We should really do this more often: Take a day, or even half a day, just for ourselves, for the purpose of feeling like a human again.
Motherhood can feel a smidgen dehumanizing. It takes your body first, then your brain especially, then your sleep, your free time, then your friends, then your peace of mind, now your ability to express what it is going on inside your head, then your chance to feel understood by the ones you love most, next your hobbies, then your You.
Count the countless hidden sacrifices, deep tries, endless busy thoughts wearing you down, if you’re me, and compounded 1 million as a mom.
The stage we’re in right now is physically intense, but generally simple. Once we start sleeping through the night again, before we know it we’ll be parenting the complex phases of growing kids that go well below the surface. And somehow, right now, I have to be preparing for that.
Talk about not having room to add one more thing on this plate. I’ll just have to hope I can learn by doing, or prepare through osmosis, or something sciency like that.
* * *
Last weekend I was horribly ill. I was feverish, aching all over, delirious, pain in every orifice. I curled up in a ball on the couch for most of Saturday and Sunday, after attending a seminar and trying to network all day Friday with a blazing sore throat. Done. In.
I had to parent through this fog, as my husband was rightly dedicated to supporting his brother who had a brand new baby in the hospital. I was alone with two kids for several hours each weekend day, though let’s not forget I also got extended naps each day, thanks to said husband. (No sick days for moms, amiright???)
Here’s the rub: the Monday before, my son and husband got a stomach virus. I took a sick day from work to take care of them. Then Tuesday I worked from home semi-productively, because I was worried I needed to be available lest the symptoms return or spread to other children o’mine.
6 sick days to use each year. Its February, y’all. It’s so important to me to be there for my kids, I save my sick days for them. My kids get me 6 sick days each year.
When Monday pre-dawned, I stepped foot out of bed, dripped sweat on the floor, and made my way to work, looking like death warmed over. Sure, I took the over-the-counters that seemed applicable, but I am blessed with a constitution that looks at DayQuil and says “come at me again,” — it never works against what ails me.
I know, I know — if you’re sick stay home, and blah blah blah, but let me tell you how fast people without little kids will start giving you the side-eye for all those days “off”! So you maybe just fudge it and try to close your door so you don’t spread your germs…
Yes, every day felt like pulling teeth. I mean that figuratively, but also literally, because my sinuses were so infected that every step I took felt like all my teeth were going to throb right out of my skull.
Yet somehow, amidst this,
- I got people paid — all of the employees!
- I met a new volunteer partner in the same phase of life, motherhood and LuLaRoe wardrobe obsession as me!
- I heard someone’s engagement proposal story!
- I got to coordinate / facilitate a very inspirational service project with my company!
- I finally put the finishing “Fun” touches on the employee handbook we are reworking on our road to rebranding.
- And let’s not forget, a fun lunch date with a coworker friend to try on dresses.
It was such an amazing week, and I loved what I did and got to do and how much I was able to enjoy all the things I might have rather canceled if I could have given in to my ailing body.
* * *
I recall complaining once to my mom about feeling unappreciated. Who knows why, anymore. This was probably almost a decade ago. Her response to me was something along the lines of, “Get used to it, woman. That’s going to be your whole adult life.”
Of course, now I wish I could have spared an ounce of empathy and tried showing her some extra appreciation from that moment forward, but I just had no frame of reference. I really didn’t know any better.
There won’t be any awards, and in actual fact, many people watching from the outside at home and work will find more ways to measure where I fall short than where I overflow.
* * *
But that moment yesterday at the park when my son checked in to let me know he was going to explore the playground with Papa while I stayed playing Bocce, he blew me a kiss and made sure to say bye, unsolicited. Gosh darnit.
Never enough cups to catch all the Love that runneth over in my life.
Who cares if anyone appreciates me. I get to be their mom!? AND do amazing work?
* * *
It might feel like I’m hanging on just for dear life, more days than not. It may feel wholly under-appreciated. But it is the good life.