Being a mom is friggin' hard.
My husband tells me all the time, “You’re a great mother Mykou. I’m so glad you’re the mother to my children.”
But honestly, most of the time I don’t feel like a great mom or even a good mom. I feel inadequate. I don’t feel like I’m good enough or doing enough.
With my own hopes and aspirations coupled with societal expectations for mothers, it’s easy to winnow down into a spiraling hole feeling like you might just be that mother who raises the most uncivilized human being the world has ever seen.
But we try to do it all don’t we?
Keep the house pinterest clean with a baby on each hip as you whip up an organic whole food meal with no artificial flavorings or preservatives. Make sure the kids get at least 1 hour of reading, 1 hour of outdoor activities, 1 hour of fine motor skill building, 1 hour of math, and 1 hour of Mandarin in addition to teaching them English and Hmong.
And did I mention you can only use 1 hand because the other hand is tied to a laptop trying to build up a business or pay the bills or create something amazing?
Ok, maybe I’m being a bit dramatic but that’s pretty dang close. I want to be the best mom I can be for my two beautiful little girls.
But this past winter pretty much almost killed me.
My girls and I were sick for 3 whole months. Literally. Then after all the sickness, a book launch, and no sleep, I crashed and burned.
So how do I give my husband and children the best version of me when I’m exhausted? When I feel like I have nothing left to give?
Whenever I feel overwhelmed, I pull out my journal and do some self reflecting. After writing about how deflated I had been feeling, I was reminded of a video with Jada Pinkett Smith.
She shares insights on being a mother and states, “before the day is done, you better make sure you take care of yourself.”
Mmmm. Girl. Preach it.
She reminds us moms that it’s essential to take care of ourselves so that we can better love our families. That means, taking time away to breathe, to work on our dreams, to do things that makes us happy, that fill us up, or to do simply nothing and enjoy it.
That's one of the best gifts a mother could get for Mother's Day! A day away!
Moms, we need to take care of ourselves so that we can care for our families better.
It may seem selfish to some but it’s actually the most unselfish thing we can do.
Let me explain it this way: When you’re on an airplane, the flight attendant jumps on the intercom and goes through the inflight speech. This is a snippet of the speech on the oxygen masks.
In the event of a decompression, an oxygen mask will automatically appear
in front of you. To start the flow of oxygen, pull the mask towards you. Place
it firmly over your nose and mouth, secure the elastic band behind your
head, and breathe normally...If you are traveling with a child or someone
who requires assistance, secure your mask on first, and then assist the
other person. [Emphasis my own]
Why should you put the mask on yourself before putting it on your child whom you love so dearly, whom you'd take a bullet for?
Because you have a better chance of saving their life if you’re still alive!
Take care of yourself first and you’ll be able to take care of others. Same principle applies to mothering. When mama is happy and filled, she’s able to pour out from a full cup.
If I’m honest though, I feel guilty.
When I’m out anywhere without my little girls, I miss them like crazy and I also feel like I’m being a bad mom. I feel like I should be the one taking care of them, making sure they’re napping on time and getting all their minerals and nutrients… at this very moment. I should be the one singing them to sleep.
To think that I’m going to take time away to just chill, for myself? “Bad mom!” a little voice says.
I have to take a step back and get an aerial view of my life.
Because, I know that if I don’t take time out for me, I’ll be hurting not only myself but those I love most as well.
I’ve actually gone through and journaled about what could happen if I don’t take time to breathe, to pursue my dreams, to simply be.
Here’s a few possible scenarios if I don’t take time to take care of me:
- I’ll make my kids or my husband my happiness and when they fail me, because they will, my world will crumble. I’ll constantly be unhappy, putting my frustrations, bitterness, and disappointment on my husband and my kids. I will blame them for taking away my joy, thus ruining my life.
- I’ll try to live my life through my kids, pressuring them to live my dreams instead of their own dreams. They will become bitter and will hate me for it. They won’t want to be around me and that will break my heart. I’ll live a life of regret.
- They’ll see life with me and especially motherhood as cruel, something to escape from. I won’t be able to show my children that they can create the world they want to live in. They’ll continue in this pattern of overwhelm, bitterness, and disappointment all throughout their lives and I’ll feel like I was the one who ruined them.
Yea. That’s why, even though some may say I’m being selfish, that my world needs to revolve around my children, I’m making a stand to say, I love my kids like crazy and I love my husband like crazy, but I need to focus on me first.
So for Mother’s Day this year, I’m taking myself on a date.
I’m going to get to know me and figure out what my hopes and dreams are, what makes me happy, what makes me sad and angry, and what I’m excited about in life.
I want to give my family the best version of me and that starts with finding out who I am and LOVING MYSELF.
And you ladies know what?
I’ve come the realization that my husband can’t read my mind!
So instead of getting clothes that I’ll never wear or flowers that are “alright,” I told him what I wanted for Mother’s Day this year. All I want is a day where he takes care of the kids so I can do things that fill me up.
He was more than happy to do it because he knows, “when mama’s happy, everyone’s happy.”
I hope you make plans and find some time for yourself this week too.
Heck...it's mother's day weekend and finding a good mother’s day gift is a struggle for our spouses and kids already. Might as well let them know we just need a day away. Even if it's not on mother's day, that can be the gift they give to us for the future.
So take yourself on a date.
Put away the phone and stay off of Facebook and Instagram. Ok. Maybe you can take some selfies in those amazing sunglasses for IG, but other than that, just spend time with yourself, do some self reflecting, journal, and then do something that fills your soul.