Being a mom to a rambunctious two year old has made me appreciate the struggle of trying to build a mom squad/maintain "pre-child" friendships. I remember being told just how easily the relationships you had prior to parenthood could slip through your fingers, especially those friends without children of their own. I have had to learn to really put myself in situations where these friendships can happen – because parenting alone can be a hot mess without people to help keep your head above water!
One resource I recently started utilizing is an app called “Peanut” which connects moms in your area and nationwide in a social media network where we can vent, ask questions about more than just childrearing, and allows space for you to pose queries anonymously that would surely get you kicked out of your face-to-face mommy groups lol! (Click HERE to check out Peanut!)
While I am working on that portion of motherhood, I recently realized how much I was neglecting the other part – the whole human mama part.
Mother’s Day is approaching, (my third with a baby), and as my little son-shine is still a bit young for really meaningful activities, I started to think about what I could do for me. Then I had a real good look at myself…and realized I had been living the past three years in survival mode.
Y’all know what survival-mode looks like, especially that first time around the bend. Meals made up of leftovers your child refused to eat, forgetting to shower for days at a time, zombified due to lack of sleep, wondering vaguely what day it is and whether today will be the day you finally tackle that mountain of laundry/dishes/pile of things that needed to be put away years ago.
I think it hit me the most when a fellow mama at the baby park gave me a wide-eyed look after I pointed out my toddler, and she questioned whether I had another baby at home, perhaps a newborn, to give credence to my whole hot mess.
Listen. I’ve grown up significantly in the last five years or so, which is why I didn’t: a) snap at the woman for what was surely pure rudeness, regardless of how my yoga pants and hair looked and b) burst into tears and immediately fall into the “hot mess mommy” pit of despair.
Instead, I went home, put my lovebug to sleep, closed myself into the bathroom, and had a whole talk with myself.
As important as it is to build new relationships within the new normal that comes with becoming a parent, it is just as important to continue to cultivate the relationship you have with yourself. This is the person your child will grow to know and love, with all of your quirks, flaws, and fierceness. Motherhood (and Parenthood for that matter) is not synonymous with martyrdom.
Went to work the next day and put in for two days off. I left the space where you put in your reason for the time off blank. I also didn’t allow for any guilt to creep in – which was difficult, I admit. I didn’t tell my babysitter I took the time off – because I still needed her. I love my son with my entire heart, don’t get me wrong, but it had been WAY too long since I had showed myself some love too.
And dammit, I deserved it. As do you mama.
So, this Mother’s Day, I want to wish you a beautiful and joyous time, with or without whomever you wish, without judgment. I want you to embrace a little of Auntie Maxine’s “reclaiming my time”, and do use it to do something that is 100% for you. And then I want to see you carry that idea forward, fold it into your parenthood experience – so that can reconnect. With you.