I have a favorite child. There! I said it!
If you don’t have any kids, or you have an only, you may be saying to yourself right now: How on earth could she say such a thing? She’s a terrible mom…
But, if you have multiple little ones running around 24/7/365, then you may be singing: Yes! Yes, me too! I’m not the only one! Finally, someone said it out loud. I’m not crazy…
Do you want to know who my favorite child is?
My eight month-old.
Because she doesn’t sass me. She doesn’t leave a mess all over the floor for me to trip over. She doesn’t scream in my face when I tell her she cannot have eleventy more crackers. She doesn’t throw herself on the floor when I tell her she cannot watch four more hours of Sheriff Callie. She doesn’t say things like, It’s all your fault! or I don’t want to brush my teeth–stop touching me! or my favorite, NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!
Nope. My eight month-old doesn’t do any of that.
Instead, she’s sweet and smiley and cuddly and laughs at all my jokes and animal noises. And she doesn’t run away when I sit her down on the floor.
But. Then comes nighttime, when my eight month-old is tired and fussy and plays The Don’tYouDareTakeMeOffTheBoobOrIWillScreamEvenLouder Game. Oh you know it? It’s a Classic.
That’s when I pass her off to Daddy and climb in bed with my SassyPants (a.k.a. my four year-old) and read books to her. That’s when she gives me butterfly and Eskimo kisses and says things like, Today was the best day ever! or Daddy and I are getting married ‘cuz we’re in love! or my favorite, I love you the biggest much of all, Momma!
And that’s when my four year-old is my favorite child.
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My emotional well-being is important to me, and I’ve come to realize that in order to take care of my family, I have to start with me. I cannot let myself become an afterthought. If I don’t take care of myself, how the heck am I suppose to take care of anyone else? I’m not just talking about eating healthy and exercising frequently, but about A Mother’s Sanity.
Do you find yourself being pulled in many different directions? Do you feel obligated to make beautifully homemade and hand-crafted cupcakes for your child’s birthday celebration at school, to be the Room Mom, the coach for your child’s basketball team, and the first to volunteer to go on every field trip?
Why? Why are you trying to do it all? Is it so you won’t look bad to the other mothers? Are you worried about disappointing people?
Let me ask you this: Who the hell cares?
No one–that’s who!
The only pressure you feel is the pressure you put on yourself.
Do you want me to tell you what trying to do it all will look like at the end of the road?
SPOILER ALERT: It doesn’t end well. It ends with gray hairs, wrinkles, and dark circles under your eyes. It ends with missing out on enjoying the small things in your child’s young life. Or even worse: stress-related symptoms such as depression, constant colds, and rage.
YOU matter. Homemade cupcakes don’t.
YOUR sanity matters. Being Room Mom doesn’t.
Buy the store-bought cupcakes. I guarantee the kids will be just as happy. They totally don’t care that you spent hours searching for the p e r f e c t picture on Pinterest, then spent an hour or more meticulously putting them together.
Why are you trying to make your life more difficult than it already is?
Let me ask you this: If you say YES to something, what are you really saying NO to?
If you say yes to spending over an hour baking and decorating cupcakes, what are you saying no to? You are saying no to spending an hour playing with your daughter’s new doll house. You are saying no to an hour of quality time with your husband. You are saying no to an hour of sleep.
Isn’t your emotional well-being more important than trying to impress other people?
Let me answer that for you: YES!
Quit making excuses for not taking care of yourself.
Your sanity is more important than pleasing other people. I know you’re having a hard time letting the guilt go. I know you want to be there for everyone who could use a helping hand. I know you want to do it all. But the truth of the matter is, Is it worth your own sanity? Is it worth your own health and happiness? Is it worth missing out on time spent with your kids? If it is, then by all means, drive yourself into the ground.
The saying, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” is a bunch of croc, if you ask me. Do you know what no sleep does to a person? Crazy things! Your body needs sleep to fight off illnesses, to have a clear mind for making critical decisions, and to stay healthy overall so you can be your best you.
So stop trying to be a martyr. Stop trying to impress other mothers. Stop worrying that you’re letting other people down. Because you’re not.
You are taking care of YOU, which in turn, is taking care of your family. And that’s the most important thing there is in life.
Do you know a mother who could use this honest advice? Share it with her!
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