I showed up to my gym for my group workout with a pounding headache that my 1 small cup of coffee couldn’t even touch. I look up to the board for the the list of activities and I smirk when i see jumping jacks to start the day. “GREAT”, I thought, “I love jumping around….” sarcastically muttering while trying to keep my thoughts to myself. With nowhere else to go, I start in with the workout- that was when I think “I probably should have gone to the bathroom before this, oh wait a sec, I did go, I should be good. Nope. Not good. Not good at all.” I muddle through the rest of the set and thank God that the next station is seated, so I get in position and realize I just peed my pants a little. Yep. Great. Ok, so I can make a run for the bathroom to sneak out of the rest of the workout or “accidentally” pour my water bottle on my crotch, making it clear that my spill is the reason my pants are wet. (BTW ..It’s been REALLY hot here and I think the headache was partially from dehydration), so I decide to do neither. I debated about running out the door and chalking it up to thinking -- "I couldn't possibly finish my workout in this situation."
No, I decided to just finish this workout, strong, confident and with my head held high.
I don't get much time to myself and I wasn’t going to waste it in the restroom or quitting to head back home. I went for it, and I went hard. I killed that workout, even though I was tired, had a headache, peed my pants and really, really, really wanted to just go home and take a shower. Why shouldn’t I? My small window between grocery shopping, dropping off a forgotten water bottle, and stepping into my new role as an unpaid uber driver, was important to me. I made time in my busy day to workout, eat a healthy meal and finish some tasks that needed my attention. I finished that morning free from guilt or worry that I was not running around taking care of someone else.
Because I’m taking care of me and that’s OK.
Why do we, as moms, think that we can’t have bad days, or mess up, or take time to figure ourselves out? Where did this super-mom complex come from? We seem to do it all the time for our kids, solving their (seemingly) minuscule problems of misplaced homework or forgetting their lunch boxes. We take on everything from everyone else with not a thought for ourselves or how that would affect our personal time. I realized that when I take on too much of the responsibilities for everyone else, I can’t really do any of them very well. I end up feeling overworked, under-appreciated and not in productive mindset. So why go there? Why not say "No" when asked if you can pickup an extra carpool day, or can you just stop at the store (with all 3 kids in the backseat) to pick up something on my way home? It's Ok to say no. It's not your obligation.
Why don’t we rearrange the responsibilities and dependency on “mom doing everything” and test out the independent muscles of our children. I’ve started having them pack their own lunches the night before, making their own breakfasts (if they aren’t old enough to operate the stove, I make them get out the ingredients, eggs, bread, etc), checking their backpacks for all the items they are required to have for the day, etc. Stepping up as the teacher and less of the doer will help my children help me and learn that their help is required for the family to run smoothly.
Give away some of the self imposed mombligation (see what I did there?) and start taking ownership of your time. If feelings of guilt or panic come in, remember your job as a mother is not to be a personal assistant, it is to teach independence.
I know it won't be perfect, because my children are not perfect and neither am I.