita’s at the local Mexican restaurant? Maybe you prefer coffee and the newest psychological thriller cozied up at the local Barnes & Noble. Whatever it is, make time for it. Make the time for the most important thing in your children’s lives, and that my dear, is you.
Sometimes, they need a break from you, too
Listen, if your child is past the age of five and they haven’t uttered those three little words under their breaths while stomping off to their room, you probably aren’t doing this whole parenting thing right. The truth it, as much as we would love to believe our kids can’t live without us, sometimes that is exactly what they need.
We love the men in our lives, but eventually, when we get to day 792 of that same pair of socks laying on the bathroom floor between the bathtub and the trash can, we snap. Smoke starts billowing out of our ears like Yosemite Sam and the living room sofa becomes the only place free from our wrath. The same thing applies to our children.
Eventually, our kids become tired of hearing us tell them for the 524th time to pick up their shoes from the living room floor. Not only are we the worst parents ever for asking them to take the dog to do their business, but we are condoning child labor and should be charged accordingly.
Sometimes, they need to know that mom isn’t the only one who has rules. Occasionally, it’s ok for grandma to let them drink soda before bed and bend the rules ever so slightly. Just every once in a while, we need to let our kids miss us too.
Taking an occasional break from responsibilities is a breath of fresh air.
I love my children more than life itself. However, now and again, I appreciate not having to plan out dinner. Who doesn’t love being able to go straight home after work, throw on their oldest pair of oversized flannel pajama pants, and lay down on the couch to watch the latest episode of Ozark?
Giving your brain an opportunity to close down the hundreds of browsers running simultaneously is imperative to your mental health. Mom keeps track of doctors’ appointments, sports schedules, holiday get-togethers, assignment due dates, and everything else. The list in itself is utterly exhausting. From time to time, it’s ok to restart and update your settings.
Eventually, your world won’t revolve around your children anymore.
Cue the tears. But really, time goes by so incredibly fast. One minute you’re rocking a colicky two-month old to sleep, and the next they are running off to their first day of 2nd grade. Throwing yourself into parenthood is necessary, but so is remembering not to lose yourself in the process.
We have to learn how to love life with and without our children. The idea in itself seems preposterous, but what will you do when your son starts college and refuses to answer questions with anything other than “yeah” or “I guess so”? As we get older, our priorities change. Hobbies evolve from thirsty Thursday to DIY furniture projects.
Spend time with yourself. Learn new things about your spouse. Enjoy your children. Embrace the chaos, and the calm. Not one of us will escape this world alive.