On Letting Yourself Go
I always heard about how moms let themselves go when they have kids. How they can’t seem to find the time to do things for themselves. You see it on What Not To Wear all the time. “I didn’t think about myself after I had kids. It was all about my kids. That’s why my jeans are 12 years old and my shoes have holes in the soles.”
Or maybe it isn’t clothes related at all. You’ve heard about the mom that never loses the baby weight because she drives thru McDonald’s on the way home from work every night. Frozen pizza is a much quicker option for her than a true home cooked meal.
And what’s the excuse? “I’m a mom! I work fulltime and I am also a fulltime mother. I don’t have time to cook! I can hardly keep up with laundry.” It just becomes instinctive for women to say, “I’m a mother. I don’t have time for myself.”
Please don’t hear what I’m not saying, y’all. I am NOT saying that we should be able to keep up with everything. But let me just say this: The “I don’t have time for myself” business? That is not entirely true.
I’d like to clear up any confusion. It’s not that moms don’t have time to do things for themselves, it’s that we choose other things. Yes I need to tend to my fingernails, shave my legs, write a decent blog post, and cook a well balanced meal. I need to vacuum my house and scrub my floors. I need to meal plan and cut some coupons. But, you know what? If I have a spare hour of time that isn’t spoken for, chances are I’m going to sleep or watch some television that makes me laugh.
We’ve been through my schedule before, right? Eight hours are spent at work, an additional hour and a half is spent on the commute. An hour is spent on getting ready in the morning. Three to four hours are spent pumping. Then there are bottles to wash, a baby to bathe, bills to pay, laundry to hang, etc. Sometime in there I feed myself and my husband and give my baby some love.
If we’re going to be completely honest, there is free time in there. I’m sure I could sit my baby down in his Bumbo with some toys while I load the dishwasher. But I don’t want to. I’m away from my baby all day so the moments I have with him at home are very valuable to me.
So excuse me if I don’t invite you over. It’s not personal. It’s just that my house is a disaster and I don’t want your judgement. (Even if you say you won’t judge me, you will. I judge me.) And I’m sorry if you invite me to dinner and I bring Jansen along. I emotionally cannot leave him any longer than absolutely necessary. And, unless you are also a working mother, I do not expect you to understand that, I just expect you to accept it.
Being a mom is hard. Being a working mom is harder. I know that being a stay at home mom is difficult work too, but it’s different. You will never know the pain of leaving your child in someone else’s care every single day. You will never know the frustration of knowing that you may miss your child’s first crawl, first word, first step.
And while it’s hard, it is so very worth it. I am blessed beyond measure and I will never take my life for granted. I have a beautiful baby boy. I have a husband and together we have the money to provide a home and food and life for our little family. Even if that food is purchased in the frozen food section and the house has dog hair tumbleweeds.