I am one of those people who thinks that everything happens for a reason. You know, the ones that feel like they have been put on the planet for a specific reason. I believe that my purpose was to be a mom.
I have never wanted any other job. There was never a time that I dreamed of success in corporate America. I didn’t plan to be a nurse or doctor. There were no big aspirations to travel the world as an executive. I wanted to change diapers and make bottles and draw pictures. My heart and soul are full because of my children and every single day I feel blessed to have them. But, I do not want to be a mom every single day. And you know what? It’s really OK …. And perfectly normal.
I have my moments, as all moms do. I have walked into a bathroom in tears and shut the door in a toddler’s face because I couldn’t take one more slap. There have been moments when I met my husband at the door as he returned from work with my car keys in my hand ready for an escape. I’ve even rolled over in the morning and contemplated faking sick just so that I didn’t have to serve breakfast to people who weren’t going to finish their cereal and would leave a huge mess for me to clean up as they left to go on about their business. Being a mom is hard, and it isn’t for the faint of heart.
I reached my forties and found myself as a stay-at-home mom with four children. Though it was my ultimate goal in life to raise these human beings, I was not prepared for the daily drain.
Back when I worked, I showed up in the morning and I left in the afternoon. I may have thought about work fleetingly when I got home and answered a few emails, but I had the ability to leave that office behind for a few hours and sometimes, a few days. As a mom, though, you’re on duty every minute of every day. And it isn’t just the moms who are at home full time. You don’t escape being a mom by going to work. If your child gets sick in the care of someone else, you still have to show up to take care of them. They are your responsibility 100% of the time. And that can be exhausting.
When you become a mom, you lose part of yourself. You try not to. We all want to believe that we are the same at postpartum as we were without kids, but it’s simply not true. The second you lock eyes with your baby, whether it be in a delivery room or through the wonder of adoption, you are a different person. Your heart is transformed from a place of selfishness and single mindedness to one of complete and total unbridled giving. That is just what happens. And often the thought of self-care and fulfilling your own wants and desires goes out the window.
You are not a bad mom because you can’t give it all to your children all of the time. In fact, you are a pretty typical mom. There is a wall that we all hit; it’s just a part of life. Sometimes, at least for me, it isn’t pretty. I don’t like the fact that my children can absolutely make me cry when they aren’t listening. I hate that I get so frustrated that I will rip up a piece of paper because I can’t write a coherent note to myself when I have four people talking to me and asking me questions. There is nothing admirable about yelling at your kids, but I think that it is a pretty normal thing. No one can be expected to keep it all under control all of the time. It just isn’t possible. Kids know what buttons to push, and they will not only push, but smash them from time to time. That also, unfortunately, is part of the game.
So what do you do when you don’t want to be a mom for a day? It’s perfectly fine to take a break. And that doesn’t mean the luxury of heading to a hotel for the weekend — which, let’s be honest, isn’t very realistic for most of us. Instead, take a mental pause. If that means cereal for dinner, do it. Perhaps you need to take a long shower. There is nothing wrong with plopping your kids in front of the TV for a while. Sometimes, I just stay in my pajamas for a day…or two. If you don’t take a little time for yourself, things will just get worse. Trust me, I’ve been there.
One of the best tips that I can give, and one that I need to remember myself, is to take what you see on social media with a grain of salt. Even mine is a lie from time to time. I post precious pictures of my family. And there are lots of times that the image you see is one of about 25 that I have taken. This is because someone wasn’t smiling, or was acting up, or not looking, and I got pissed and made them stand there until I got the shot that I wanted. I know for a fact that I am not the only one who does that. I also know that vacations are filled with fights and tears, and first days of school have kids who don’t want to go or have their pictures taken. You are watching a highlight reel, that’s all.
So you don’t want to be a mom every day? Don’t. It’s fine. Just be sure that you make your way back. If that means that you need a little professional intervention, that’s OK too. I talk to a counselor and it is a cathartic purge. She can’t fix what is happening at home, but she has helped me to learn how to deal with it and how to help myself, and I need that. Keep on keeping on. Try to start each day fresh and remember that you are a good mom; you just need a break from time to time. Like every other mom on this planet. Your kids love you just the way that you are. They want you to love them and to hug them and to help them with your homework, that’s all.
We can’t be the best version of ourselves all the time. There are days, weeks, months, when things don’t always go our way. I know that there will be many times in my life that I will feel like giving up. Not just on parenting, but on myself. I don’t always feel like I am a good mom. There have been days when I have questioned this path pretty seriously. My kids are not perfect, but neither am I. And yours probably aren’t either. There is a lot of grace that needs to be given to everyone in every family. Give that grace to those who need it — including, most importantly, yourself.