Why I’m okay with being the “bad mom”
Oh, moms. We have such an immense amount of pressure resting so precariously on our shoulders, don’t we? Pressure from ourselves, our partner, our families, society. To be the perfect this, the perfect that, the mom carting her smiling kids off to class after class so that they’re well rounded, good members of society. We run ourselves ragged attending appointments, cleaning, ensuring all the bills are paid on time, stress over finances and budgets, stay up late making sure things are prepared for the following day, counting down the hours of sleep we might get if we fall asleep right NOW. I was on FaceTime with my mom complaining of my exhausting and lack of time to shower for the past 3 days when I realized how ridiculous I sounded. Mind you, I’m a mother of a newborn and a 2 year old, so most days I do feel pressed for time to pay attention to myself, but let me tell you, that is the LAST thing you want to forget about. I realized I hadn’t showered in 2 days, I was wearing the same clothes, that had spit up and various things wiped on it from my toddler, I could smell my BO every time I lifted up one of my babies, yet kept telling myself that I’d shower as soon as they were asleep, only to get caught up in clearing the sink of dirty dishes. Moms, and people everywhere really, STOP! Self care is so incredibly vital for you to continue doing what you do. As mothers, I’m very aware of the judgment that comes with pretty much every move we make. Go out one night, and you’re hearing the backlash saying all you do is party and you’re never with your kids. Go out, and enjoy yourself. Have that extra drink, eat that last mozzarella stick and laugh and joke about completely inappropriate topics, your kids will have a better ‘you’ tomorrow because of it. I let my 2 month old cry it out for 20 minutes while I showered and lathered on my nice lotion, something minor, but also something I usually skip to tend to one of them. And you know what? I’m more relaxed, I smell good, and that 20 min was enough to make me lovingly pick her up and soothe her quickly, whereas 30 min ago I was ready to tear my hair out and hurriedly rock her to stop the screaming. If you’re not taking time for yourself, you WILL burn out, you WILL yell at your kids out of frustration, and your relationships WILL start to deteriorate. For me, I had to humble myself immensely and understand that while I could ‘do it all’ it was leaving me exhausted and empty, and for my kids, myself, and my relationship, I had to accept help, and start pouring into myself again. For me, that first step was seeking professional help. At first, I was embarrassed. I was scared of the stigma that comes with “therapy”. I didn’t want to seem crazy, like I was incapable, or that I was having serious issues. I sought help at church, but felt like I was brushed off and dismissed, to “let god handle that” wasn’t a good enough answer for me. I researched a little more, and found a therapy group called Winter Solstice, that I was willing to try. After my first session with Dr. Renee Winters, I felt motivated, understood, and like I had a plan to move forward and get shit done in my life. I felt for the first time, that I wasn’t the only one going through the hectic ness of life and maybe not coping so well, but, through a few sessions, that began to turn around for me. While I personally, have been going to her for issues with my relationship, her guidance has leaked into all areas of my life. I know many of my mom friends, and family members can relate to things that I’m going through, nothing helped me more than hearing things from an objective, psychological point of view. Therapy isn’t just for crazies or anger management. I want to lift that stigma from seeking help, and talk openly about these things. No one should ever be looked down upon for wanting to better themselves, and hey, we can’t all do it alone. I truly believe that going to counseling, for whatever reason in your life, is the most beneficial thing that you can do for yourself. Finding the right therapist for you is half the battle, and I can’t recommend Dr. Winters enough. I was skeptical and frightened that I was going to be forking out money to sit on a couch and be asked “how I felt about that” over and over again, but was pleasantly surprised to realize that sessions with her were more likened to venting to an old friend, who instead of listened sympathetically and told you what you wanted to hear, offered constructive advice that produced tangible results. Mamas, daddy’s, family member, old coworkers. I implore you to take care of yourselves before all else. Yes, even before those sweet babies. You can’t pour from an empty cup.