My husband and I got married young. Having been together for 8 years before we got married at the ripe old age of 23 meant we had grown up together. We also had a lot of growing up to do. We decided early on to wait to have children. For us, we spent those years working on our careers, figuring out who we were as a couple and as individuals, and having fun. We would go to concerts, have parties and take trips together. We also allowed each other to be independent. Going on trips alone with our friends was not uncommon. Everyone knows that once you become a parent, your previous lifestyle ceases to exist. Well, ours did too. My husband still travels for work, but since I became a work at home mom, trips (even to the bathroom) by myself became extinct.
This past weekend my mom and I went on a girls trip. Everything about this trip was different. My preparation consisted of not just making sure I had clean clothes to wear, but that everyone in the house had clean clothes to wear. And that the dance outfit was ready. And there was food in the house. And the right movies were ready. My husband assured me he would take care of everything. I knew he would. I have no doubts in his abilities as a father. But that one text can make the guilt set in. “Do we not have hamburger?’ “Where are the ballet shoes? Which size is she?” I’m the mom. I know where everything is in the chaotic mess I call my house. It’s hard to relinquish control, even though you’re tired of always being in control.
I painted my nails the night before my flight at about 12:30 at night for the first time in over a year, and I was so excited about it. I couldn’t wait to sleep in a bed by myself without a blinking monitor or crying to wake me up, but the first night I barely slept. I don’t think my body or my brain was used to what was happening. During the day I would walk around the event, watching other moms chasing toddlers or comforting their babies, and while I missed my babies, I wasn’t jealous. That made me feel guilty. It took until the third day with no set schedule that I felt myself actually relax. I allowed myself to embrace the lack of schedule, the anxiety of missed nap times, and enjoy myself.
Now I’m not telling you I am this fully refreshed new person. I didn’t sleep well and I missed my family like crazy. But it’s more like I felt renewed. As I watched these other moms, it brought back my “why.” Why we bust our butts as mothers. Why we give, give, give. Why we work all day and come home and cook and clean and play and wipe tears and bums. I got the mental break that I craved. I felt like myself again. I am inspired in both my professional and family life.
There is also something to be said about seeing my husband spend quality time with our children. Of course the rules are a little different. He may let different things slide, but the time they spend with him is immeasurable. So, I encourage you to take time for yourself. Maybe not an entire weekend, maybe just a day, but time away to center yourself. Rediscover yourself and your ‘why’s’ and give yourself a mental break.