We look like the model family on the outside. All smiles on Facebook. Just like everyone else. No one sees what really goes down in reality on Facebook. That’s for reality T.V. and even that is staged. So what really happens behind closed doors? Well, first of all, a lot of praying. I need strength sometimes to just get out of bed to the screams of the children, “Mommy I’m awake!!!” And some days I feel so blessed and thank God when waking up to the squeals of laughter. It changes from day to day. Not all my praying is “help me.” A lot of it is “thank you.” It depends on how much sleep I’ve had, what time the kids went to bed, and what time they woke up. This can all set precedence to how my days are going to play out. My husband helps often by making my coffee and changing the kids. Depending on whether or not it is a school day, things can get crazy. He sometimes drops our son off to school and my day starts at home with the little one. Then I count down to nap time. Which makes me feel guilty. Nap time is me time.
Sometimes I feel like the day plays out like a movie, playing out scenes from a love story, action story, and a horror film all at once. One might call it an adventure. I call it my average day. But why do I feel the need to escape? I am a stay at home mother. “I’m so lucky,” they say. So why don’t I want to spend every waking hour with my children? After all, “they grow up so fast, enjoy it while you can,” is what I hear from the passer by (whose advice I didn’t ask for). Because I need my space! Sometimes I feel like I can’t breathe. I want to go into my room and lock then door. But then that beautiful angelic face is staring right at me, drool hanging from his chin, bouncing up and down in the crib in our room and right when I think I have a chance to rest he’s ready to go. The world is a happy place, rainbows and unicorns, when both kids can take a nap at the same time. Another thing that makes me feel guilty.
But don’t I need to take care of myself too? Where’s the balance?
I hear mother’s guilt never goes away. It’s part of being a mother. I feel guilty for so many things and we haven’t even gotten to preschool. I know I can never be the perfect mother. But the days when I might lose it and I have trouble keeping it together makes me feel so less than perfect. I pray. And then my son says in all his wisdom, “just relax mommy and take a deep breathe.”
Some days I yell. I’m not proud of it. I can’t expect to be an example when I lose it. But I feel guilty about it. Why can’t I keep it together when they are pushing me to my limits?
Oh yeah, I forgot. I’m human.
And how about Dad? Disneyland Dad comes home from work all smiles ready to wrestle with our son, tossing him up in the air, when I’m trying to get him in bedtime mode. Disneyland Dad is so much fun! He has so much energy and so happy to see his family. Meanwhile, I’m frazzled, baby in one arm, handing him over like a hot potato. Dishes piled up in the sink. Food on the floor from the baby throwing it everywhere. I have smoke coming out of my ears and I am DONE. Doesn’t he get it? No! He’s Disneyland Dad! He’s always happy.
And that brings me to what “they” say. I hate to admit it but “they” are right. They grow up so fast. So in those moments that I feel frazzled and on the verge of losing it, I might say to myself, you are going to miss this one day. Enjoy it. Stay in the moment, would ya?
And how about Disneyland Dad? Aren’t my children lucky that they have a father? One that is present? So what if I’m the bad guy most of the time? I have to be, I’m with them more. Isn’t it just all about my ego anyway?
And so what if I want to escape? So what if I am on social media? That is my time. I need it. It keeps me sane in the moments that I feel isolated. I don’t know if anyone without children or even with children could understand what it feels like to be isolated. Your in your head and your eating, speaking, living toddler language. It happens.
That’s why I started Yoga again. That’s me time. And in having me time, my kids get Disneyland Dad time, which is always nice. I’m taking care of my self. I am not going to feel guilty for that. If I don’t take care of myself and my needs how can I take care of a family?