Don’t have more than two kids. It’s a lot of work.
Growing up, my mother gave me that advice quite often. I usually pushed it aside, attributing it to her love of dramatics and exaggeration.
Then I became a mother.
Being woken up by a crying, whining four-year-old was not the wake up call I imagined receiving on a snow day. The cause of the temper tantrum? Because somehow he didn’t remember receiving a kiss and hug from dad before he left for work. Because he was still sleeping. (And my poor husband has to navigate icy sidewalks to go to work today. And tomorrow.)
Welcome to day 2 of our 5 day snowy weekend.
Luckily I fell asleep before midnight last night and was only slightly groggy when dealing with His Whinyness. My eight-year-old daughter, on the other hand, was happily watching her latest tv show obsession on Netflix. She usually lets me sleep in. She even makes her own scrambled eggs some mornings.
Everyone says the younger years will fly by and I need to appreciate every moment, but I’m kinda ready for my youngest to get a wee bit older. Or to whine less and wipe his own bottom.
My mother was right.
Motherhood is tough. Tougher when you’re the stay-at-home parent. My mother didn’t have the opportunity to stay home or work from home. As an immigrant without a high school diploma, her career options were severely limited in the 80s and 90s. So my grandparents took care of my sister and I while my parents worked.
Sometimes I feel guilty for even complaining about mornings like today. I should feel lucky that I’m able to work from home. I can be there for my kids’ first steps (missed them both), take care of them when they’re sick (lost count of how many times I’ve been vomited), and make snow angels with them on snow days (like yesterday). I do feel lucky. Motherhood isn’t just about those fun, carefree moments, but the tough ones too.
What keeps me going when motherhood feels like driving through a snowstorm, barely able to see past the front of my car, when I can only take life moment by moment without seeing the big picture?
Time away from my family.
It sounds counter intuitive, right? Except it’s not. As an introvert, I need time away from my family to re-energize. I need time to be me. Not a mother, not a wife. I need that time away to remember who I was before I met my husband (at the age of 18) and who I was before I became a mom. The Whole Me. I need this time to remember to love myself and to take care of myself.
Luckily my husband understands this.
He can tell when I need time away. I’m not pleasant to be around. I’m short-tempered with the kids. I don’t want to be touched by anyone. I’m a zombie mom just going through the motions. That doesn’t make me a good mother or wife. When I get like that my husband sends me away to the coffee shop or Target. Alone.
I sit down with a hot cup of coffee or dig through clearance racks of clothes. More importantly, I’m by myself. I don’t have to open someone’s applesauce or break up a fight about who’s turn it is to pick the next Netflix show. The time away makes me appreciate my family more. I can love them better, to the best of my abilities.
An hour or two later, I come home, a new woman. Or a refreshed mom and wife at least.
So yes, my mother was right. Motherhood is a lot of work. It’s a team effort.
How do you take time out for yourself, away from kids and family?
On the 14th of every month, I’ll be revealing the truth about motherhood with 12 other writers. Follow the hashtag #NakedMoms or click below to read our stories.
Loving the Mom in Me by Stephanie at When Crazy Meets Exhaustion
Loving While Waiting by Heather at Diary of A First Time Mom
Present in Love by Laila at Only Laila
I Loved You Before You Were Born by Joyce at Mommy Talk Show
My Mom Was Right About Motherhood by Thien-Kim at I’m Not The Nanny
Being a Loving Mom Begins With Loving Yourself by Steph at Confessions of A Stay At Home Mom
I Love Being a Working Mom by Vanesse at Mommy Works A Lot
How to Balance Your Checkbook of Love by Diamonte at Liberated Mommy
Naked Love. Learning to Be Vulnerable by Summer at The Dirty Floor Diaries
Back To Love by Brandi at Mama Knows It All