Moms Are People Too

This is important.

I just returned from my annual exam. Yes, that annual exam. Only, it’s been two years, so bi-annual is more accurate. I have rescheduled and canceled the appointment for exactly one year (insert excuse here) and now I have to add regular mammograms to the list. This is what getting old looks like. You’ve been warned.

My doctor wanted to prescribe something for my insomnia and anxiety. I told her about Mercy House. She said cream and a pill couldn’t fix that. So I guess I’ll have to stick with margaritas. Oh, I kid.

I left the doctor’s office yesterday and it was raining. I stuck my “to do list” back in my purse and didn’t open my laptop the rest of the day. Instead I got a pedicure:

I couldn’t remember the last carefree afternoon I’d had and while I enjoyed every glorious minute, I thought about how we (moms) are so good at taking care of everyone else.  My kids’ teeth never miss their twice a year dental appointments, they have every school supply they need for projects and I put my “new computer fund” towards my daughter’s new flute.  I drive them to their weekly sports practice, fix healthy, balanced lunches daily, spend countless hours in carlines and help with cookie dough PTO sales so they can win the little Noisy Toilet prize.

Meanwhile, I put my last hair cut off so long, my hairstylist couldn’t remember my style. So, I got  a new one. Surprise!  I have to color my hair every six weeks now because I’ve gotten so gray and since I can never remember my exact color when I’m at Target, it’s like a new me every month and a half. This month I’m Very Dark Brown (emphasis on very not mine. Unfortunately.)

I haven’t been to the dentist in ages and I’m down to my last pair of contact lenses and I don’t want to talk about my exercise routine (mainly because I don’t have one).

I live a busy life and even though I strive to be intentional in my busyness, I’ve become an expert at putting my kids (and even others) before myself.

This is part of what makes us mothers, the ability to set our own needs and desires aside and put our children first. We all have stories-from bed rest to breastfeeding, from self-denial to making their dreams come true, we sacrifice for them on a regular basis. We rock it, too. Motherhood is a high calling. And we do it so often, we  often don’t realize what or who we are sacrificing.

Mothering is exhausting and physical, emotional and spiritual, exhilarating and defeating. It’s filled with pain and beauty, often in the same moment. We make people and it’s no small thing. But mothering will consume every part of us and we must not let it. Our marriages will suffer, and our children will too, because really, that much attention isn’t healthy for anyone.

Do you know what’s harder than being mom some days? It’s being courageous enough to put everyone else on hold so you can take care of your own health, your emotional needs, and even your toes on a rainy day that started with a speculum.

I’m telling you all this because I want you to listen nd learn what I’m still trying to grasp: take care of you. It’s okay to put yourself first. It’s okay to say yes to your needs, even if means saying no to someone else.

It doesn’t make you less of a mom.

It makes you a better one.

So, that thing you’ve been putting off, go do it. Because those things are back on my “to do” list.

Comments

  1. 1

    says

    oooh this is so good.

    My hubby has been amazing at helping lately. I had a bit of a breakdown sunday night feeling so overwhelmed, and he has since started doing the dishes at night so I can have some quiet time to myself. It sounds like such a “small” thing but it has been HUGE for me.

  2. 3

    says

    I have started taking care of myself in recent months. I am going to get a haircut tomorrow sans toddler, and going to the dentist (i had my husband take off so I didn’t have to take the toddler) i may even start my workout routine back up! I’ve found I really am much happier after taking some me time

  3. 4

    liza lee grace says

    I’m in love with this post! I have scheduled “me” time every week – I play in a community band and we practice weekly. My whole family knows my Tuesday evenings are sacred. :)

    I also get in the parent pickup line at school really early. The boys love it because they’re one of the first to leave. They don’t have to wait outside for me to get through the line. I love it because it gives me 30-45 minutes where I’m sitting, alone, with no distractions. I bring along a book and read. Or I bring the laptop and write. It’s also a great Bible study time (what I’ve done this week).

    I still put things off for me, though. Like the dentist. And “that” appointment. I don’t remember exactly how long it’s been since I’ve done either. I have it on my to-do list, but I still haven’t called to make the appointments.

  4. 5

    says

    Yes this, I have been working on this but it is hard…cause suddenly the laundry goes from all but done to oh my where did all this dirty laundry come from…it can happen in hours I swear.

    ps-I despise those toilet noise toys;)

  5. 6

    says

    i’m a new mom…and it totally needed to read this. My daughter was born with hip dysplasia and i’ve neglected my marriage, my friends and pretty much everything as this little girl has taken over. I had a melt down today and my midwife told me I needed some “me” time. thanks for the reminder.

  6. 9

    says

    Such wise words. Be thankful you discovered this before your kids are grown and out of the house. It’s not that they don’t appreciate all you did for them when they were children but they don’t remember. Me, “Remember when 3 of you were in soccer on different teams and some Saturdays we had 3 games scheduled at the same time and only 2 parents to get you there? Blank stare…..no. Don’t neglect yourself and don’t neglect your marriage. Kids leave but husband and wife are still together looking at each other saying, “Why didn’t we do that when we were younger?”

  7. 10

    Larissa says

    This is a very important post and the advice is very hard to follow when your kids are young.

    Mine are now in 6th and 8th grades and it’s just in the last few months that I’m realizing how important it is for me to “get a life.”

    Always being there for my 8th grader is no longer a good thing (for either of us). She needs to learn to be self-sufficient and as hard as it is for me to do, I’m learning to take a step back. This means she now gets up earlier to make her own lunch…if she has geometry questions she watches an online tutorial…the list goes on.

    There have been many tears since the start of school because she’s having to face some “discomfort” at times when things aren’t easy or done for her. But as the weeks go by I see progress. And of course, I’m always available for hugs and “I love yous.”

    For myself, I made a list of a few things I wanted to get done before my 45th birthday this month and I did them: got several yucky dr’s appointments out of the way…finally researched and bought a “smartphone” (on a no-contract plan that is less expensive than my old “dumb phone” plan…got my hair cut and highlighted…I also joined a gym and now drive right there 5 days a week after dropping my youngest off at school.

    Now that my oldest is almost in high school, it’s like all those years just flew by. Now is the time to find “me” again.

  8. 11

    Kim says

    What a great post! I too put everyone before myself and with 4 kids, that is a lot of running around. I know I need to take time for myself, but when I do I often feel so guilty about it that my “me” time isn’t very relaxing. I just have to let it go and know that no one is going to suffer because I’ve taken an hour of my day to go workout or read.

    You are so good at putting things into perspective – thank you for sharing this with us!

  9. 12

    says

    Oh, yes and AMEN! This is part of the reason my very intense 3 year old goes to preschool 2 days a week. One of those days allows me to ho to Bible study- of all things! Today I’m getting my Allume haircut and getting housework done (for me). I’m not convinced the child-centric life benefits anyone. Glad you are taking care of yourself!

  10. 15

    Kit says

    I have spent SO much money at the dentist lately. And I wonder if that is in part due to years of NOT doing that. So yeah, all that money I could’ve spent on my kids, spent in my mouth instead because of a few years of not wanting to spend any time and money on my health. yeah, that didn’t work out so much ;)

    Also, I have been thinking forever about a hobby/craft for me. Lots of moms I know have one, but then everything is “taken” and I couldn’t think of anything more unique to do. But I think I finally found it, and I finally just ordered some supplies that should come today– I’m going to make cute soaps! Because I want to!

  11. 16

    says

    “My doctor wanted to prescribe something for my insomnia and anxiety.”

    I believe we go through times of trial so that we can see God more clearly. You carry a huge burden but Kristen, God’s got it covered! Cling, cling to HIM! He owns a cattle on a thousand hills and every penny we have comes from HIM. You are not carrying Mercy House alone. I know you know that but if it’s resulting in insomnia and anxiety, cling to HIM! Trust HIM! HIS promise are true…praying for you!

    And good job on taking care of yourself. AND I put off my 1st mammogram until next year, yuck! Me to the Dr. “I just turned 40, can’t I wait until I’ve been in the 40′s a whole year?”

  12. 18

    Heather E. says

    Okay, I’m going to go and call the dermatologist that I’ve put off for about a year too. And I think I need a yearly exam too. Oh my, thank you so much for these words today. The Lord used them in my life. Blessings to you.

  13. 19

    Nancy says

    How true!! I put off my “annual exam” for just over a year too. When I did go in, only 18 mos late for my mammo! They found a 6cm tumor. What a shock to be told I had stage 3 breast cancer. No idea if they would have found it sooner if I had kept my appointment 18 mos earlier. I was “forced” to take time for me and put my health first that year. Honestly I think it did my entire family good. They still need me, but I *think* they know they can manage without Mom doing everything. I’ve learned that taking care of me is important, because if I don’t, I won’t be available to take care of them!!

  14. 20

    Carol Darden says

    Even though my kids are grown and on their own, I STILL put others (them included) before me too often. Like you said, it’s built in to us! So, in honor of this post, I’m going to go get the pedicure I’ve been putting off for WAY TOO LONG.

  15. 21

    says

    Ha! If it makes you feel any better, my last “annual” exam was just a month or so ago, but the one prior was for my 6 week check after my last baby. He will be five next week. ;-)

    So, I hear ya girl!

  16. 22

    says

    Absolutely love this and I actually wrote as that mom trying to do it all and failing in my post today so, obviously I needed to stop here today. Thank you.

  17. 23

    Melissa says

    Please, please, please schedule your annual exams. I too have been guilty of cancelling and never rescheduling b/c as a mommy of 4 I am super busy. I did go last year becasue I hand’t been in about 3 years when we found out no more biological babies for us and everything was normal. This year all I can say is God put a burden on my heart to go. I thought there was an issue but it was completely normal….so I went this summer right on time and had an abnormal pap. Dr. said not to worry they have false abnormals all the time. Went to biopsy and it showed one level below cancer in two different types of cells! So within 2 weeks I had a total hysterectomy and they found a polyp in my uterus as well. I had developed 3 different types of precancer and I am not 40 yet! Just think of it this way…one dr appointment a year or cancer treatments or worse later on: What would burden your family more???…Now I am not good about scheduling “free” me time but dr. appointments will never be put to the side again.

  18. 24

    Lisa says

    Oh my exact thoughts lately. I’ve out off dealing with some female issues and I finally listened to the Lord. Abnormal uterine growth, thankfully not cancerous. After an unsuccessful procedure to remove it, I’m headed in for a hysterectomy in 3 weeks. Just turned 37 and consider myself blessed to have our 2 daughters. Trusting the Lord will provide the help we need for recovery becasue of course my thoughts were to post-pone it until it was better timing.

    I’m getting a hair cut! Enough with this mop.

    Sleep…try Hyland’s Calm’s Forte. It’s helped me.

    Love you!

  19. 25

    AmberK says

    You can tell God is using you, Kristen. He’s probably using me too and I don’t see out of it what you do so He is banging his head against a wall. :) He knows me, so He’s not surprised but I do have the potential to even exhaust Him, I think. ha ha He loves me anyway, right? ;)
    Thank you for this today. I realized this morning I’m a hover mom. YIKES! And I don’t do nearly enough to relax and so feeling VERY tense and hot tempered lately I’m getting the dose of “It’s time to re-evaluate your strategy”. Better late than never…I guess this is what happens when you become a mom at 20…I’m now 32 and I’m still tight as a knot. Time to chill…I’ve got good kids and a good hubby and the most magnificent savior looking out for us…Time for a mommy shopping day. :)
    Cute tattoo, by the way. I just love it!

  20. 26

    Jenn says

    Today marks 1 month since I decided to start doing something that I absolutely love. The husband had off 2 Thursdays in a row and I told him he was taking care of our 4 and 5 year old for the evening and I was going to bingo (I LOVE bingo!!). It’s now my weekly escape. 3 1/2 hours of fun for $20….I get to relax and dab numbers and even win occasionally. The winnings are going to my bedroom fund. When I hit enough money to do a complete room make-over, I’m shipping my kids away and working on our bedroom. We have been working for 4 years now on our kitchen and when I go to bed at night, the un-finished room kind of haunts me. It’s not relaxing at all to retire to a messy, un-kept room and this Mom needs that room to be finished. I’m glad you enjoyed your pedicure and stayed away from the laptop. We all need that….true, it is hard as a mom to do that, but it IS needed. :)

  21. 27

    Linda says

    I’ve got a bad cold. The second one in a three week period. My chidren love to share :-) I took off work today because I can’t think through all the congestion and misery but I have been sitting here feeling guilty for not being there for everyone at work. Until I read this post and was reminded that sometimes we just need time for us. Even if it’s just a day to sit home and do nothing and try to feel better. So, no more guilt trip. Think I’ll make myself a cup of tea. Thanks for the reminder!

  22. 28

    Courtney says

    Oh my word, SO needed to read this today! Have had the flu for five straight days and have watched the kids, cleaned and cooked everyday! And between the insomnia and anxiety I’m not sure which is worse…but I’m getting a pedicure today too and I’m pumped! Thanks for your heart!

  23. 29

    Annette says

    Kristen as always thanks for being so real and genuine!!! God uses you in the lives of so many!!! Taking care of me is something I struggle with and am working on. I have started a book and am actually doing a moms bible study on it that has been such an encouragement on mothering!!! I would love to send you a couple!! You blessed me so much with your book at a time in my life that was overwhelming. Please let me know how i can send you a copy.
    Blessings.

    • 29.1

      Annette says

      i meant to tell you the name of the book- The Promise of a Mother’s Prayers
      I would love to bless you with it!

  24. 30

    Mary Lee Kersten-Day says

    Well in that I’m currently 6 months late for my annual I certainly need to read this. Thanks!

  25. 33

    Lorie says

    I needed to,read this too. I am also down to my last contacts, have not been to the dentist for years and my hair looks horrible! Thank you for letting us know that we need to look out for number one!!

  26. 34

    Melanie says

    That’s a great idea. Now if all the stars were aligned, and I didn’t have to worry about bills and I had a nanny I could probably take care of me instead of just dreaming about while the very idea only adds to my depression and anxiety. I’m not trying to be a jerk, but for some people it’s just not that easy. For some people life is just hard, and to hear someone say “just go get a pedicure” or “have some quiet time” just makes the “easy” seem all that more unattainable. The reality is that unless someone is there to temporarily fill in for you, or you have extra money in your budget on a regular basis, taking care of yourself is as easy as squeezing blood from a stone.

  27. 35

    livinginblurredlines says

    I’m not only sacrificing for my kids, but for hubby, too. He changed careers and he has to work away from home until his training is done. It’s been 3 years, 2 pregnancies and babies, financial ruin, severe illness, bed rest, major repairs, storm damage, lonliness, fear, strange drunk men knocking on my door…all on my lonely shoulders. When he does come home, he’s exhausted and sleeps it watches TV, but can pretty much come and go as he pleases. Having several children and crappy finances leaves it very hard to find a sitter and afford a treat. Many days “me time” consists of me curling up in the bathtub, crying my eyes out while the shower is on. On top of that, me time usually means more work afterwards….a bigger mess to clean up, hyper children, missed bedtime, etc.

    I am exhausted, lonely, stretched thin, financially strapped, overwhelmed and downright depressed. I wish someone would sweep in, take in children and animals and send me away to hubby and a hotel for peace…..and sex….I need sex.

    I do so much for so many and yet to ask for a little in return is like pulling teeth! It gets so bad that I think about just disappearing but the mess would just be worse upon return. Won’t someone please take care of me?!

  28. 36

    says

    Your post is making me remember a million things! I need to go to the OB and the dentist. I need to schedule my son’s dermatology appointment and their dentist appointments. Ahhhh!!! I need a pedicure…

  29. 37

    says

    We make people:) You got a big smile out of me:) And I’m getting my hair done on Sunday after church. I’m a blond possibly going brown. I hope to emphasize on very. light. brown. But it’s a new hair dresser seeing how we’ve just moved and all. So keeping my fingeres crossed. Cute blue skirt, btw.

    Jessie

  30. 38

    says

    As a busy mom who works outside the home, it is so hard to focus on myself. I am constantly striving to meet the needs of my family and those around me that I don’t have any energy left for me. This post really encouraged my heart today.

  31. 39

    littlebird says

    Not sure why, but this hit home hard today and made my heart ache and my eyes well up with salty tears. Perhaps because it is true, probably because it is true, it is without a doubt true. As good as it feels to hear that others are going through this awareness, I am so sad that others share this neglect of self that I have been not acknowledging for oh so long. As easy as it sounds to put those appointments on the calendar and treat every so often, it is much harder than that to change into a person that does that without a hard conscience. Weird, but true. Thanks for sharing this. Brings it front and center now that you have put those words down, and how clear it is to fix it.
    THank you!

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