Mama, What Do You Do For You?

Last night I stayed up until 11pm reading a book. I devoured every page and allowed myself to get lost in a world without responsibilities. I didn’t check the time. I didn’t worry about my rapidly approaching wake up call from my 5.5 month old (thank you Leap 5). I just let the fictional characters fill my mind and distract me.

It was glorious, but I paid the price today in exhaustion.

Remember when you could pull a double shift, stay out past 2am and then do it all again the next day? Remember the endless energy? The high alcohol tolerance? The lack of real responsibilities? No one repeating your name over and over while busting through the bathroom door you swore you locked?

Those days are long gone, but I wouldn’t trade a day of my current chaos for the nights of total freedom. Well, except maybe the part about pooping in peace. I miss that the most.

But, those blissful 4 hours of getting lost in a novel reminded me how much I miss and just how much I need to do something for myself every day. I need to recharge my “me” battery. I need to forget reality and mute the anxiety and nagging that comes with motherhood.

I cannot recall the last time I did that. During my last massage I thought about work and my kids the entire 90 minutes. Last time I got a pedicure, I checked emails instead of relaxing. I don’t even remember the last time I worked out.

I’m tired and exhausted. My battery hasn’t been recharged in months. And while I know this is a short season in life, I can’t help but long for the nights of uninterrupted sleep.

And no, Karen, I’m not wishing time away or ignoring the blissful moments that come with being a mom to a 3 year old and a 5.5 month old.

I am not doing either of those things. But, I am slowly realizing that I cannot continue at the pace and rate I am going.  My health suffers – when I don’t sleep, I don’t make smart food choices. When I don’t make smart food choices, I don’t workout. When I don’t workout, I feel tired and sluggish and the cycle continues. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

Mamas, we can’t keep running on empty. We have to take time to recharge. We need time to rest and relax and have conversations that don’t center around poop (diapers, potty training, husbands that take an hour to poop, longing to poop in solitude – for real, as a parent 85% of your conversations are about poop).

This is my challenge to me … and maybe you if this resonates … commit to at least 30 minutes of alone time. Workout. Sip your coffee. Drink a glass of wine. Read a book. Lock the door when you go poop. Your kids may not realize it and you might not either, but taking this time will make you a better mom, wife and woman. You need this.

Husbands, if you’re reading this, give your wife that time. Don’t talk to her while she’s trying to read. Don’t knock on the bathroom door. Don’t say her name. Don’t send the kids looking for mommy. Dad, you’ve got this. And Mamas, he’s got this. Don’t stress about how Dad dads. He has his way, you have yours and that’s okay. In fact, that’s perfect.

Mamas, give yourself 30 minutes to recharge. What are you going to do for you?

Me? I’m going to get my butt upstairs for a workout. I need it.

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