When my kids were much younger, I was a super martyr mom.
I was the President of Everything and my duties were:
- knowing who needed to get where at what time,
- knowing who needed doctor visits and scheduling those appointments,
- knowing whether or not everyone’s emotional needs were being met,
- knowing deadlines for school and filling out all the paperwork
- making sure groceries were bought and everyone in the house was fed
- making sure everyone was getting enough sleep and brushing their teeth
- keeping track of sports schedules and practices
- buying teacher gifts and appreciation
- making sure everyone had clean clothes and bodies
- waking up with anyone who had bad dreams or was sick (with 3 kids it was always someone)
I mean….this list could go on for days.
Even though I not only worked but ran my own business full-time with multiple employees working under me, I felt like as a mom, these duties fell to me. And my (now ex) husband, who frequently saw friends and had no issue taking time to relax, was happy to let me believe it.
I was being a mom all day even though I could afford help, out of complete guilt, and then working after they went to bed until 2am.
It’s no wonder I was exhausted, unhealthy, and downright irritable all the time.
This also all happened at the dawn of social media, when viral Facebook articles about how I’m basically the worst mother ever if I don’t XYZ started showing up in my life on a daily basis, and I had a constant stream of friends and acquaintances with happy smiling faces living what seemed like perfect lives, being perfect moms, right there on my news feed.
But here I was, drowning.
Now as a coach, this is such a common scenario for me to see as clients allow me behind the curtain of their own lives. The title of “Mom” has somehow taken on this ridiculous, totally unrealistic job description of being everything to everyone, all the time.
From the mom who doesn’t believe she is justified in asking for sleep since she stays home and her partner works, to the mom who makes 4 different meals for 4 people every evening because they all have different preferences.
I’ve done allllll those things.
Things all turned around for me the day I decided to ask for exactly what I wanted, and count myself as a whole human being with needs just like the rest of my family.
It didn’t happen overnight, and it still isn’t perfect. But I feel like now, not only do my kids know exactly how to do the same, but that I bring more to the table as a mom than I did when I was spent and giving them my all.
It started with realizing that kids can do their own laundry at a pretty young age! And also, that I didn’t have to be a short order cook although I’m open to ideas about what we can all eat together.
And that grew to a place that now, I have asked for Saturdays off to spend the day doing anything I want (I return the favor for my husband on Sunday). I regularly see my girlfriends, I take time to read, and my life feels perfectly balanced between “Mom” and “Deanna”.
The best part is that my children, who remember me from their youngest years as being mad all the time, distracted, and tired, now notice how much happier I am, and they love it. You can sense the relief that they don’t have to worry about me, and they can enjoy being around me.
It’s hard not to go there with “If only I had this attitude when they were little…motherhood might have been so much better/they might have been happier.” But it happened, and now I’m using that feeling to help YOU not have the same experience.
This is one of the reasons I wanted to host a retreat for moms, the Strength in Mothers Retreat in Austin, TX September 27-29. This is your chance to ask for exactly what you need – a break, some rest, a plan of action for self-care, to connect with others who understand and normalize your feelings, and to come home feeling that much more like YOU again.
You breathe out all year long, here is your chance to BREATHE IN for an entire weekend!
I know schedules are crazy, I know as moms we hate to spend money on ourselves, but you are WORTH the time and investment. You are a mom, but you are also allowed to live your best life!
Maybe someday, your kids will even thank you for taking care of yourself the way mine do now.
I know you probably have questions, feel free to hit reply and ask!