Motherhood is a 24-hour-a-day, 365 days a year always on the clock job. Between middle-of-the-night feedings in those early days to phone calls from the school nurse that your kid is running a fever, we never really get the chance to truly shut off. But making a point to prioritize yourself during motherhood is so important.
I’ve been lucky enough to be able to stay home and raise my special needs son, and I don’t take that for granted. However, this privilege has brought on a certain obligatory feeling I was not expecting. The requirement for me to be productive with every minute of my day. These unrealistic expectations I have placed on myself are causing me to burn myself out making everything harder than it needs to be. I needed to fix this problem ASAP, but how?
Taking time away is healthy and helpful
It’s so important to step away from the chaos that is our lives! I know what you may be thinking, easier said than done. Let me ask you this, why is it that we prioritize our children but not ourselves?
We put all of our time and effort into making sure our children are happy, healthy, and cared for all while putting ourselves on the backburner. It’s time we break the cycle of always being last and move to the front of the line. Recently, I did something that doesn’t always come easily. I took some time away from my family.
Enter a girls’ trip
My girls have been in my life since I was in high school, and we all have never taken a trip together. This year, we decided to change that! After 20+ years of friendship, we planned a weekend away from our husbands, our children, and our problems to unwind and spend some much-needed time together. We packed up the car and headed to Maine to enjoy some R&R. While the weather wasn’t on our side until the last day, the experience was one I’ll always cherish.
It was such a laid-back 3 days of no one asking anything of me. No responsibilities, no worries. I can’t remember the last time I had that luxury. We had nothing planned for our time together except doing whatever felt right. Whether it was relaxing in the house binging an entire season of Schitt’s Creek or getting matching tattoos to solidify our friendship in ink, we did whatever we wanted. We ended our trip by taking a selfie and talking about when our next adventure together should be. We’re planning for the Spring!
What this trip did for me
Once home, I noticed a significant change in my head space. I felt lighter, happier, and calmer. Finding a piece of myself while on vacation was exactly what the doctor ordered. We lose so much of ourselves when we become parents, it was nice to see a glimpse of the old me again. Moving forward changes would be made to start making the time for myself and not feel guilty about it! Not only am I a better wife and mother for it, but more importantly I feel better.
Whether it is going to the gym, taking a vacation, or getting a pedicure taking a step back from motherhood is essential for our sanity. Remember these lifesaving instructions from flight attendants: put on your oxygen mask first before helping others. Why is this important? If you run out of oxygen yourself, you can’t help anyone else with their mask. Let’s remember to never run out of oxygen.