Are you feeling invisible too, mama? Do you spend all your time making sure that everyone around you is “good” and don’t often stop to make sure you’re good, too?
Do you bend over backwards to make sure you set aside time to do all the things other people need (i.e. laundry, cleaning, chauffeuring, cooking, etc.) and often have the people you are doing them for take them for granted? You do it one time and then suddenly, it’s your job, duty or responsibility to make sure it gets done every time after that?
And really, how in the actual hell is there always so. Much. Laundry to do?
Let me be sure to say, I love being a mama. Like, really love it. There is no job title I love more. In fact, I quit my full-time job so that I could spend more time focusing on the role I have come to adore.
But loving it doesn’t mean that it hasn’t also been the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life.
I have always been a caretaker, so for me, falling into the mom role has been a fairly comfortable transition. And by “fairly comfortable,” I mean, at the time of this writing, I still have all my limbs and just over an ounce of my sanity (for now).
Since becoming a mother, though, I, and what I need, have somehow become completely invisible to just about everyone around me, myself included.
Somehow, as I transitioned into being everything for my tiny little human, it has been forgotten that I am a person with my own set of needs as well. What I wouldn’t give for someone to, without prompting, say “thank you for making sure there is food on the table every day.” Or to take my hand, wrap me in a big bear hug, or ask me how my day was with genuine sincerity, and actually listen, like really, truly listen, when I respond.
When did taking on the title of “mama” mean that we are no longer a wife, a woman, or hell, just a Megan? When did simply using the restroom alone (and for two seconds before anyone realizes you’re gone) become “me” time? And WHY is it so easy to just accept this as the way things are now?
I think as mothers, we are hardwired to put our baby’s and our family’s well-being first. And honestly, how can we not?
For me, from the moment I learned that I had a tiny human growing inside of me, I changed just about everything. What I ate, how I slept, how I exercised, what beauty products I used. EVERY decision I made took this growing human I’d never even laid eyes on into account. We do everything we can to make sure our kids get the best out of their little lives and sometimes, that means losing ourselves in the process.
I get so tired of hoping someone else would notice that I, who I am, is slowly slipping away. I get so tired of waiting for someone else to offer me the time I so desperately need to focus on me.
I can feel this way so deeply and so strongly, and for what always feels like SO long. And then I finally reach a breaking point and shatter. Only then do I truly realize there’s a problem. Only then do I pick the pieces up. Only then do I speak up.
Mamas. I know it feels so unnatural and selfish sometimes, but we need to make sure we take care of ourselves too. How are we supposed to be everything to the people that are most important to us if we aren’t paying attention to ourselves a little also? We shouldn’t have to completely fall apart to realize that we need a little time to just be.
So, make a day that is just yours. It doesn’t have to be anything crazy, and maybe it’s only for a few hours every other week. Schedule it. Put it on your shared calendar. Write it on a sticky note and stick on the beer in the fridge. Remind your partner, and then remind them again.
You decide what you want to do with that time- get a pedicure, walk around Target aimlessly and in silence, or hell, stare at a wall for two hours. I’m not here to judge you, because I promise, I’ve done it too. And it was wonderful.
And partners, ask to take some of that load. Force it if need be. You know just how important it is to have time to yourself, so make sure your partner is getting the opportunity to do that. Ask questions about their day, engage, REALLY engage, do something together you did before having kids, NOTICE THEM.
And four the love, don’t forget that sometimes moms need someone to take care of them too.