One of the most difficult parts of motherhood is the selflessness required to do the job. We shovel out our insides, handing out effort like flyers to a store-closing sale. Motherhood flyers come in all varieties, and usually look something like this:
“Free meltdown support and remediation.”
“Free hugs and consolation for unlimited boo-boos.”
“Mom’s free-time giveaway: Everything must go.”
Fine print: All offers expire never.
Sometimes we practice selflessness with a smile, sometimes with tears. In fact, even when considering the countless changed diapers and tantrums, giving up one’s self might be the most difficult task of motherhood. It has been for me, especially in those early days when my baby was extremely dependant.
We are the last to sit down at the dinner table, but the first to begin cleaning it up. We are the best at comforting family members after a hard day, but the worst at asking for support from them when we need it. We are the most-deserving of praise, but sadly, the least-appreciated demographic on the planet.
Because we are moms. We are made to give ourselves away.
Wrong. When babies become less dependent and more self-sufficient, it’s important that we don’t lose our purpose in life. We have to reclaim our merchandise. Slowly but surely, we must find the pieces of ourselves we once gave away.
As my daughter becomes less dependent, I’ve found myself looking for my pieces in familiar places. And over the past several months I’ve found my happy. Note: I’m not talking about the happy that revolves around everyone else. Yes, I thoroughly love introducing my daughter to new things and places. I also make an effort to enjoy my husband’s favorite pastimes alongside him (those that don’t involve wilderness at least).
I find happiness doing what makes them happy, of course. But Momma needs her happy too. Every now and then I need my own little slice of joy, which may or may not be drizzled in caramel and served alongside a hefty accompaniment of Sauvignon Blanc.
But all joking aside. What is my happy?
Writing is my jam, my me-time, my ‘you better have a good excuse to interrupt me’ time. And although it may seem lame, my happy place is in front of a computer screen, jotting down my feelings for fun.
It’s therapeutic, and cleansing, and makes me feel human, way down in my gut.
If I find time to write during the day, I’m doing not only myself, but my family, a huge service. Because when I am able to do something I love, even for a few minutes, I’m a better me.
As new mothers, it’s easy to forget what “me-time” looks like. And before long, the most mundane tasks seem like a treat (showertime, anyone?) because we do so little for ourselves. Maybe it’s because mothers teach the master class in self guilt. Maybe it’s a different issue, like feeling undeserving of doing the things you want to do for once.
But finding that happy place, where we can tune out the world and love ourselves, even if for a brief moment, may be one of the most important rituals of the day.
We all find our happy in different places. Yours may be in the garden, or the gym, or in a bathtub full of bubbles. It may be listening to your favorite Podcast while your kiddo takes an afternoon nap. It may be in a kickboxing studio, pretending you are Rhonda Rousey.
Wherever it is, find it. And find it as often as you can.
Moms have to be open for business 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. But we don’t have to sell our shelves dry to keep our businesses running. Many days, we will drink from an empty well. Many days we will be sold out of self-worth. But on the days we can stop for a moment and reach to find our happy, we will find the strength to keep our doors open and our souls smiling.