The Empty Cup
Motherhood is so many things: amazing, heart-filling, soul-completing, humor-filled, chaotic—the list goes on. But one thing it definitely, definitely is HARD! MOTHERHOOD IS EFFING HARD. It is exhausting, humbling, and not always so graceful.
I laugh about how I used to think I was tired before I had kids. If I could go back in time, I would laugh in 24-year-old me's so-called tired face. Then I'd take a nap in her bed with its decorative throw pillows (which have been replaced by crumbs, thanks to my kids.)
We are up early and to bed late. Sick toddlers and colicky babies. Night-before school birthday party cupcake-making. Wiping noses and butts. "If I hear mom being called one more time" moments. "Eat your dinner, eat your dinner, eat your dinner" broken record mom every night. "Can't remember the last time you went to the bathroom without interruption or an audience" kinda days. Stepping on legos or army men that you asked to be cleaned up 283,733 times. Smiling at strangers in the grocery store as you dodge their sympathetic and horrified glances, while you navigate your way through yet another epic meltdown that your child almost seems to be enjoying. The list goes on and on, right?
We lose our sense of self-care somewhere amongst the hustle and bustle of carpools and T-ball games, playdates and school orientations. Somewhere along the way, we forget that we matter too. At least once a day, I question if I'm losing my mind. Some days, I yell, and some days, I scream. Some days, I can't get enough little hugs. And some days, I can't stand the thought of being touched or called for one more time.
I get into these little ruts every now and then. We all do and I can usually tell when one is coming. The last week or so has been just that. I feel blah. A little uninspired to write. I skipped the gym like 4 days in a row and feel gross about that. I'm breaking out. I need a haircut and haven't gotten my nails done in 2 weeks. Simply put, I'm tired and just not feeling very wonderful.
Between work and the mom duties, my roles at the kids' schools, household obligations, the grocery shopping, cooking, and the laundry, I have let my own self-care slack a bit the last couple weeks. Which brings me to my point: how can I give my best if I don't feel my best? How can I give my all if I'm only feeling 50%? The saying rings so true—you can't pour from an empty cup.
How can we expect to function as our best selves if we aren't making the time to be our best selves?
We need to take the time for ourselves. Whatever that means for you. Maybe it means getting a haircut or reading a book once the kids are in bed. Or letting the laundry go till the next day, so you can take a hot shower, put on a face mask, and watch a TV show that isn't on Nick Jr. Or going for a hike or hitting the gym. Whatever makes you feel refreshed and replenished—do that! Give yourself a little grace.
I constantly go to bed worrying about what I did wrong that day. Did I yell too much? Did I handle this situation OK? Did the kids play outside enough? Did we read enough stories? You get the idea. Self-doubt and guilt in motherhood seem to go hand in hand.
But one thing I've learned along the way these last few years is that no one benefits when I'm not feeling 100%. No one benefits when I don't feel my best. No one benefits when I'm unhappy or stressed.
So, instead of finishing all the items on my mom to-do list, I consider taking an hour to go to the gym, or 30 minutes at the end of the night for a shower and a facial, or I read a new book. Since these things make me feel better, they're exactly what I need to do for myself.
Self-care, when you're a mom, is non-negotiable. It can't be. We need to stop making excuses for why we can't or don't have time to look after ourselves.
Take it from me, an empty glass is a lot easier to crack than a full one. And you can't pour from an empty cup, so make sure you don't forget to fill yours up!
So, how do YOU practice self-care? Let me know in the comments!