This is Day 5 – our final lesson in the series How to Feel Human Again as a Mom.
People are always blown away when they hear how much time I am able to take for myself, even with four kids.
But it wasn’t always this way. I learned the hard way that if I didn’t ask for exactly what I needed, no one was ever going to offer it to me.
I could bitch and moan in my head all I wanted about how I never got a break, how exhausted I was, how my job seemed to last 24 hours since the kids were up all night and only wanted me, and how unfair the duties seemed to be split just because I worked at home and my (now ex) husband worked in an office.
But it seemed to me that as a mom, this was just how it was. I’m not sure where I got that from, but it’s still a very common thing for me to hear.
Often the moms in my programs and community will tell me how they are afraid to ask for a break. Their spouses work all day and they are so tired when they get home, it doesn’t seem fair to ask them to take over parenting duties (and honestly, not many of them are offering either).
But what I realized (when my husband now pointed it out to me) was that I have human needs too. I couldn’t just go non-stop for days on end without expecting to burn into the ground.
I should have been asking for what I needed. It wasn’t anyone’s job to read my mind, and I had to speak up.
But we feel so guilty, as if needing to get away for a few hours or days was the most selfish thing in the world (remember the Mom Guilt lesson from Monday?). We are human, and we need breaks, sleep, nourishment, connection, and to feel like “us” again just like the rest of human beings do.
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.
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.
And through Labor Day at midnight, I’m offering you the chance to bring a friend with you for the cost of one ticket, along with an added accountability track to keep you feeling in that retreat state of mind after you return home.
After you get home, we’ll have group calls and action items for 4 straight weeks to keep you feeling supported, understood, and moving towards your goals with a healthy mindset!
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!
ACTION: What is something you’ve been needing – from your partner, from your boss or co-workers, from a friend or family member, that would help you feel more human again? I know it’s tough to think about doing, but ask for it today. Maybe it’s talking to your spouse about getting away to the retreat, maybe it’s asking a friend to watch your toddler for a few hours so you can read or exercise. Don’t be afraid, and remember that you are worth it!
PS – This mom of 5 is so excited to spend some time on herself at the retreat, and I know you will love her just like I do!