I surrendered. I waved the white flag. My cup wasn’t just empty, it was shattered. All my self care tools in my arsenal were failing: the bubble baths, the yoga, the poolside visits with friends, nothing was helping me feel refreshed and content.
There is at least one child who is always on me. I’m rarely alone until well after bedtime. It can be so draining.
Three kids is a lot of work, we all know this. But I never imagined it’d be THIS hard. There’s the sass and attitude coming from my six-year-old, the wild spirit of my 22-month-old and the never-ending needs of my five-month-old. Plus the maintenance of house and home and marriage, my volunteer work, my other work and my passion work. It’s a lot.
And even though I know how important self care is, I continuously pushed it aside, both consciously and unconsciously until I snapped. At 4 a.m., I was nursing the baby for the third morning in a row and I woke my husband and said, “I’m so fucking tired. I can’t do this anymore.”
I’m not sure what “this” meant in the moment but I was sure I couldn’t continue the way I was. I couldn’t do the 4 a.m. feeds anymore. I couldn’t do the constant barrage of kids yelling and hanging off me, puking on me and smearing their God-only-knows what all over me. I couldn’t do the packing them up and lugging them everywhere I needed to go. I couldn’t do the meals where suddenly they didn’t like what I was cooking and somehow I ended up catering to each person’s picky tendencies and making three meals instead of one. I couldn’t do the constant duo poop explosions. I couldn’t do the attitude my daughter has adopted with such ease I’m worried I’m doing this all wrong.
I just couldn’t do it anymore.
So my husband suggested sending them to daycare one day so I could get real alone time. Not alone time in the bathtub while my son sits at the door yelling, “Mom! Mom?” over and over. I mean the alone time that’s actually alone. At first I was angry; why would I pay to send them to daycare when they have a father who could watch them? Gah, men can be daft but I had to eventually, and at first reluctantly, agree that he was right: he needs help on weekends too, especially after the last few months we’ve had of building a tree fort and redoing almost 70ft of fencing after a storm blew down a portion of it. We’ve been busy.
So daycare it was. Thankfully our provider Emily was available on a Friday to take all three of them. Initially, I felt guilty. “How could you leave your five-month-old already?” and “THREE kids? You’re leaving three kids with someone who isn’t family?!” We’re the thoughts on repeat in my mind. Like a skipping CD, they just kept bombarding me. But I knew my need for rejuvenation and freedom were more important.
Us moms can’t parent the best we can if we have nothing to give. If we’re angry or resentful or depressed, we’re doing more harm than good for our kids.
My day away was yesterday, July 10 and it was everything I needed and more. I got a sweaty workout in and had breakfast with my husband at the new OEB downtown (I highly recommend going!), a book date through Indigo with one of my newest and dearest friends, a reiki session, a craniosacral therapy session, an access bars session, dinner at 13 pies followed by a drink at Bon Temps and O’Sheas.
Then it was back to my friends for a bubble bath, chicken fingers and chick shows until I fell into bed at 10:30 p.m. I was woken by the pain of full breasts that needed immediate pumping at 6 a.m. So much for the sleep in I was hoping for! I met another friend for a lovely 7km walk along the river and it was back home in time for an early lunch. I was excited to return. Finally! The resentment had lifted.
I almost wept with joy when I saw my kids. I finally had the chance to miss them and miss them I did!
It was incredible to spend the day with myself, reconnecting to my soul again and remembering how good certain things feel. For instance, walking around a book store without kids is one of my greatest joys. Doing it with a hot coffee in hand and a friend by my side makes it even better.
The energy work I did left me feeling refreshed, energized and inspired. I received beautiful messages I need for my future projects. I received peace. I received a new appreciation for my family.
Sometimes a mama’s gotta take the kids to daycare or Grandma’s or a friends to take care of herself. There’s no shame in that. Even though I felt guilty at first, I knew how important getting away was for my mental and emotional health. Moms are superheroes without capes. But we’re also human. Being human means admitting faults, admitting fears and getting real with ourselves. It’s okay to need a getaway from the everyday. It’s okay to need solitude. It’s okay to be annoyed with the life you’ve made for yourself. It’s okay to want to run away once in awhile. Just take your day with grace and joy and gratitude and remember, surrendering is a sign of strength. That’s another mom superpower: knowing when we need to raise the flag and then asking for help.