Kids in all their awesomeness. Crazy wild, full of energy…and so, so demanding.
This week I’ve been drained. Utterly down on life, depressed and apathetic. What the heck. My life is fabulous! I’m married to the love of my life, I have three wonderful kids, spring is blooming all around me and I have so, so much to be grateful for. So why am I in this rut?
I’m trying to build a business. I am also working my job that actually pays. I’m also a full-time unschooling mama. I work from home and it finally hit me: I feel isolated and overwhelmed.
Now, this is what I want to point out. In comparison with many other mamas out there, I have no excuse. I have no illnesses or financial crises, I have supportive friends and family….why would I feel this way?
Oh yeah, because I’m a MOM. And moms, my friends, are needed all the time. It’s funny how we long to be needed, yet in the midst of raising young children, no matter how “easy” your life seems, mothers are often depressed, overwhelmed, isolated and exhausted. It doesn’t have to do with who’s list of drama is longer. Stop comparing yourself. It doesn’t have to do with any specific thing outside of this one – little dependents are NEEDY. Holy cow my heart goes out to families with special needs children, because the neediness and dependency may not be so much of a stage, but a lifetime commitment to care for them. That deserves it’s own blog post, and mamas, I am proud of you for rocking motherhood to the beautiful souls in your care.
What I want to stress with this is that there are times where you are going to be needed a lot. By your children, plus your spouse…then add in work, your parents and in-laws, other family members, friends…and it can seem like everyone is pulling at you all the time.
There are times I don’t want to be a human jungle gym. There are times when I honestly just don’t want anyone to touch me, let alone talk to me or need me for something.
And that’s when I realized that it wasn’t that I wanted to isolate myself even further, it was that I needed to actively seek out situations where I was connecting for my own needs. Seriously – how many interactions have you had this week that fulfilled your needs alone and were not for someone else?
I’m feeling isolated not because there is no one around me (although many days there is no one around me who is over 8 years old), but because I haven’t interacted with a friend or stranger that actually is just for fun – no needing involved. My husband is incredible, and it’s not that I’m lacking with my marriage. And yet my life needs to be more than just my role as a wife and a mother. I love these roles, and to be my best at them, I have to make sure I take these little “mommy time-outs.” My sister-in-law used to say “take a break from the ones you love so you can love them better.”
So today I made myself practice what I preach. I went and floated today and let Nathan take the girls. Side note: why is it that we as mothers feel guilty when a father steps in and handles kids while juggling work? For most working mothers I know, they juggle both all the time. And last I checked, the term “babysitter” does NOT mean a parent. So I don’t ever say my husband is “babysitting” our children. It’s called parenting.
I came home to an empty house, opened up all the windows and blasted music, sat out in the sun and painted my toenails. And then, when my kids came home, I completely unplugged from every “need” on my computer screen and phone and went for a bike ride with the family. Sometimes being needed is on high octane because we mamas are multitasking and juggling the needs of everyone before ourselves. Focusing in on one need at a time can help to make it more manageable.
I’m reminding myself again today to be intentional. Prioritize time for ME. My father has an incredible visual analogy of filling a cup to overflowing – it’s a well known story, and he portrays it perfectly here: Giving From A Full Cup. We as mamas have to make time for us – a time when we fill our needs and spend time with company just because – the only need being friendship. I’m headed off for a run with a dear friend, and I’ve scheduled breakfast with another tomorrow. Because this mama needs a reprieve, to play, grow, and revitalize my soul. Namaste, and make an intention to fill your cup tomorrow.