“You will never sleep again.”
“Your life as you know it is over.”
“You will change.”
…and I’m sure there are other countless quotes that people use to describe someone’s life when new parents are expecting.
In August of 2006 my husband and I found out we were going to be parents for the first time; we were ecstatic and over the moon! Having a baby was in our plans and we couldn’t wait to be a family of three. Fast forward to 10 years later and we are now the parents of three boys. Our daily lives are crazy and full, and there are
days moments where I just want to lock myself in the closet and put ear plugs in.
Before kids my husband and I would go to dinner, the movies and enjoyed our freedom. Now, with three kids we depend on the YMCA to watch them for us for free one Friday a month (gotta love that perk of the membership!) just so we can go to dinner, or shop for new appliances. We have not lived near family since we got married, so we don’t have the luxury of built-in help. We have depended on one another and friends for the last 10 years to get some breathing room.
Yes, I said breathing room. Sometimes, I need to breathe in air that is not full of “Mom. Mom. Mom.” or “He’s looking at me” or “He broke my lego robot jet airplane thing.” I also look forward to 8:00pm, their bedtime. So, yes, I am that mom that needs a moment, or two, and I have no shame in at all. It does not mean that I don’t love my boys, or that I take for granted the gift that was given to us by God, or that I am a horrible mom. It just means that I am a realist, and a bit of a pessimist, who needs a time out every so often. Please! Put me in a corner for 10 minutes!
As mothers we as women need to make sure we are taking time out for ourselves — be selfish. We need to be able to hang out with our girlfriends, or get our nails done, or go on a date with your spouse. It took me a really long time to figure this out. From August 2006 to December 2010, I had 5 pregnancies, and was successful in delivery three of those! I went through some postpartum depression with my youngest son and couldn’t figure out what was wrong.
At that point I was staying at home with all three kids (ages 4, 1 and a newborn), and completely lost myself. It took counseling and some long talks with my husband to realize what was happening. I was Mom, not Amy. My therapist and my husband opened my eyes to the fact that I needed to be selfish every now and again, that I needed to find myself again and to basically reinvent the new, but better Amy. And I did.
Does this mean that I take girl trips all the time? No. Does this mean that hubby and I go on vacation sans kids? Uh…no. Does this mean that I hate being a mom? Absolutely not. It just means that I need to make sure I am healthy, mentally, emotionally, and physically for myself and my family.
Here are some things I do:
- get my nails done
- have dinner with friends every so often
- take kids to Y so hubby and I can do grown up things
- go grocery shopping by myself (it is magical to do this)
- go to Target (we all know what that can do for our psyche)
- work out (not my favorite, but I love running with our dog)
- Barnes and Noble
- eat lunch at a restaurant, alone
- once kids are in bed, movie night with my husband
According the Merriam-Webster, the actual definition of selfish is: “having or showing concern only for yourself and not the needs or feelings of other people.” I do not feel that this definition describes myself as a mom or person, or any mother for that matter. I am just a mom of three boys who I love with every ounce of my being, a mom who’s heart triples in size with each birth, and who has a hard time putting my love for them in words.
However… I do look forward to the day that they are grown and move out my house, and I say that while my 5 year old is telling me it isn’t fair that he can’t climb on our roof.