(It wasn’t my intention to make this part of the honesty theme, but as I started to type it out it fit. So, I guess I’m starting.)
With a mere 5 months of motherhood under my belt, I’m certainly no expert. I still consider myself a new mom, but find myself offering advice to “newer” moms. One of the most important bits of advice I throw out there is to make sure you have time for yourself.
I’m not honestly sure where I learned this. My mom was a stay at home mom that didn’t have a ton of activities outside of us that I can recall (not that this is a bad thing, I simply don’t remember). Maybe its just because in my experience of watching over the years I’ve found moms have one thing in common: they are often exhausted. I for one am someone who is constantly involved in something as I feel like I need it to recharge. So, I offer the advice with the justification that a happier you will equal a better mom.
Over the last few weeks I’ve noticed something: I’m tired. I’m edgy. I’m more quickly annoyed and more easily bothered. Sure, months of broken sleep could definitely be a factor, but it feels like a different kind of exhaustion. It’s bothered me because even as I write this I still can’t quite put a finger on the cause. I don’t feel overwhelmed by work or the time I spend at home. Bryan happily takes over so I can exercise or go out and when he can’t I take them with me or give them toys while I spend 30 minutes on the elliptical. I still have a few outside activities. My house is only a half disaster.
There are many people out there who believe that once you have children, they are to become the focus. The problem with that theory, I think, is that it wears you out when you spend ALL of your energy on something other than yourself or your relationship. In fact, even the Babywise book has a section about taking time with your spouse in order to keep your relationship healthy.
Yesterday Bryan told the babies that they were his 2 favorite people in the world. Pretending to be insulted, I asked where I fit in, to which he responded “if given the choice between them and me, wouldn’t you choose them?”.
In a way, I think I already have.
It’s a bit ironic because I can easily name 3 activities that I participate in that allows me to be me without having to be mom. At least a few times a week I’m able to have some time to recharge. I realize that have what many (both moms and non moms) would love to have. I am very grateful for that. The problem is that while I can get my BODY away, I can’t seem to say the same for my BRAIN. And completely unnecessary GUILT and WORRY.
Am I making sure the babies get enough sleep (at least what’s under my control)? Are they really ok in day care? Am I letting Bryan have enough time away? My house is a mess! There is stuff everywhere! Can we really afford this toy/trip/necessary or unnecessary expense? Boy I hope the babies will take a nap. Uh oh, did I just hear a baby cry/whimper/squeal? There is just so much to DO. And for some reason I feel like I need to be able to do it all.
The original intent of this post was to say I should try to find a way to heed my own advice in my brain, not just my body, but as I type this out, I feel a little like a spoiled brat. I have a nice balance when it comes to working/staying home, I have time to do things I want/need to do (at least most of the time), a husband who is happy to help…and yet I feel tired and grumpy. Annoyed over things that aren’t done. And for what?
Maybe its just a phase. Maybe it’s a new mom thing. Or maybe the real issue isn’t time or guilt or my brain. Maybe my expectations aren’t realistic. Maybe I’m being a little (or more than a little) ridiculous. Maybe the real issue is that I need to get my head out of my butt. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that to myself – that sometimes my problems are self created. That sometimes I am the problem.
Okay, me. It’s just you and…well, me.