I’m tired. I know you're tired too. It’s crazy how easy parenthood looks until you actually become the parent. Y’all this shit is hard! Pardon my language right off the bat but seriously… this is the hardest job I’ve ever had. Being a single mom to an only child means that “It’s ON” as soon as my son opens his eyes until his head hits the bed for the 17th time (after the many potty and water breaks and the 8th “last hug” of the night).
As hard as it is I don't want to complain, although I still do. I don't want to complain because I know that this time will pass so quickly, it already has, and my 4-year-old may soon realize that I’m not the coolest person on earth. I don’t want to complain because if I didn’t have him I really don’t know what would have happened to me after losing Ryan. I don’t want to complain because he is his daddy and my love personified and becoming a mom really was the greatest thing that ever happened to me. I promise I don't take it lightly… but I do struggle with it sometimes… Ok, a lot of the time.
What’s funny is that a popular local moms blog, New Orleans Moms Blog, recently named me “New Orleans Mom of the Year” for 2019. I feel incredibly honored and appreciate the friends and family who have texted, called or commented that I deserve it, but there is something in me that feels like I don’t. I’m sort of embarrassed to admit that and I don't want to seem ungrateful but I want to be honest.
When I think of “Mom of the Year” I think of someone like my sister in law who has three children, a busy husband, a job and she still manages to throw the most beautifully put together dinners for our entire family with thoughtful table decor and allergy-friendly deserts for my son. That’s “Mom of the Year!”
Or I think of my other friend who is an extrovert by nature yet spends most of her days inside her house with her son because his special needs also cause him to have a low immune system. Her husband works out of town so she’s put her career on the back burner in many ways so that she can focus on her son. Total “Mom of the Year”!
I think of my own mom who literally has been there for Winston and me since the day he was born. She often puts everything on hold just to make sure we are taking care of and keeps Winston our dog every time I have to travel for work. I often think she takes care of Winston better than I do. She’s my vote for “Mom of the Year!”
I, on the other hand, just simply try to do my best. What my best looks like is different each day. On a rare occasion, I’m killing it with allergen-free homemade banana pancakes, Spider-man carved watermelon and dance parties in the kitchen. Other days, I’m yelling for the 5th time for my son to put his shoes on so we can get out of the door “on time.” Then spend the car ride trying to make up for my poor mood with fun tunes and a guilty conscious.
In my 4 year career as a mom, I have noticed one major factor in whether or not I act/feel like a good mom. It’s a pretty simple question I ask myself. “Am I tired?”
What’s crazy is I started this post off saying “I’m tired” and for the most part, I am. It’s a constant struggle for me.
What’s even crazier is that we all know what happens to our kids when they are tired… #nightmare and We are no exception. Y’all we are all tired!!!
I struggle, like most moms, with exhaustion. I struggle to keep up with all of the things that come with running a household, raising an active child who happens to be allergic to almost everything and suffers from severe eczema… Oh, and did I mention I started my own jewelry line last year. AHHH!!!! I stay up late, I wake up early and I feel like I don't stop. Right now it’s 5:30 am on Mother’s Day morning and I’m working on this blog post. (As I edit this I realize it took me a solid month to actually get this posted… but hey, That’s real life right there!)
I know everyone’s circumstances and struggles are unique. I happen to be a single Momma and budding entrepreneur who struggles with waves of grief after losing my husband. You may be a Momma that has three kids, a demanding boss and a husband who works shift work. Or maybe you’re not a mom at all but you can relate to the fact that you are tired too! No matter our circumstances the one common denominator is we are trying our best, so much so, that we sometimes forget to take care of ourselves. And, most of the time, we feel guilty for even suggesting we have some “me time.”
The crazy part about that “mom guilt” is that we really are better when we are rested. Life flows easier, we are healthier, we are happier, our kids are happier… Rest really is a win-win.
Now I know what you’re thinking… “Yes I would LOVE to get Rest but that’s impossible! Who has time for rest?” And I completely feel you on this. But honestly, it’s not about “making the time” (we all only have 24 hours in a day) it’s about “taking the time.”
Here are three ways that I’ve learned to “take time” for myself:
- Deciding what I can say no to. Think about this for a sec… If you accept every birthday party invitation that your child comes home from school with, you may be committing yourself to 20+ Saturday’s and that’s if you have one child. Also, if you say yes to every request for you to volunteer your time at school, work or church you are saying “no” to time for recharging your batteries. When you say Yes, you should ask yourself what am I saying No to. What are you willing to “take time from” to “give time to”? You do not have to be the parent that “Does it All.” When you have the choice, do what you want to do. You’d be surprised by how much you can take off your plate allowing you to actually be a better, calmer, more rested Momma! And if your child really wants to attend all of his schoolmate’s parties then utilize tip #3 and it will be a game changer!!!
- Get up an hour before your kid's wake or at least 30 minutes earlier than you normally do. I know this sounds counter-intuitive to getting rest but the key is you must get to bed at a decent time to allow your body to get the rest it needs. This is one of my biggest challenges. Yet when I do it right I’m excited to wake up and start my day with something I enjoy without feeling rushed. For me, it’s a daily devotional and some time to journal and set my intentions and plan for the day. Getting up earlier makes me feel energized in the morning by the time my mom duties start. It allows me to start slowly and feel a bit more “in control” and able to handle what the day has in store for me. Mornings are usually a time where my patience runs thin especially if we are running late!! So not only do I wake earlier I decided Winston would too. More time = less pressure. Less pressure = a happier start to the day for everyone!
- Trading with a momma friend by offering to take turns watching each other’s kids so you can do something for you and she can have a turn to do the same. For example: Walk the aisles of Target without a cart full of kids (warning this could be dangerous and surely will cost you at least $300!! LOL) sit on your porch with a glass of wine in peace, use that pedicure gift certificate that’s about to expire or simply having a date night with your hubby. Mom friends are easily the most underused resource in our tool belt! And if you don't have any just yet. Start to get to know the moms of your kid's besties at school. Once you find your crew it’s ride or die!!! You could also easily do a kid trade with a family member too. There is always someone who will willingly swap babysitting time… it’s a no brainer for everyone!
Even though I know, and for the most part use, these tips… I still don't feel like “Mom of the Year” material but I’ll take the title and continue to try my best to be better each day. It truly is my greatest joy and toughest job. And more important than all of this is to give ourselves grace and flexibility. When you are sick, or when you are tired and you don’t show up as the mom/wife/coworker you dream of being… explain that you are tired, apologize if needed and try again the next day. We are all human and if we can give our kids grace when they are tired and cranky then surely they can do the same for us!