Hey, we get it…it’s not easy. This shit is no joke. Among the perfectly curated Instagram feeds of fashionable Moms showing their highlight reels, the reality is deep, hard moments mixed in with those highlights. These are the moments when you just need a quiet time all to yourself, so you can head to your room, sit on your bed with head in hands, breathe one huge sigh, and are seriously not surprised when you are interrupted not 5 minutes later. I’m not saying you don’t love your kids, of COURSE you do. But you’re also a human being and all the that go go go, no sleep, cleaning up vomit 6 times in one night, it can take a toll on a person–I don’t care how strong you are. So how do you combat that guilty, nagging feeling when you feel the weight of it all and just want a break?
It doesn’t mean you don’t love your kid.
Just because you’re struggling, it does not mean you love your child any less. It’s not a competition and you’re not trickling down the leaderboard.
Reality check: there’s a lot that comes with pregnancy, changing bodies, hormones, and…um…that little thing when you have to push a not-so-little thing out of your you-know-what?! It’s okay not to be okay. Postpartum depression is real. Anxiety is real. All of these struggles are real and it doesn’t make you weak or a bad mom for having them. Be gentle with yourself. It might take some time for you to feel like you again. ( And you know what, the You you’re looking for may have changed, and that’s ok too!)
Accept and remind yourself: you are human.
You’re basically under a constant stress test, and you’re allowed to want a break from that. When you have another human being relying on you for survival, comfort, growth–that’s a lot of pressure. And to top it off, we don’t want to “screw” our kids up, so there’s the constant worry that you’re going to do some type of permanent damage that one time you raised your voice and it’s going to come back up in some therapy appointment down the road when your kid is an adult. It’s more than understandable that this pressure will get to you after a while. You’re doing a good job. Aside from that, we all face those feelings of inadequacy when measured against what we feel are the expectations of others – your Mom, your Mother in Law, those disapproving ladies who are going to go all judge-y when your Little loses it in Target. But, guess what?! There’s no such thing as a “perfect parent.”
It’s okay to ask for help.
Whether you’re doing this thing solo or you have an amazing partner…it’s okay to ask for help. If that means therapy, medication, getting a babysitter more often, finding a group of other Moms to vent to…it’s perfectly okay to want some help. Motherhood is a journey millions go through and you’re not alone in struggling with it.
Know you will need a break.
You’re going to have to take “you” time. If that looks like running a bath, having Mom babysit so you can go to Yoga (lucky you for having a built in caregiver nearby!), binge watching Friends for the 4th time while your Little sleeps and the laundry piles up, or bringing your newborn to CrossFit and peeking at them while you workout–again, you are a human being. You have your own needs, your own way to de-stress, and just because you have a new child doesn’t mean that goes away. There’s a woman at my gym who I admire the heck out of. She comes to workout, baby in hand, breastfeeding while doing modified step-ups, so that she’s not missing out on her time and her community because she now has a kid. And to each her own, if that’s not your thing. Find what is and make it a priority without allowing guilt to drive you away from your own needs. Your child fits into your world, and not the other way around. If you start out with the theme that baby is your‘plus one’ rather than the other way around, it will be a lot easier to put up some reasonable boundaries when being asked for yet another ride to practice, or one more weekend sleepover at your house, or some more bounce time at Monkey Joe’s; all coming down the pike for you and your‘Not-So’ Littles sooner than you think!
The mental toll is a serious thing and not to be taken lightly. These are just a few small suggestions, but the most important thing to know and remember is: you are not alone. We’d love to hear your tips for combating the guilt of needing a break! Comment below. We love you mamas!!