Last week was tough in mom land. My nearly 7 year old has taken a liking to arguing with us about EVERYTHING from what his bedtime is, to wearing a long sleeved shirt to school, to whether or not he is in fact chasing his brother around the house (he was). We tell him to stop talking back, he shrieks, I'M NOOOOOOT!" FYI son, that's exactly what I'm talking about. There have been some major meltdowns over Legos, allegedly ill-fitting socks, what he's bringing for class snack, and homework ("Just because there IS homework in my homework folder doesn't mean I have to DO homework!"). The simplest of things seem to have become a debate or a negotiation (Me: Bedtime in 5 minutes! Him: No, 6! Me: Bath time! Him: No! Tomorrow!). I felt like every single conversation with him resulted in an argument and/or me or my husband yelling. Despite the fighting and yelling, he and his brother still found time to follow me to the bathroom, follow me outside and follow me to the kitchen. As soon as I walked in the door, they demanded snacks (hello, they had been home with their father for 45 minutes before I got there.... why am I the only one who can get them snacks?), demanded dinner, demanded I find this or that. When I finally got a chance to sit down, they literally sat right on top me. Why, when there is plenty of open couch space, do they insist on sitting on ME? The name mom was spoken (shrieked, cried, yelled) no less than 18,000,000 times in the span of 3 hours. By the time bedtime hit, I was stressed, emotional and exhausted. I just wanted some SPACE. I wanted to lay in my bed in the quiet and enjoy the softness and security of my pillow and blankets. So when I went to get into bed and saw my little one laying there in MY spot (OK'd by my husband), I started to cry.
I was completely overwhelmed last week.
Usually when I feel overwhelmed, it is quickly followed by guilt.
Why can't I handle this better?
Why am I yelling at my kids like that?
I am a terrible mother.
Why don't my kids wear cute matching outfits, cook me breakfast and read books in bed together like my friend Jenna's daughters do on Facebook?
And you know what the answer is? I'm human. And I need to un-friend Jenna (just kidding Jenna).
It is OK to get overwhelmed. It is OK to cry. And yes, it is OK if you yell at your kids sometimes. Because you're human (and sometimes, they just really deserve it)! What you need to remember is, you can't take care of others until you take care of yourself. When you are stressed, or overwhelmed, or just have nothing left to give, STOP and take care of YOU. Better yet, take care of you before that all happens! I'll admit, this is a hard one for me. I feel bad taking time for myself. I feel guilty. I feel like that is not being a good mother. But the truth is, I can't be a good mother unless I am first a good ME.
This past weekend my parents took the kids overnight. I read, I relaxed, I napped. My husband and I went out to breakfast and binge watched The Walking Dead. It was bliss. It was just what I needed. And yesterday when the kids came home, I was back on my game.
Sometimes, we just need a little break. I know that's not always easy and at times, seems impossible. But I tell you, you need it. It could be a solo trip to Target. A quick work out at the gym. A long, hot bath behind a locked door (and give your husband and children strict orders you are not to be disturbed). A walk outside. Meeting a friend for coffee. A quick drive with the radio blaring your favorite songs. A trip to the library (oh, the sweet silence of the library!). It doesn't have to be a weekend away (although that is certainly nice!). It can just be an hour or two escape to re-group and revitalize your mommy soul. Don't have time? Can't fit it in? YES YOU DO and YES YOU CAN. Make time. Pencil, no PEN yourself into your planner. Schedule time for YOU. Even if it's 10 minutes a day just to sit quietly with yourself and be able to hear your thoughts. Or 10 minutes to sit quietly with yourself and think about absolutely nothing. You can do it! Challenge yourself to do it! It's OK to take a break sometimes.