Here's a brief summation of all my close Mom friends’ issues this past week alone: ACT prep/tutor/tests, high school finals, college finals, dance/play rehearsals, prom weekend “car wash” (dress/hair/makeup/nails/wax), camp forms, car trouble, migraines due to wacky weather, carpool issues, Can You Believe that Mom Said horror stories, travel sports trumping family time, dinner/dinner/dinner, bills & taxes, college housing demands, summer internships, book tour stress, high school couple “break-up”, bad grades, dog needs surgery, knee needs replacement, sick kids while dealing with heavy work load, iffy mammogram results, 'why can't I fit into my jeans' concerns, slacker husband, teen ‘tude, school wrap up sign-up (field day, graduation ceremony/graduation party planning), and 'Le Mother’s Day Plan.'
Yes, the last one was a stressor too. Mother’s Day. The joke’s on us, isn’t it? Let’s be honest: Every day is Mother’s Day. We are ALWAYS on duty, a 24/7 full-service one-stop shop. Always. So, here’s what I’m thinking, and yeah, it’s a bit radical, but I’m going to gift it to you anyway ... a Hall Pass, a reminder to give yourself a much-needed break in the middle of all the crazy. As in, you have no other option but to take it. What the heck – I’m even going to go out on a limb and hashtag it: #MomHallPass
You are a great Mom, even on those days when you think you’ve fallen short. You are a great wife, even on those days when you fantasize pulling off a Thelma & Louise. You are a great daughter, even on those days when you avoid your parent’s call because you “just can’t deal.”
What you are, what I am, what my bestie is … is depleted. And in layman’s terms: tired, wiped, exhausted. And the month of May, with all its blossoming flowers, shows us no mercy.
Here’s where I’m going with this … Why wait for Mother’s Day (May’s lone olive branch), for the requisite bouquet, the maybe-breakfast in bed, the maybe-someone else in the house doing laundry/dishes/errands, the cards, the extra goodies. The one Sunday allegedly dedicated to you — unless, of course, you are a Sports Mom — and that day still goes to the team. What are we waiting for?
The Tired Mom phenomenon, I’m afraid, is glaring in klieg lights: Everyone else in your life takes first, second, third place, while you can barely cross the finish line.
It’s high time for some no-nonsense self-care. No one’s going to give it to you – so I am. Here’s your Hall Pass, Girlfriend. Note to self: Just. Do. It.
- Don’t stress about dinner. Order in, especially if it’s one of “those" days. Why wait, order in TODAY. Did I mention it’s National Mom Hall Pass Day? If Facebook can coin National Yogurt Day or National Manicure Day — so can I.
- Next time you go to the grocery store – ask yourself, “What do I want?” The first time I did that, after two of my three daughters went off to college, I was lost ... I didn’t have any clue what I wanted. It was all about what my kids like, my husband likes. One grocery shopping … that’s all. Start there. Make it about YOU. This will force you to remember what it is you actually like … and I promise, kale does not make it into the Top 10.
- If your kid is not following the “Plan” — let it go. I’m personally working on this. I tried it yesterday and I felt so much better, and my daughter felt so much better. (She told me so). Win-win. It’s their life, their choices, their successes and failures, their life lessons. I’m a saver … but sometimes you gotta stand back, buckle your seatbelt, and let them save themselves.
- Even if you have NO TIME, schedule coffee/wine with the girls – or whoever your Best Girl is, the one who laughs with you, listens, and sees you—and vice-versa. I’ve been under intense deadline pressure lately and all I have been doing is saying NO to everyone these days, avoiding calls — and taking them only if I’m driving, just to get my overwhelming amount of work done, and I’ve been uber-miserable, and admittedly grouchy. Girl Time IS the healer, coffee and wine are the magic ingredients. Stop in your Crazy Tracks, and make time with your bestie.
- Sex. You’re so tired … the last thing you want … Just do it. If it’s not with your significant other, then find that special time for yourself. (Yes, I did just write that). It’s all part of self-care. And if sex isn’t on the table … then get into a bathtub with candles and your fave music, and just veg … The key is, it's your time, your body. The part of you that belongs to you … the woman (not Mom) — yes, she’s in there somewhere. Let her out.
- Buh-bye Peloton, the treadmill, the trainer, and dictator Spin cyclists. That’s work/torture … if weather permits, take a walk/stroll to nurture your soul, with your dog or no dog, but definitely with your music and NO RETURNING CALLS.
- I’m still working on this one … I’m Lisa Barr, and I’m an iPhone-aholic. I LIVE on it for work/kids/everything else. Take an hour — just one (not a lifetime) — off your phone/Facebook/Insta and the rest of those time/energy suckers and just hear the rhythm of your inner voice – the true connection. If you listen to you, then I promise others will follow suit.
- Demands … my husband tells me every day — just say NO. I’m the quintessential YES WOMAN. Guilt is my middle name. I hate hurting anybody, and I lose sleep over it. But choosing to say No when you truly feel it, is best for everyone. Saying Yes but meaning NO leads to depletion, anger, and resentment.
- BUT, always say YES to you … it’s not selfish, it’s the greatest gift you can offer. Do you want a massage – do it. Do you want to buy that little dress you’ve been eyeing or those shoes – ABSOLUTELY YES. Don’t wait for that special occasion. Do you want a glass of wine before 5 p.m. – have a rosé at lunch? Umm, yes, please. I was so stressed the other day by so many demands – work and family combined — that I just said “Enough. I’m SO done. And I turned off my phone, shut my computer, cradled my dog into my arms and watched a Netflix guilty pleasure, a show that my husband hates (not on our ‘list’) in the middle of the day! Huge departure for me — but afterward, I felt great, guiltless, and energized to take on my world.
Here’s the deal, my friends. Sometimes we just need a break and our lives simply won’t allow it. The raw truth is, we can blame everyone else for feeling mentally and physically wasted, but it’s on us — WE won’t allow it. We are afraid to let go of those things that “define” us, shackle us, To-Do List us.
When you do decide to let go of the overwhelming details and make a real commitment to YOU ... one day turns into two, two into three. I’m not preaching here. This blog is as much for me as it is for you. If I can do it — and we’re talking Type-A perfectionista, stickie-note Queen — then you can do it too.
Here's my proposal: Why go solo? Let’s say "let that shit go" together. Yeah, let's Groupon this. YOU, Me, and the Mom Next Door – We CAN do this, do US first. Not tomorrow, not some lame-o Mom Diet Monday Morning resolution, but today. Starting right NOW.
Lisa Barr is the editor and creator of GIRLilla Warfare and author of the award-winning novel Fugitive Colors.