During the weeks I have my gorgeous little nugget of a son, my life revolves around him. I wake up in the morning and make him breakfast. I pack his lunch. I plan his outfits and get him safely to school.
While he’s at school, I tidy up his toys. I work and run all my errands so I don’t have to run them with him.
After school, I give him a snack and cook his supper. He eats and then we sit on the couch and practice drawing letters and sounding them out. Bath time, snuggle time, books, songs…I’m a pretty typical mom.
Yesterday morning while I finished packing his lunch (pears, sweet potatoes, dairy-free gluten-free grilled cheese, and a little bag of gluten-free snack mix), I patted myself on the back. Well, this looks good enough to eat! I thought to myself. Heh! I’m such a hoot.
Then, like a BOLT of lightening from the blue sky above me, another thought shocked my thick skull.
Why don’t I make myself breakfast and lunch like this?
We are moms. We make food for everyone else. We draw baths for everyone else. We pick out and wash clothes, tidy up, and run errands for everyone else. There are days we even feel resentful, especially you married moms, wondering why you have to do EVERYTHING for EVERYONE and no one is doing ANYTHING for you. I MEAN ISN’T THAT WHY YOU HAVE A SPOUSE?!
So I ask you: is it possible that when you don’t do anything for yourself, you don’t indicate to anyone else you even need anything anyway? You eat the extra piece of pizza on the go while everyone else is eating homemade soup because it’s easy and you don’t want it to go to waste. You throw on the leggings that still fit and a t-shirt to get your kids to school after painstakingly dressing them in appropriate and adorable clothes. You fit in a shower between school meetings (IF you shower) before drawing a beautiful bubble bath in which the princes and princesses can clean their delicate little bodies. All day, you demonstrate to everyone around you that their time is more precious than yours, that their nourishment and self-care is more important than your own. Why WOULD anyone step up to do anything for you?
I put the finishing touches on Abe’s lunch (including silverware and a little note) and then decided that on this day, I would make myself lunch. My lunch would not be eating out of a cold tupperware while I worked or dried my hair. My lunch would be a complete, balanced meal eaten while doing nothing else. Then, after getting some work done, I decided I wanted to go for a walk. And so I did. I didn’t worry about whether or not I would have to run errands later with Abe because I was choosing to take a walk while he was at school. I just walked. And it was glorious.
As moms we are kind of selfish. (Hear me out.) We’re selfish in that we think eventually someone will notice we’re completely depleted and they will fill us up. But you know what? It’s not their jobs to fill you up.
Sorry. It’s not.
And furthermore, it’s not their jobs to GUESS you need filling. It’s is so, so easy to put everyone ahead of yourself as a mom. It’s practically IN the job description. But the fact of that matter is that most of us signed up for this job. Fair or not, we do have to put the needs of other people at the top of the list. It just doesn’t mean that we put ourselves at the bottom and hope that eventually someone near the top of the list notices us. So put yourself on the list. Care about yourself as much as you care about your kids. Make yourself breakfast that consists of more than your children’s leftover eggie bits. Plan a lunch for yourself, including INGREDIENTS. Take a shower, dress yourself, and for heaven’s sake, read a bedtime story. If you don’t do it, no one else will even notice you’re a person in your family who needs stuff, too.