Modern day moms seem to lean hard toward either Team Self-Care or Team Self-Careless.
Today, I’d like to represent the marginalized middle because, honestly, I don’t do either side well.
I have been the mom who paid extra for coffee and massages when I couldn’t really justify the expense but everyone was telling me that was what it looked like to care for myself.
I am also the mom who eats an entire sleeve of chocolate donuts at the gas station while sitting in my car for just five more minutes because I can’t bear to hear, “Mom!!” one mo’ time and I am DESPERATE to feel regular.
As the parent of a child with multiple behavior diagnoses as well as the mama of a sassy daughter who wrote the book on strong-will, my options for alone time are next to non-existent.
Out of necessity for surviving this season in our lives, my husband and I pretty much work opposite shifts while I’m in grad school so we don’t do date nights or bro weekends or girl’s trips because that just isn’t realistic for us right now.
So, mostly, I’m the mom of too much.
Too much homework,
Too many meetings,
Too many feelings,
Too much therapy this week,
Too many complaints from teachers,
Too much stress at work,
Too many bills at home,
Too much to do in a day,
Too many meltdowns errrrywhere…
And on and on the list can spiral while I sit and wallow in what life apparently looks like when you’re a mom in her late 30s who mostly still feels like she can’t even believe doctors allowed her to leave a hospital with actual live babies.
So today I chose to represent the middle moms.
We are the ones who may not have the option to get our nails done or the time for regular hair appointments.
We order our groceries because the thought of taking our rabid children into a public place is paralyzing.
We count the quiet time in our cars in the parent pick-up line as a ‘staycation’.
And we put our few extra dollars into weekly therapy because, honestly, we aren’t sure we will make it any other way.
There may be a day when we sip lattes at noon with our girlfriends on a Tuesday. (Gosh, I hope so.)
There may be girl’s trips and date nights and long drives one day to see our kids who’ve gone away to school or work or to chase a wild dream.
There may be a time when we can be spontaneous and adventurous again but, for now, we pay bills in our pajamas at 1am because that’s when it is quiet enough to do math.
Because, if we are being realistic, we are stuck in the middle right now mostly feeling like we’re floundering, as snagging any amount of time for ourselves feels as life-saving as it does selfish.
And that’s okay.
After a night of sleeplessness (I’d like to thank my Oscar-winning anxiety, allergies, and record-breaking pollen counts), I chose to sleep today. It can feel selfish and insane and wildly irresponsible, but so does ignoring what my body is saying when it physically cannot do anymore.
Somewhere along the last couple of decades, it seems we’ve lost what it means to endlessly love our kids while also allowing ourselves the necessary permission to be actual grown-up humans. The two aren’t mutually exclusive.
And sister, I’m telling you I’m both.
So, whatever caring for yourself looks like in this season, friend, I hope you do that today.
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