Moms Shouldn’t Have To Negotiate For Every Second Of Alone Time They Get
I have long been a proponent of moms taking care of themselves. I say moms and not parents because taking into account other couples I know, most dads do not need to be reminded to take time to themselves. We all know mothers who either think they’re not worth it or that they are too needed to take some time to themselves, and this is so unfair. It is one of my chief mom “causes” to remind every mother I know that they shouldn’t have to negotiate for every second of alone time they get.
When I first had my daughter, I will admit to having a touch of “no one can do this as well as I can” floating around in my head. Like many new moms, I was a little scared to leave her and felt tremendously guilty even contemplating it. While I did leave her for brief periods in those first weeks, it was only because I was in a wedding and couldn’t avoid it. It was a pretty miserable feeling thinking I was not worth a few hours to get my hair cut because my baby simply couldn’t live without me. I roll my eyes so hard now remembering it.
When she was about two months old, at the insistence of my husband who saw the bad direction I was heading, I signed up for some personal training sessions at the gym. This was over seven years ago and I still vividly remember crying my eyes out in the gym parking lot, worrying that he wouldn’t know how she likes to be held before bedtime or that he wouldn’t make her bottles as warm as she liked them. Ridiculous, I know. I shuffled into the gym feeling so sorry for myself and thought this endeavor was a complete waste of time. She was only a little baby, I thought. It’s normal for me to never leave her, right?
Wrong. By the end of that hour, I was starting to feel like a person again. Like me. The me I was before I acquired the title of “mom.” I drove home with a smile on my face, excited to see my daughter because I’d had the chance to actually miss her for the first time. I won’t be so dramatic as to say I made a vow that evening, but I did remember that feeling. How happy I was after taking care of myself. I knew then that it would become an important part of my being a good mother to attend to my own needs.
This is why I get so annoyed by the notion that a mother should have to beg and plead with anyone to get the alone time she needs. I know how much it helps me and I can’t imagine my life as a parent without a break when I need one. I have trouble picturing a father making a bargain and begging for time to himself. I know it would never occur to my husband-if he wants time alone, he tells me and we work it out. He never feels guilty, nor should I. This is why I have adapted the same frame of mind in regard to my own alone time and I feel that all mothers should. When I have time to myself, I’m more patient and loving. I enjoy my kids more when I have a chance to breathe and reflect. What kind of mother would I be if I always felt stressed out and smothered? Taking time for me is a gift to them too and we are all happier for it.
(Image: Minerva Studio/Shutterstock)