I’ll set the stage for you – my husband was sick, or comatose, rather. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m envious of my husband when he’s sick. I usually take the kids out of the house, give him some space to recover, and let him sleep.
On the flip side, when I’m sick, life doesn’t stop, honestly, it hardly even slows down. The kids still want mom, and I still have to keep the house looking like it’s habitable (notice, I didn’t say clean, because that’s never my goal).
Does this sound familiar?
I have a hard time shutting “it” off, and I know I’m not the only one. I’ve seen many a status update from an overwhelmed mom saying, “I miss my kids.” And here’s the cold hard truth – it’s our fault we get stressed and overwhelmed. Yes, there are exceptions, and yes, I know it’s difficult. But it’s time to start trying.
Let’s tackle the “I’m sick, but can’t stop” mentality. If your household is anything like mine, telling my husband that I’m sick just isn’t enough. I’ve conditioned him to believe that I’m super woman (which, I secretly love). I love being capable. I love handling things, and I love my independence. So, honestly, it’s rather hard for my husband to step in, and even when he does, I’ve gotten frustrated because he hasn’t done it the way that I wanted.
How do you fix it? Tell your significant other what you need. They can’t read your mind (and thank goodness for that). Tell them you need a three hour nap without kids – and no, it doesn’t count if the kids are still in the room (or even if you can hear them). Put ear plugs in, pretend like your laundry is a towering tower of perfection embodied in folded clothes. Life will go on if your house remains dirty for an additional weekend.
Here’s the second act – I’ve gotten a week to myself (alright, it’s a business trip, but it’s still sans kids). I’ve just left for the airport and the second thought on top of “thank goodness” is “I miss the kids…I wonder if the kids are okay … I wonder if the care provider is having trouble”.
This is a harder issue, because of unrealistic expectations and mommy guilt. A mom taking a break without feeling guilty? Practically unheard of (and if you do it regularly, please, share your secrets).
Here’s what we forget though – our well-being, our sanity and happiness, these are worth something. They make us better moms! We need these breaks to hit our reset button. We need to take advantage of the time that we have off to refocus on ourselves, because we are more than mothers.
And most importantly, we need to stop broadcasting our “I miss the kids” feelings. This might come across wrong, but when I see a post about a mom missing their kids because they are finally getting a break – I feel two things. I feel broken because I didn’t feel guilty; and then I try to feel guilty because I finally got my break. I think, “I must be a horrible mother because I didn’t feel guilty, I didn’t miss my kids in the two hours that I was gone”. But you’re not a horrible mother. Because you aren’t just a mother.
So, why talk about this now? Mother’s day is over (and it’s one of those few days where I feel like it’s slightly easier to take a break without the guilt). But we need more mother’s days, dates, relaxations. Take time for yourself, pencil it into your calendar, if it helps you focus on yourself instead of the hundreds of things that you “should” be focused on. And, turn it off.