The other day I had plans to go to an event with a friend. She’s a mom of two little ones like I am and, like me, she doesn’t try to sugarcoat how hard it is to get through the day. It’s one of the many reasons I love spending time with her. I don’t have to preface my venting with statements like “I really love my kids don’t get me wrong…” or “I know this is going to sound awful but…” because I know she gets it. Of course we love our kids. That doesn’t mean we can’t also recognize that they are complete assholes most of the time and make us daydream about running away during “the witching hour”, also known as bath and bed time.
Shortly before the event started I got a text from my friend letting me know that she had gotten there early and realized she had some time to grab a bite and that she would meet me inside. The exchange that followed perfectly sums up just how important it is to find time for ourselves whenever and wherever we can without feeling guilty about it. As I sat down waiting for the event to start I got a text from her that read “Hey so I’m just sitting alone in the parking lot in my car eating noodles from the Chinese place with my hands because they didn’t give me silverware”. I answered with a “you go girl” meme and laughed to myself as the event began. As it came to a close she still hadn’t made it inside. I checked my phone and saw a message that simply said “I just sat for awhile and went home. Sorry bud”. I literally couldn’t stop smiling for almost an hour. Why? Because I knew exactly how much my friend needed that time for herself and was genuinely happy and so proud of her for allowing herself to do what felt good.
As mothers we spend so much time going and doing in an attempt to meet impossible standards of what we perceive to be acceptable parenting. If I’m not physically with my children there’s a good chance I’m running errands that have to do with them, whether it’s buying groceries or driving frantically to the pediatrician to pay a $35 fee for a copy of an immunization record that needed to be turned in to the daycare three days ago. When I do have some time to myself I can’t help but feel guilty if I’m not doing something “productive”. The guilt that comes along with choosing to do something completely for myself, whether it’s getting a haircut or grabbing lunch with a friend or just doing nothing at all is on another level entirely. I spend hours daydreaming about how good it would feel to just crawl under my covers and take a nap, but when the time comes to actually be able to do it all I think about is how I’m lazy and that other moms would probably use the opportunity to do things like make home-made vegan baby food purees or pick their kid up from daycare early and make a fairy fort out of sticks in the backyard or whatever “good moms” do.
I’ll go ahead and say it: Screw. That. Why don’t I deserve to take a nap? Why isn’t it perfectly acceptable to take my children to daycare on a day I have off and just be for a day? Why is it that I’m able to praise my friend for giving herself permission to eat noodles in the parking lot and blow off going to an event because sitting with herself felt better but I’m not able to do the same for myself? I know I’m not the only one who feels this way and I’m calling BS on this whole thing. Not only is it acceptable, it’s necessary! “Do you” is going to be my new motto and I’m committing to allowing myself to “do me” at least once a day even if it’s only for five minutes. Cheers to all the moms out there who are kicking ass without even realizing it. Do yourself a favor: go pick up some take out and go to town on it by yourself in your car. Forget the silverware and shove that deliciousness in your mouth with your hands like the warrior you are. You deserve it. We all do.