“Fill your cup”, they say. I’m not sure how many times I have heard this and felt completely defeated by the fact of not accomplishing it. I didn’t understand the true meaning of it and I would find myself completely exhausted and at the end of my wire. I would try to get everything done around the house and keep the kids happy, while totally forgetting about myself at the same time. It wasn’t a healthy lifestyle for anyone. As many times as my husband would say, get time away, go get your nails done, why don’t we get a babysitter, I just could never pull myself away. I saw it as a weakness in myself and like I couldn’t handle life as a Mom. I felt like I was taking advantage of someone taking care of the kids. I felt guilty. I actually felt guilty for doing something for myself. What was wrong with me?
I’m about to keep it real here. I feel like there is a persona that Moms have that they need to be perfect all the time and don’t need to let people know that Mom life is really, really hard. The persona that no one raises their voice at their kids or gets frustrated and needs a break.The fact that there are times where you may lock yourself in the bathroom and cry. This is real life and people make mistakes. You can’t tell me that you have not done any of this as a Mom. Let’s be honest, we don’t always know what we are doing. There are so many times as a mom where I just wing it and hope things turn out for the best. There have been times where I do that and we end up having such a blast creating unforgettable memories and makes for a great day! There have been times where I have said, welp, won’t do that again.
It was just last year that something clicked for me one day. We had an out of town wedding that we went to, kid free. It was amazing and just what I needed. I realized I needed the break when Sunday came along and I just wasn’t quite ready to go home. We were having uninterrupted meals, walks around town, shopping, all the hot coffee we wanted and so much more! I felt bad. I literally felt bad for not feeling bad. That was my sign. How could we have time away from our kids and not want to go home. I missed them terribly, I missed the hugs, the kisses, the cuddles, the laughs, the I love you’s, and the bedtime books. But I did not miss the meals while standing, hot (turning into cold) coffee,the tantrums (yes, my kids have tantrums, they aren’t perfect), constant running around and not sitting until it was time to go to bed, constant chores around the house and overstimulation. I had exhausted myself and didn’t realize I actually needed that break. As a parent you go through the day running on cruise control, until it’s time to go to bed, then you wake up the next day and do it all over again. We, as Mom’s, put on ourselves that everything has to be perfect. Why wouldn’t I want the life that Susie has on Instagram. Her family is perfect and her kids don’t fight and she always has makeup on and amazing hair. Where is her messy bun, yoga pants still on from 2 days ago, stained shirt of who knows what?? Sometimes we only see the good part of someone’s life and it can be so deceiving, making it seem like this is how life should be. It is okay to be worn out, stressed to the tee, mentally exhausted and need a break. IT IS NORMAL!! You are not a bad Mom if you need a break. Let me say it loud for the Moms in the back….DO NOT FEEL BAD FOR NEEDING A BREAK!!!! Knowing that you need a break is where it’s at! Go to the gym, get your nails done, meet a friend for lunch, do what makes you happy!
As a mom, it is so easy to lose yourself. SO EASY! Finding your groove is where it can be tricky. I’m still working on it after 4 years of having twins and I can still use some tweaking. Finding what makes you happy and knowing that if you are happy and taking the “me time” that you need for yourself, then everyone is happy. I have found that when I call myself out, or someone else calls me out on needing a break, I need to listen and just do it. I come back refreshed instead of crabby, on the edge, and worn out.
I recently read something that helped me realize even more that I need to fill my cup first, in order to keep my family and myself happy. I know it can be hard to think of yourself first when Mom instinct always seems to take over and you take care of others before yourself, but please keep this in mind. Taking a break, getting your me time and admitting that you need it is not weakness by any means, it is showing your strength and recognizing that you have hit your limits. We don’t have to be perfect and we will mess things up, but that is okay. We would never learn and become better Moms if we didn’t mess up and support each other along the way.
So, next time you are feeling like you have hit your limits, remember to put your oxygen mask on first. Because, if you run out of oxygen, you can’t help anyone else with their oxygen mask. And just know that we are all a work in progress and in this together!