This year began for me with having the most terrible flu ever. Like, swine worthy or something crazy like that. Per usual, the boys brought it home, I cared for them for two weeks with a serious goal of getting them better for Christmas and voila it happened. Then the high of holidays came down and with that my immune system crashed. It’s funny how moms tend to always get sick last, right? It’s like we run on adrenaline when our littles are sick and when it dips down, well, we are down.
Except that we aren’t really down.
I was still doing about 90% of my normal day. Making beds, making breakfast, running errands, cooking, kids, laundry, packing, putting away the Christmas stuff, etc. That stuff doesn’t stop because you are sick and, as they say, the show must go on. I remember laying down for an hour or so each day (when B would nap) thinking that would be enough. And yet it wasn’t. I remember be so frustrated with myself, three days in, that I wasn’t back to 100%. Um, I hadn’t even begun to heal.
Thankfully we headed south for awhile so it seemed a bit easier to actually slow down since I wasn’t in my own home. And so I began to remove things I would normally do: grocery shopping, running, being a functional member of the family. Even dinners out together I skipped. I didn’t have the energy to go out to a restaurant and be served. What on earth was wrong with me? The worst part is the guilt I had for missing the beach time or dinners or going to bed by 8:00. I felt like I wasn’t pulling my weight.
It’s almost laughable. Because I have pulled so much weight for this family. I take my role as a stay at home mom very seriously. My home is organized and clean. Laundry is done daily. Homemade food. Healthy snacks. Homework is done. Our calendar is organized with a perfect balance of friend and family and free time. We arrive at activities five minutes early. Mike comes home to a pretty well oiled machine, and as a result of that (generally) very happy boys. Why on earth couldn’t I honor all that and give my body actual real time off when needed without feeling guilty?
So I decided right then and there 2017 would be different. I would go into it recognizing the importance I bring to this family and not, for one moment, doubt that I am ever pulling my weight. Sick or not.
It’s a learning curve, for sure, for someone like me. So much of how I value myself is what I’m able to give to others (also working on that) so it’s hard to look inward and feel important if I’m not constantly giving outwards. Even the silliest of things like getting a pedicure. I generally feel a sense of guilt and that the appointment should go quickly so I can go on and do something the benefits someone else. Or heaven forbid us moms go to the doctor when we need to. I remember having actual glass in my foot yet waiting two days before I did anything about it because things were so busy with the boys. I am slowly getting better and I think there is a direct correlation to my kids being in school much longer these days. Logan is gone all day every day, and B is now up to two longer days a week. (Huge bonus that they love it)! This has given me a sense of space and more time apart to actually fit in items that benefit mom solely and not another member of the family. DR appointments when needed included.
But man, those early years were tough to prioritize. I, as so many moms do, got lost in my babies. Yet I think that is normal. Natural. And totally OK. I don’t regret for one second putting them first for all those years. Yet now with them older I am trying to work on, at times, mom first. I mean hey, look what we do! I think it’s so important to take a step back when they reach the school age and think huh, so much of just me got them to this point. An actual real live functioning elementary aged human being. It’s a huge huge deal and we should feel proud that we kept them alive, clean(ish), healthy, fed, dressed, vaccinated, wiped, safe, rested, and happy day in and day out. And now it’s mom’s turn, just a bit. I’m going to run that extra mile, shower a little longer, maybe even (GASP!) browse Nordstroms in person.
And I’m going to try, really hard, to do it all with the sense that I absolutely deserve it. Wish me luck.