I had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend. It contained a lovely balance of family-time, me-time and adult-time. When I woke up on Tuesday morning I felt refreshed and renewed. My vessel was full and, surprise, surprise, I enjoyed being a mom. I spent the next couple of days ogling over my children, marveling at how quickly they’re growing and feeling pride in their intelligence and good looks. I felt uninspired to write here because I just felt so damn satisfied.
I should have known it wouldn’t last.
What this week has shown me is that I am only a good mom when I’m at the top of my game. God forbid, however, I am tired from lack of sleep, or suffering from a Zyrtec hangover, or have PMS, or am stressed beyond repair, or just feeling like plain old shit. God help the rest of you if there’s any combination of the aforementioned ailments. That’s what happened the other day.
My allergies have been hell so I took a Zyrtec the night before. Have you ever tried this medicine? It’s absolutely wonderful for ridding your body of allergy symptoms but for me the hangover was worse than drinking a fifth of tequila. I even took the pill before bed, assuming any side effects would be long gone after a good night’s sleep. The problem is that I didn’t have a good night’s sleep, and hadn’t had one in a few nights (thanks to the pesky allergies and being periodically kicked throughout the night by a restless two year old). So I woke up in the morning feeling like I’d been hit by a truck. On a positive note, I wasn’t sneezing. Being so exhausted changed me as a parent. I started off cranky, praying that coffee would help, but after three cups I was now cranky and jittery. I had absolutely no tolerance for my children. Their fights became insufferable; their demands for food and drink felt like bondage. I kept telling them to go off to college already. The worse I felt, the more their behavior deteriorated. I couldn’t do it. I didn’t want to do it, but what choice did I have?
If I had a real job, you know, one that paid and required you to get out of your pajamas, I could call in sick when I felt bad. I might even treat myself to an occasional “mental health day.” On grouchy days I could check out; ignore my co-workers and pretend to be entrenched in work. I could skip lunch and go for a long walk or do something for myself. When you’re a stay-at-home Mom, however, there are no sick days. There are no coffee breaks, no checking out. You have to be ON all day, every day. It’s like I’m acting in a Broadway production of my very lame life, over and over and over again, and the reviews are not rave.
I don’t say this to complain. As a matter of fact it’s highlighting for me the importance that I need to come first, as difficult as that sounds. I started this journey a couple of months ago as I really want to enjoy my time with my kids when they’re young, and truth be told, I wasn’t enjoying it. I’m realizing that for me, this is only possible when I have true balance in my life. That means taking care of myself, getting sitters, reaching out to friends, taking real breaks, getting out of “kid-world” and spending time with grown-ups. When I was down and out, I should have called my in-laws and dropped them off for a couple of hours so I could take a nap. I should have begged a friend to help me out. I should have done something to address the fact that I felt like a zombie but once again I sucked it up, thinking I was being some sort of martyr. Who suffered? My kids. Instead of the fun, kind mom they’d gotten used to over the past few days, they were faced with monster mommy, whose face is scary and demeanor is positively frightening.
I hereby renew my pledge to put myself first, at least some of the time, as I begin to truly understand why this is so important. I will continue to strive for balance in my life, everyday if possible. I will not be afraid to ask for help, even though sometimes it’s the hardest thing in the world to do. I will not be a martyr. My kids might not like it at first, but when monster mommy has been permanently banished, I’m quite certain they’ll thank me.
© 2012 KIM KINZIE. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. REPUBLICATION OR REDISTRIBUTION OF CONTENT, TEXT OR IMAGE, IN PART OR IN WHOLE IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED WITHOUT PRIOR WRITTEN CONSENT FROM THE AUTHOR.Tags: motherhood, parenting, self-care, side-effects, tired, zyrtec