This summer has been one of the hardest I’ve ever experienced. Of course, I recognize that there are moms out there dealing with way worse and I want to acknowledge them now, because mama you are a warrior woman who has way too much on your plate. I, personally, am now 32 weeks pregnant with my second boy, found out I wasn’t getting the promotion at my job I was working so hard for and they were hiring from outside the organization, have a almost 3 year old tyrant living in my house bossing me around constantly and following me everywhere, and I started interviewing for new jobs at least twice a week while working full time.
Am I crazy? Yes!
Do I cry in my car every time I drive somewhere? Yes!
Do I need a break? Hell, yes!
After my husband’s last boys weekend, I struggled to keep up with my demanding toddler and I decided I am going to book myself a trip. I deserve it. I am exhausted mentally, emotionally, and physically. I am very grateful for all that I do have though including a paying job (even if I hate it), a supportive husband, a house in the suburbs, and I don’t have to worry about affording food most months. I recognize my privilege and as I said I have much respect for those single moms out there, moms that work several jobs to make ends meet, and moms that have no help or special needs children. The list could go on and on and I very much wish all of those moms could wake up one day and say to themselves, I need a break and I’m going to take one.
I am lucky enough to be able to do just that. So, I booked a room at a hotel on the beach along the Oregon Coast for two nights. I thought about canceling it several times, feeling like I am just needed too much at home. I honestly can’t really even afford it, but I am splurging for my own sanity. If moms don’t get more than a 2 hour break to grocery shop or run errands (which aren’t real breaks), we start to crack. This week my son has been home from daycare, because they are closed for annual maintenance at the end of summer. Well, we (mostly I) had the brilliant idea that it was the best time to go all in on potty training my son.
Let me tell you no matter what program you follow (we followed Big Little Feelings), it is stressful. The most important part is remaining calm, cool, and collected. By day five of cleaning up pee and poop from every surface in the house, you start to crack. You try your hardest to smile and stay calm and redirect them to the toilet, but it isn’t always easy. Last night, when I returned to my son’s room from grabbing his toothbrush, I walked in on him squatting over his carpet letting out an enormous poop only 2 feet from his toilet. I took a deep breath and in a very panicked voice said no honey you need to do that on your toilet and I swooped him up and sat him on his toilet just in time for him to pee. My husband (thank god) ran in the room and cleaned up the poop. Then my son carried the pee in the toilet to the bathroom and spilled it next to the toilet not in it. *deep breaths*
Then I attempted to put him to bed. After our nightly battle over brushing teeth, which leaves me defeated and feeling like an abusive mom and him screaming Go AWAY Mom, I walked out of his room and cried for an hour. What a day! What a week! I felt like the worst mom on the planet. Why can’t I get my son to poop in his toilet? Why did you succeed for three days then regress all of a sudden? Why won’t he ever let me brush his goddamn teeth!! I sat in our guest bathroom beating myself up in my head and balling my eyes out. I then moved to our kitchen/living room and did the same thing. Was I even meant to be a mother? All of these horrible words of self doubt circled around in my head.
My husband came and comforted me, but I tossed and turned all night feeling anxious. Luckily, the next day was the beginning of my solo momcation. I watched my son until 3pm and then I hit the road. Of course like most moms the second I left and was free, I missed my son. This is sort of what it means to be a mom. We beg for a break and finally get one and then miss our children before we are even out the door. I guess that is a biological way of preventing us from completely running away. I think we have all considered it for a second though. Am I right?
Anyway, here I am on my first two night solo trip away and I finally have a chance to put my thoughts together to write. I haven’t even written a blog entry in over a month. Just the thrill of eating dinner alone in a restaurant and talking to a stranger, made me feel like myself again. I used to love solo travel around the world. Walking into unknown places and making conversation with anyone and everyone was so thrilling. When you become a mom, you sort of forget about those things that make you happy or give you excitement. The days all blend together and your standards start to really lower. Instead of getting my boost of serotonin from hopping flights to unknown lands, I get excited if my tea is still hot when I pick it up after an hour of neglecting it on the counter. If I only have to reheat my food once, that is a huge win. If I can send off a text to a friend or family member without an interruption 5 times mid typing, that is super thrilling.
Life sure has changed.
I do love more of the little things in life now like my son learning new words, his giggles, hearing him say I love you, singing songs with him at bedtime, getting to sneak a kiss in with my husband before my son pushes him away. These are all amazing little joys that have entered my life. I don’t require much to get that boost anymore, but there is definitely still that very quiet fading voice in the back of my head from my thrill seeking days saying, Get out and Explore More!
So, here I am in a new hotel with a balcony overlooking the beach and Pacific Ocean. I arrived just in time to watch the sunset. I used to love watching the sunset every night on my travels. Each one was so unique and full of a melange of colors that felt warm and comforting for me. Tonight as I sat on the balcony, the melodic crashing waves buzzed over me creating a sense of pure calm. I watched as the crimson sun sank into the sea slowly like a ship taking on water and eventually succumbing to the weight of the ocean. Warm colors of red, orange, and purple melted across the horizon. It felt like the hands of a massage therapist smoothing out the kinks in my limbs and leaving me so relaxed. The only thought that circled in my head in that moment was I needed this!
I am here to encourage all of you moms out there to take a break! You deserve it and you know you need it. Even if it means asking a friend to watch your kids for a day, get out of the house and take some Me Time! Us moms feel such guilt like we have to suck it up and do it all, well I’m here to tell you that isn’t healthy.
Why is it that men feel totally comfortable going away and don’t feel stressed about leaving the kids? Society celebrates men who even contribute a little of their time, so of course there is no pressure on them to dedicate every waking hour to their kids. Even when I go out for dinner with friends, I rush home to be there for bedtime.
Let’s stop putting pressure on moms to be 100% available all the time and chastising them for expressing that motherhood isn’t amazing all the time. Moms need to reclaim their time and sanity by at the very least taking a break once a month even if it is just one night away or a full girls day with friends.
If you want moms to be calm and patient and able to be their best selves, give them a real break!