In a not-so-perfect world, I'm not-so-perfect.
Regardless of your circumstances, motherhood - parenthood is hard work.
Here's a rundown of my week:
Monday is my more relaxed mornings, but many wouldn't call it relaxing either. One of the two boys are up by 5am on a daily basis. Mike leaves for work at 5:45. So for fellow parents, you know, that an alarm clock is not a necessity when you have young children. They are your alarm clock and whether you went to bed at 9pm or five minutes prior to their waking, you need to be up and ready to go, too.
I digress.. Christian wants a "snack" (breakfast) as he settles on the couch complaining he's still tired, yet he refuses to go back to sleep. I serve him breakfast and dash to the shower. IF I'm lucky, I know I have fifteen minutes before Jacob wakes up and a whole new definition of ready to go is defined. On occasion, I'm able to shower, get dressed, and have a cup of coffee prior to his waking. But this is rare. Usually, Christian wakes him because he just can't wait to give his little brother a big hug and to play. Which to me translates to, He just can't wait to terrorize his little brother so that they're both clinging to me on opposite legs, and I can't even so much as put deodorant on without an issue arising.
I then have three hours until my mom comes to care for the boys and I'm off to work. Mind you, Monday is my "long" day, meaning that I work a 12 hour shift. I kiss my beautiful babies a million times before walking out the door, always remembering to tell my mom to "call me if you need anything". Which, she won't, because why would she need me? She raised three of us on her own, and did a damn good job at that.
Monday nights I usually get home between 10 & 11pm. At which time, I've gotten my second wind, shower and then struggle with insomnia for the next hour or so. Only to be awoken at 5am...
Onto Tuesday.. actually forget Tuesday. Forget everyday thereafter. If you're a parent, you know, all days revolve around one simply factor. Your children. The most important task you will ever take-on in your life, caring for your children. Ensuring that they have everything you had as a child and more. Worrying about their day: if they missed you, if they liked the lunch you packed, if they're learning something new and you weren't there to witness it, if someone kissed their boo boo when they scraped their knee because they were too anxious to get on the playground. No matter where you are or what your schedule consists of, if you're anything like me, your children are constant on your mind. I am that parent. The one who has pictures on her bulletin board at work; the one who sneaks in a story about the new thing her child has mastered in the middle of an unrelated topic. But the one downfall about this quality - which often is considered to equal great parenting - is that you, the parent, forget about yourself.
I remember when I first took Christian home at two days old. My mother gave me the greatest piece of advice that I would later (and still continue to) share with new parents; care for yourself as you always have. My mother told me to ensure I kept my daily routine (which consisted of taking a shower, doing my hair and makeup, and getting ready for the day). Nothing over-the-top, but even through this, I still forget something. I forget to take TIME for myself.
Any free time that I have, I like to spend it with my family, or vegging on the couch, or doing something productive (catching up on schoolwork... or maybe catching up on the newest episodes of Pretty Little Liars). But what comes along with this, is built up stressors. Not only the stresses of everyday life, but the stress of not reminding yourself of who you are. Being a mother is part of who I am, but it does not define me. I am Amanda Lynn, born and raised in Rhode Island, lover of: Oreos topped with peanut butter, a good romantic comedy, a night around a campfire with good friends, an evening filled with dancing, laughter, a little retail therapy, and love.
So what happens when I forget about me? I come to a point, where I need a little help. It's not unwarranted, but it is unpredictable. I never know when my breaking point will come, because time and time again, I seize to take the appropriate steps to avoid it. No one is to blame but myself, but I think it's important to remember, that regardless of who you are or what you do, everyone has a breaking point. The difference? I know well-enough to ask for support when I need it most.
Does it make me a bad mother? No. Does it mean that something is "wrong"? No.
It simply means that this mother needed a little time to herself. Whether she take a thirty-minute hot shower, grab a latte in a quiet coffee shop, or drive around for an hour. Silence. Independence. The ability to be selfish; for that short period of time, to be able to do absolutely... nothing.
So when a parent, or caregiver reaches out for help. Don't question it. Don't panic. Give them that thirty minutes of selfishness. And respect them for having the courage to ask for it.