Riddle me this, mamas…..
How is it that every electronic device we use these days has an indicator of battery charge level? It goes from full to empty, green to red, 100% to 0%. But always, ALWAYS, there is some sort of a signal when the charge level starts to drop. A friendly reminder to plug that puppy in and juice it up with all the goodness it needs to perform at its full capacity. Yet somehow, it is not until we yell at our kids one too many times, forget to bring the special lovey along to the doctor appointment, and/or simply tune out when our child is proudly performing their “Let It Go” rendition for the 187th time that day, that we realize that maybe, we are not on our Mommy A-Game. Maybe, just maybe, we need to be recharging ourselves. Maybe it is time to take time…..for ourselves.
I know…..easier said than done.
As parents, we are often focusing so much of our time, energy, and efforts on those tiny people, that we lose ourselves in that process. We become identified only as Mommy or Daddy and forget who it is that we spent the pre-child decades cultivating, shaping, identifying, and loving. Days are filled with running children from here to there, talking with our peers (and partners) only about what our little loves are up to, preparing endless snacks, and hopefully getting in a little playtime here and there. And that is all well and good…..in fact, I adore that about parenthood. But, with so many balls in the air, something has to drop. And many time, that ball is ourselves.
This past weekend, I won the mommy lottery. I had the opportunity to drop my two young children off at their grandma’s house and escape to the beach with my husband and two close friends. Three nights people…..the longest we have been away from our kiddos in our 6 years of parenthood.
It. Was. Glorious.
Now, don’t get me wrong. We FaceTimed them every night and no less than 50% of our conversations referred to our children in some way, shape, or form. However, that other 50% or so, I had the chance to focus on me. My husband. My best friends. Things I knew I hadn’t been tending to as well as I could, but simply couldn’t find the time to make a priority.
I remembered things that I once loved…..things that had nothing to do with my children….reading books with no pictures, jumping in the crazy waves and lazily floating on the calm ones, the salty taste of ocean air, yoga.
I tried new things…..raw oysters right from the sea (not so bad…..), speaking the little bit of a foreign language I remember with confidence, enjoying a vacation with absolutely no agenda and no routine.
And though it was difficult to pry myself away from the ocean view that final morning, I knew it was time. I missed my kiddos. I wanted to hear all about every detail of their visit with their grandmother. I wanted to hear that proud little girl belt out Let It Go (1 or 2 times…..). I wanted to be the super-hero to my son that brings the right lovey at the right time. And when I did see my kiddos later that afternoon, my 6 year old told me my “voice was different than before.” I recognized it. It was kinder, gentler, more patient. I was recharged. My mommy batteries were full. All lights were green.
No, it is not always possible to get away for an extended period like this. Trust me, this was our first for us, a true jackpot in parenthood. But, it IS possible to take mini-escapes on a regular basis. Be it a solo-trip to Target, a yoga class at the local community center, or an early morning walk in the cool(ish) desert air, remember to make time for YOU. It is not selfish. It does not make you any less of a parent.
In fact, the contrary is true.
Knowing yourself, remembering what makes you tick, outside of your mommy-dom, will make you an even better version of your everyday persona. You will be able to give MORE to your family, your spouse, your friends, your community. You will be MORE when you are complete. When you are charged. Before that battery light turns red.
Take the time today and BE SELFISH. Charge YOUR batteries. You are SO worth it.
What do you do to recharge your batteries/sneak in some Mommy Time?
Photo by Dave Meier