Dear Momma, Your Priorities are Skewed!
Your priorities are skewed!
Now, honestly, I mean that in the nicest way. Because if you’ve met me before you know that saying something direct and possibly hurtful is not my style. But I feel like if I don’t tell you, then I can’t continue to sit back and watch you be miserable and continue to let you commiserate.
Because momma, you are so focused on what isn’t right that you aren’t noticing the positive.
Like the fact that your baby slept through the night. And it's been a while since you've had to change wet sheets or change your own clothes during the day from too much spit up. Like the fact that your partner got home early and was trying to give you a kiss and help with dinner. But you didn't even notice because you can’t stand him being anywhere near you.
Is this the life you want?
I want you to know that you HAVE to do something to help yourself. Living like this is not going to magically get better overnight.
Your partner isn’t going to “all of sudden” start doing things the way you want him to so you won’t have to keep nagging him.
Your kids tantrums at dinner and bedtime will not magically disappear when he turns 2 or 3 or 4 or starts grade school.
The laundry isn’t going to disappear, making lunches and dinner, and the endless other chores and tasks and running around doesn’t stop at some magical age (well, I guess when they head to college, but then we have a whole other set of issues).
But you being miserable and tired and frustrated and taking it out on everyone else or beating yourself up inside because you are so unhappy thinking you must be a terrible mom...that absolutely CAN change.
Because I know, momma, the thing that needs to change is how you are taking care of yourself.
I KNOW you are not exercising because there is always something else to do. And the plan to get up at 5 am before everyone else is impossible because you're barely able to roll out of bed at 6:30 without drinking 2 cups of coffee first to give you that boost you need.
I know you're not carving out time for yourself because you are quick to drop off dry cleaning for your partner, run back to the school/daycare for the forgotten lunch, taxi the kids to and from school and extracurricular activities. (Yes, even moms with small babies: I know you have your kiddos signed up for music classes, baby massage, dance classes, you name it). All this while you still try to work either a full time job or a work from home job that never seems to get done till the wee hours of the night, after you wake up in your child's bed or on their floor, after countless stories or tears. I'm willing to bet that you probably fell asleep before they did.
And that’s the thing-- you are REALLY good at taking care of everyone else. But that can’t last forever.
You know this. You feel resentful at your partner that they seem to get time to play basketball or meet up with friends after work or for lunch. And you find yourself snapping and getting easily irritated when your child cries because they wanted the blue cup and not the green cup.
It needs to stop.
You need to start doing something for yourself. You know that saying “you can’t fill from an empty cup”? I know this to be true.
You know it’s true too because you are exhausted and your moods are getting the better of you. Nothing makes you happy. Maybe you're anxious or depressed. Or, maybe you're just sleep deprived or just starving for solo time. Maybe it's all of the above.
So what do you need to do?
Oh yes, momma, I know that is easier said than done. But first, stop. What do you need? Slow down and think about what it is that brings you joy? If you can still remember what brings you joy, great! Now what do you need to do to start doing those things again? What support system do you need to elicit to make sure that this stuff gets on the calendar?
If you don’t know or can’t remember, then I know this way you’ve been operating has been going on way too long. That’s ok. Things can still change, so let’s do that. In this case I'd strongly urge you to consider seeing a therapist to work through what might make you happy now at this phase in your life. Because, truth be told, part of why you might not be able to remember might be because you don't want or need the same things that you used to. A therapist that you feel comfortable with can help you uncover what it is you want and need more quickly.
Now that you know what you would like to do, look at what has stopped you from doing so. No time, you say? Yes, I know there is not enough time in the day. But taking care of yourself should be your number one priority. If you don’t ever change your car's oil the engine stops working and the car shuts down. The repair work for and engine is so much more expensive that the work needed to maintain the car in the first place. Am I right? I know you know this so why do you not treat yourself as well as you treat everyone and everything around you?
What are you going to do (or NOT do) to make this happen?
Talk with your partner
Schedule on the calendar in permanent marker
Call a babysitter if necessary (this could possibly be a weekly occurrence) or co-op with another parent where you watch their kid one time (yeah playdate) and they watch yours another.
If you feel the anger, frustration, resentment has built up then maybe you need to speak to a therapist. I know it can be expensive. But more often than not these feelings you’re feeling will not automatically disappear. (And believe me, there are things that are more expensive than therapy....like, divorce.) Get the unconditional support and guidance you need now before your “engine blows” so that the repair isn’t even more expensive.
Because, sweet momma, you deserve this. You deserve to feel good. To be happy and enjoy your sweet babies that you so love. You deserve to be able to see the love your partner gives to you. So, do this for them. But most importantly do this for you!