By EMMA BARLOW, Staff Writer
As a mother of two rambunctious boys, I am on the go from sun-up to sun-down, and am always on call for those two-in-the-morning vomit-fests.
Most days, I feel like I’m in the middle of a war: fighting my way through piles of laundry and the Lego landmines that await my bare feet around the corner. Before children, Saturday nights consisted of movies and girls nights out, now they consist of Nerf gun wars and Spongebob Squarepants.
Don’t get me wrong, I love making memories with my family, and Nerf gun wars are fun no matter how old you are. But so many times I get caught up with the week-to-week routine that I forget to schedule some me time. Because fo this, I end up getting burned out sometimes, and am not the most pleasant person to be around.
As moms, we are naturally the first to sacrifice a need in order to meet the needs of our families, and we are generally used to juggling one hundred tasks on our weekly to do list. We welcome the dark circles that come under our eyes that arrive after staying up until 3AM to make a cake for our child’s school function the next day. Anything for the kids, plus I don’t want to be the one who brings in the absolutely minimal-effort storebought dessert.
After months of going on like this, and taking a date night only once every two months, I ran right into a brick wall. My husband had to physically lift me out of bed each morning and tell me that everything was going to be okay, and that I just need to take a break. That’s tough though, because then has to leave me alone with the little rascals for eight hours.
My sweet mother-in-law (a rare label for a mother-in-law, I realize) listened to me cry and whine said to me, “Listen, you just need to find something that is just yours. Something that you do just for you, just for Emma”.
What? I instantly knew she was right, but then another problem arose…what do I like to do? I don’t know. It’s been so long since I have tried to find a hobby to pick up, because in my spare time I’m just usually trying to find my pillow! This is when I knew that I had completely lost myself in motherhood. As amazing and important the role of being a mom to my boys is, I had thrown out all my old interests and adopted a single interest: them.
So, I decided to think about things I used to enjoy. I used to enjoy painting, even though I wasn’t that great at it it brought me peace and a sense of accomplishment. I used to read for hours and hours sitting in grassy areas of my local park, and even sometimes go for an aimless two-hour walk.
I decided to make a list of all these things and tell my husband that if I am going to survive another week, I need to take some timeouts from motherhood to reconnect with old passions. Being the sweet man that he is, he told me just to tell him when I need these breaks. Communication works, regardless of the taboo you may think it carries. If we do not hold our identity in anything else but our children, what will we do as they grow and detach from us more and more? I certainly don’t want to be the mom who clings to her child for a sense of worth, and put all that pressure on them. As moms, we need to find out what we actually enjoy, and do it!
Schedule timeouts a week or month ahead on the family calendar so that it is set in stone, and you don’t say yes to the PTA meeting that night. Honor these breaks, because not only will it give you a sense of independence from the weight of upholding a home, it will replenish you in ways you didn’t think were possible. Ultimately, your whole family will benefit.
And that’s my giving a hoot.
Emma is an extremely busy and proud mother of two young, strapping lads. She lives in the Phoenix Metropolitan area with her husband of six years and is an active member in the faith community.
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