I have read/heard, on more than one occasion, “You’ve got kids. Your needs no longer matter.” Huh? Sure, I believe that my kids’ needs come first. But what kind of message would I be sending if I ignored my own needs based on the whims of my kids? I want them to feel safe and loved, but I don’t want them to believe that the world revolves around them. I’ve seen enough kids whose parents smother them with so much love and attention that they can’t cope in the real world. They expect everyone to drop everything at their command, and it’s just not realistic.
Now, there are plenty of moms (and I suppose some dads, although I don’t know any) who are totally fulfilled by the whole process of parenting and family. I respect that. Unfortunately, I’m just not one of those people. I need my own space, my own time, my own thoughts and my own activities and interests. I adore my children and their well-being is incredibly important to me. In fact, I am home with them most of the week and spend a lot of energy and time on their activities, appointments, interests and general care. Honestly, it leaves me exhausted.
Let’s add one more thing to the mix: I am a total introvert. It may not be obvious when you meet me as I often appear confident and outgoing, but being in a crowd slowly drains my energy. By the end of a day with my kids, I generally want to go to a dark, quiet place and take a long nap. They are bright, funny, engaging and adorable. They are also constantly fighting, asking questions, asking for help, getting injured, screaming, and demanding. I mean, I’ve got a toddler and a preschooler. It simply wipes me out.
So, when I started thinking about what I wanted for my birthday and Mother’s Day this year, all I could think of was a long nap. Luckily, I stumbled across So Much More Than a Mom. After a moment of surprise at how similar her blog name is to my other blog’s name (More than Mommy), I realized that she’s also a great writer and kindred spirit! Cyndi shared on her blog how she was planning an annual solo Mother’s Day trip to refresh and celebrate herself. And I realized that it was just what I needed, as well.
I’m going to share my thoughts on my solo trip separately, but I want to encourage other moms to set out on their own solo journeys. It doesn’t have to be a long journey away, but it should be a period of renewal for you and your spirit. You may choose to journey with a close friend (not all of us enjoy alone time as much), but it needs to be kid and husband free. It’s about being YOU and remembering who you are in addition to being a wife and mother. If you’re nervous, start with a girls night out or a spa day and work your way up to an overnight. Just take a moment to be you. When things get rough, or when your kids eventually move out of the house, you’ll be glad that you stayed in touch with your inner self.
So, fellow moms, have the happiest of Mother’s Days! Celebrate yourself and all that you do for your families. You deserve it!