I always hate click bait – but I couldn’t resist. Don’t worry, he kicked me out but he’s welcoming me back in 🙂 Last night my amazing husband kicked me out and told me to get myself a hotel for the night. He noticed that I’ve been a bit down and running on E. He noticed that I needed to fill my cup back up! So, what did I do with a night out and what didn’t I do?
I walked through every section of the bookstore without feeling rushed that I needed to switch with my husband and watch the kids so he could go. I went into hobby lobby without having to unbuckle three car seats and strategically place my children in carts and strollers to contain them. I picked up dinner from a spot no one else would have wanted. I ate dinner watching a movie I wanted while my food was still hot! I ate a cupcake, and no one asked me for just one tiny bite. I ate twizzlers in bed while I scrolled my phone. I turned the AC to the temperature I wanted. I watched whatever I wanted and switched the channel when my mood changed. I used all the pillows! I sprawled across the whole bed. And that was just last night!
This morning I woke up and went down to the gym, I didn’t have to worry about waking up the kids. I didn’t feel rushed to switch places with my husband to get in his workout. I came back up and changed into my bathing suit. I didn’t have to help four kids into bathing suits and floaties. I swam laps because no one else was at the pool. I didn’t have to keep eyes on four other kiddos. I didn’t have to hold anyone. I didn’t have to swap with my husband for time in the hot tub. I didn’t have to feel like we weren’t down there long enough when I was ready to go back to the room, I just grabbed my stuff and left. I took a shower, and no one came in to pee. I used the blow dryer because I had the time to do so. I brushed my hair and did my make up. I got dressed and sat back down to read my Bible. I checked to see how much time I had left before check out and opted to walk across the lot to grab “breakfast” (cheesecake and iced coffee). I didn’t have to worry about my kids touching things in the store, I didn’t have to be anxious about any cars coming or the fact that I was walking along a busy road.
And now here I am – in a hotel room, alone, eating cheesecake and drinking iced coffee while I listen to music via Bluetooth from the bathroom. I’m sure some people will read the above and clutch their pearls and wonder why I ever had kids if I’m so glad to have a night without them. I’ll let you in on a little secret. Come in close, don’t share this with anyone else but, I’m still an individual. I’m still a person with wants, needs, desires, goals, likes, dislikes, etc. etc. Shocked? Me too. I forget that part of me sometimes. That person before I added the title of wife, of mother, of employee, of baker. That girl is still there. She still exits. She’s allowed to exist. Do you know what that doesn’t mean? It doesn’t mean that I don’t LOVE my life. It doesn’t mean that I don’t LOVE my children. It doesn’t even mean that they bother me by being children.
I feel as mothers (and parents in general) we are filled with guilt for being anything but a parent. Society doesn’t help. You have your Pinterest, social media moms, that shame other moms for needing a break. So, how do we react? We shove our individuality down. Deep, deep down. We pretend we don’t need a break. We don’t need time alone. We love when our kids scream and make a scene in public. “But you chose to have children”! Of course I did! I love my wild bunch. I love that my daughter loves to catch lizards but also wants to put make up on. I love that she loves to explore everything (even when she’s not supposed to). I love that my second born will tell you every fact he knows about animals and dinosaurs from the time he opens his eyes until he closes them. I love that my third swings open my door before he’s supposed to be up and just stands there and smiles. I love that he will recite all the things we need to buy at the grocery store while he invades all my personal space. I love that my youngest lights up when he catches sight of me. I love that he sprint crawls over to me and just wants to be in my arms. But you know what? Sometimes I want to be alone. Sometimes I want my mornings to be quiet. Sometimes I don’t want to be touched. Sometimes I want to go into public and not worry about my kids breaking something. Does that mean I love them less? NO! Does that mean that I wish I wasn’t a mom? NO! Does that mean that I’d choose to be alone over being with them? NO! But guess what? It’s okay for me to enjoy our time apart from each other.
If you don’t need/want the night away from your children, that’s okay too! But please don’t judge the ones who do! Don’t say things like, “I could never do that”, “I’d miss them too much, but you enjoy yourself”, “I guess some of us are just better at parenting”, “you’ll have a time to do that, but it’s not now”. Just stop! Full stop! I suspect some of those things are said because you want to do that, but you don’t have a way to do it, or you feel guilty because society has told you that you should. But please stop pushing the guilt onto moms that do choose to take time to themselves. The parents that take vacations without their kids. The parents that go on regular date nights. The mom that gets her nails done or gets massages. Please just let us fill up our cups.
I’ve said it before, and so have many others, you cannot pour from an empty cup. It is okay to take care of yourself. Self-care is necessary. Read that again. Self-care is necessary. You are a person. It’s okay to have wants and needs that don’t align with every part of your life. It’s okay to take time to yourself. It doesn’t make you a bad mom. I repeat, it doesn’t make you a bad mom. And I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that getting that time to yourself makes you a better mom! I know that for me it does. If I go too long without time to decompress, I lash out and snap over small things. But I feel rested. I feel relaxed. And I feel excited to go hug my crazies. I feel excited for them to invade my personal space. I love them. But I love me too.