Our kids believe us to be superheroes—capable of cooking, cleaning, creating, and buying anything with a wave of our magic hand. Our husbands believe us to be nurturing moms by day/mind-blowing lovers by night. Our friends believe us to be unfaltering in the face of the endless demands of motherhood. But what do we believe of ourselves? What do we see staring back at us in the mirror? Do we feel like superheroes? Do we feel like mind-blowing lovers? Do we feel like we’re sailing along with everything under control? Don’t bet on it.
Staying at home with the kids is an incredible privilege, one that I try not to take for granted. Being the one person your kids turn to for every whim and every problem is definitely a benefit for both mother and child ... some days anyway. With that being said, there are days where we’re left feeling drained, overworked, and under-appreciated.
We’ve all had these days. From the time our feet hit the floor in the morning to the time they’re reunited with the bed at the end of the day, we’re running around tending to someone. The kids are starving to death because they haven’t eaten in thirty minutes! (Gasp) The clothes waiting to be laundered are mounting and now leering at us tauntingly. The ironing board is daring us to convert it into a dartboard. The dishes are teetering over the edge of the sink. The bills are waiting to remind us of the negative spending money we now have. The pets are demanding to be fed as if this may be their last meal. The toys are littering the floor begging the question, “Why do I buy them so much JUNK?”
The grocery store has been beckoning us for days disguising itself as our “me time.” The kids can find nothing to eat or play without our expertise. “Mom, I need a drink.” “Mom, I can’t find my shoes.” “Mom, he won’t stop bothering me.” “Mom, I’m hungry.” “Mom, I’m bored.” “MOM!” “MOM!” MOM!” And this is all before you’ve had a chance to shower, brush your hair, or use the restroom. Feeling overwhelmed yet?
While our kids mean well, we may still find the occasional day tempting us to “Run, Forrest, Run!” We may work so hard at taking care of our family that we begin to wonder who that face is in the mirror. We’ve been so busy tending to others, ignoring our own needs. We look in the mirror and wonder, “when did I start to look like that?” “Who am I anymore?” “I miss me.” It’s very easy to reach this point when all day every day is spent on the well-being of everyone other than ourselves.
No time to work out, fix our hair/makeup, take a break, or do something we enjoy doing. We become starved for adult conversation and desperate for our brain to resist the mushy, vegetative state it seems to be mutating into. We feel like nothing more than a maid, cook, or personal assistant to our family. Our kids and husbands have lives outside the home. However, we do not. Taking care of our family and the house is our life. Our quicksand is engulfing us, sometimes to our relief. We have only one sentiment: Help!
We love our kids, but we need to maintain our identities as well. Finding an outlet for intellectual stimulation is of utmost importance, whether it’s a hobby, a side job, or anything that gives us that sense of accomplishment we all need. This outlet holds the key to our self-esteem and our sanity. Without it, we lose our edge, our vitality, our spunk.
Sometimes, we just want to lock the bathroom door, run a bath, retreat, and pretend we’re all alone. This fantasy won’t last long ... soon, there will be a knock at the door accompanied by “MOM!” When this is ignored, it may be followed by the wandering fingers under the door and a softer ,”mom, guess what?” Fingers under the door may seem harmless, but eventually those fingers will find a way to pick the lock. This will mark the death of our bathroom solitude. Road trip anyone?Will you strive for the myth: the supermom who manages to do it all and keep your sanity because you’ve made it a priority to include yourself in your daily juggling act? Or will you settle for the mess: the unhappy, unfulfilled mom who’s drowning in a sea of chores and searching for your missing self? M.O.M. (Myth Or Mess) Choose wisely. Your sanity depends on it.