My new MOM-tra (and why being selfish can be a good thing for your children)
Today is Mother's Day and everyone is plastering the internet with pictures of their amazing mother who has supported them through the years and has always been there for them. As a mother myself, I can certainly get behind a day to honor mothers, however commercialized it may be. It also got me thinking, though, about how much mother's DO sacrifice for their children and how this isn't always a good thing.
At preschool everyone is "so-and-so's mom". I'm just the reason my daughter exists and the means of getting cupcakes delivered on her birthday and an extra chaperone for the field trip. Hardly anyone knows that my names is Sarah or what I do for a living and nobody certainly has any ideas what my hobbies are or if I own any pets, etc. It's just how it is in the world of parenthood and I'm fine with that. What gets frustrating is losing myself within the role of "mommy". Lately I've been working to change that and from this my mantra has been born.
MOM: My Objectives Matter!
WAY too often I have skipped a workout opportunity because my child had a playdate or I've made something less than ideal for dinner because I was too tired and didn't want to argue over zucchini for the zillionth time. I stay up late preparing my girls for the next day and making them super healthy lunches, only to run out the door the next morning with nothing made for my day. Lately I've begun being selfish and reaizing that what I want DOES matter. Best of all, when I'm a little "selfish", I'm a better mother.
I'm not saying that I'm going out all night partying because that's what I need to do to feel like me. Being a mom is important business, after all! I AM allowing myself to go out every month or two to a girl's night without guilt, though, and it feels great. My husband goes to a friend's house almost every Friday night with no regrets and I encourage him to do so, but somehow that martyr mom feeling sneaks into my brain when it's my chance to have a break.
Lately I'm making time to exercise, to prepare lunch, to take time one-on-one with my husband, and am even planning a trip next month to see my best friends for FOUR WHOLE DAYS! Know what? It feels great. I'm doing what makes me happy and this makes me a much better mom. When I'm home with my children I'm not resentful anymore and truly have way more fun with them. When I start feeling overwhelmed by the laundry and dirty tub and pile of dishes I'm now asking for help and am getting it. I don't have to do everything and quite frankly I don't want to do everything anymore. I'm tired. I want to sleep in once a week and take time to get back into my old clothes. I want to sit for a whole hour (gasp!) and have a cup of coffee with a friend. Sometimes, I go grocery shopping ALONE and enjoy every blissful child-free moment. Am I being selfish? Maybe. I don't really care anymore. I'm slowly becoming Sarah again and I'm realizing how much I missed myself. My children also are noticing and my oldest will make comments about "you need to exercise mommy so you can be super healthy". By taking time to be someone other than her mommy for an hour a day I'm setting a good example for her on the importance of healthy habits and I think that's one of the best things I can do as a mother.
So, today, on Mother's Day, and every day hereafter, ask yourself if you are losing yourself in the world of "mom" and if there is something you can do each day to help you feel happier and healthier. You have a very important job- taking care of yourself helps you take care of your children better. On an airplane you are suppose to put on your oxygen mask before assisting others- I think that rule should apply a bit more in non-emergency life, too. Keep up the good work, mama, and remember your objectives in life really and truly do still matter!