First, a caveat: my life is easy.
It’s not hard by any stretch of anyone’s imagination. I know that – I’m incredibly blessed and so lucky. I work hard to deliberately keep our life as simple and as organized and as “unbusy” as possible – mostly because I don’t do well with chaos or too much on my plate. It all gets done, but I turn into a shrew in the process, everything is sloppy by the time it’s over, and I make life unpleasant for anyone (everyone?!) around me.
So. In mid-May, I realized I was going to have about a week ALL. BY. MYSELF. Beholden to no one. Answering to no one. Considering only myself. Doing what I want, when I want. I was giddy making impressive plans: cleaning out closets, thinking, sorting clothes, purging toys, writing, cleaning random spaces, taking time for me, catching up with friends, eating more veggies, finishing projects. It was going to be glorious.
But, life happened and the last month has been nuts (according to my definition, anyway). I’m sure there are many of you who would laugh at my idea of nuts, because you do this much stuff before your second cup of coffee every day. But like I said, I try and keep things simple and not busy.
My first full day alone was not productive. I checked one thing off my list and made a little progress on some other things. But it was nowhere near the dazzling whirlwind of productivity I envisioned.
Instead, I was quiet.
I was still.
I was slow.
I took deep breaths.
At first, I felt like I was definitely #notwinning. But in my stillness, I realized this was what I wanted to do. And I realized if this was what I felt compelled to do when I had all the options available to me, maybe I should just roll with it. Maybe it’s what I actually needed to do.
As moms, it’s so hard to take time for ourselves and think of ourselves first. We’re told that’s not what a “good” mom does. We feel guilty putting ourselves first, and we think what we want is unimportant – or at least should be at the bottom of the list. There is – and will always be – more to do. Someone else who needs something, another room to tidy, another errand to run, more clothes to wash.
But it’s critical – especially for you new moms – to remember YOU.
It’s OK to leave the baby with a sitter for an hour so you can sit in Starbucks with a decaf latte and thumb through a People magazine. Doing nothing “productive” except recharging and resting and not tending to someone else is totally acceptable.
I once saw something that said, “You don’t need to set yourself on fire to keep other people warm.” That’s pretty extreme, but it’s true.
You can’t care for anyone else if you’re empty yourself. So please, Mom, find some time to look after you, however feels best. Be a priority in your own life. You are worth it.