Yes, you! The mum with three kids hanging off her. And you over there, that mum with five kids who are sick this holidays. And, of course, you with the one kid too.
All of you. All you mums who are tired and exhausted and nearing the brink of total, catastrophic meltdown.
Yea, you know who I’m talking about.
It’s time. It’s time to stop what you are doing, walk away from the laundry. Put away that vacuum cleaner. Put down the saucepan (and make sure to switch off the oven too, because fire).
Mum Guilt. Post Natal Depletion. Toddler Drain. The Mad Army Of Little People That I Made.
We hear about it all the time, so we know it’s a thing.
But that doesn’t mean that it has to be a thing.
I mean, let’s be honest here, ladies. Can I be real for a minute? Yes?
The guilt will always be there. I’m no fool. I know such things.
But, here’s my point in this splotchy and random rant today.
We, the Mothers of the World, need to TAKE A FREAKIN BREAK. And, even more so, we need to do it and NOT GIVE A CRAP NOR APOLOGISE ABOUT IT.
I know, it’s hard. I am probably the most guilty of all the guilty people when it comes to never switching off, and putting the kids (and the husband) (and the dog) (and the neighbourhood cat) above myself and my needs. I get something ridiculous like 4 hours sleep per night, and a lot of that is spent having weird dreams about my kids and husband and cheese. I juggle 600,000,001 things per day, none of which are self serving.
So, I get it.
But – NO.
When you fly in an plane, and you sit in your seat and get ready for that all-important safety message, what does the flight attendant say?
Other than “Count the rows to the exit, the nearest exit may be behind you”??
“If oxygen masks should fall during the flight, please make sure yours is on before assisting others”.
And now, a show of hands please – how many of you Mothers out there (and parents in general, tbh) would put your own mask on before you put one on your child?
But you have to, because that’s what they said.
Today, I lay down a challenge for all the Mums of the aforementioned list.
Let’s start small. Once, just ONCE this week, I would love for you all to apply this to everyday life. Not the oxygen masks bit, smarty pants. Unless you are on an aircraft and the oxygen masks do happen to fall, in which case, shit, do your thang!
But no, I’m talking about applying it to our everyday, chaotic messes that we call daily life.
I want you to take a moment to PUT YOURSELF FIRST.
Tell your husband, the kids are here, they are fine, I’m going out for tea. And gather your faves, your squad, your besties and go out for dinner. Or get together for a stitch and bitch. Or go to the movies alone. Anything that is 100%, entirely for YOU. You, you strange beautiful woman.
Men don’t get the same guilt we do. I don’t know why. But they don’t.
The thing is, what good are you, as a mother, as a wife, as a person, if you have reached a stage of blowout? What good are you to yourself if you are too tired to think, too tired to exist?
What good are you if your health starts to suffer while your kids thrive?
This is something I have learned the hard way this past month. And I’m still learning. And I don’t have the answers. But what I do have, is a plan. A plan to take time for me.
My life is so damn busy, I’m effectively working three jobs while raising three kids. I have reached the point where my health is suffering dangerously. So something HAD TO CHANGE.
I’ve started small. Scheduling in “me time” in my week. Extending my daughter’s preschool hours so I can have an extra hour to focus on me. And not feeling BAD ABOUT IT. And, even more so, not scheduling anything into that time! I also treat exercise like an errand. I “book” it in on my calendar, so there are no excuses.
I read. I have a book and I am forcing myself to take the time to read it. Even if it’s while I sit on the loo, it’s reading something that has more than six words per page.
I take showers and I *gasp* lock the door. Or sing so loudly I can’t hear the kids yelling at me from the other side of the glass shower door.
I am learning to unapologetically put myself first occasionally. Because I had to. Because I was a fast sinking ship and I needed to make a change quickly.
So there it is. I reiterate, I am setting the challenge for all y’all. Take some time for YOU. Make the time. Don’t feel bad about it. DO IT.
Because your kids need you. Your husband needs you. Your family and friends need you. YOU NEED YOU.
I need you.