Over the last two months, my life has been full steam ahead toward one goal after another. All of these involved me giving up something basic - decent sleep, regular showers, keeping my nipples inside my clothing. This is the cost of motherhood, isn't it? Giving of ourselves to a fault, putting others first even when it costs us personally. And when it comes to family? Fuhgedaboutit.
After Rory was born, Stephen afforded me the chance to escape the house, kid-free, and catch a movie. Even with his encouragement, I still had to ask a group of friends for the push to put myself before my own kids. It's weird - logically, I know that if I collapse or lose my mind, I take my whole family with me. But still, I push myself mentally and physically to the edge. My mental health deserves a moment where I can be the first - or even the only - priority. I am far from the only mom who longs for and deserves a manicure, a break from the continual crush of child-rearing.
So why, if it's logical, aren't more of us taking mommy-first time? Maybe it's because our own moms didn't - or couldn't - model that behavior for us. It could be that we've been conditioned to feel guilty for any act that isn't kid-centric. Apparently someone somewhere decided women who have children are moms only and not also still women. And so, I (and I know I'm not the only one) struggle with crippling mom-guilt. An aunt recently remarked that she's glad she didn't have kids in the age of social media. In her eyes, the excessive input is exhausting and a recipe for disaster. I can't say I disagree - because I know there are moms out there who will judge another mom for going to a movie all by herself.
If I forget to prioritize my own self-care, things start getting out of hand. And I don't just mean my leg hair! Someone once told me, "If it's important, you make the time for it." When I look at my own choices it becomes clear that I don't consider the basics important enough with any semblance of regularity. Remember when I told you that I'm taking my skincare more seriously since I turned 30? I haven't even really been able to keep up with that routine like I wanted to. Yes, I invested in several products. But I still haven't made the time. I've been spending my mornings nursing Rory and playing with Shep.
This won't be the first time I ask your help to keep me accountable. And even though it should be easy to be accountable to myself, it's not something I've been able to maintain alone. Maybe, if I'm honest with you about how I really need someone to tell me to step away and go get the damn pedicure, you'll be able to be that honest friend I need. And for fun, I can remind you of the same in advance. After all, it is easier said than done. So I can tell you to take a moment for you - and you can tell me to do it for me. Moms like us need to look out for each other. And I got your back on this once.