Being a mom is probably the single most life changing thing to have occurred to me in, um, like, for always.
I can’t think of another life event that changed my person so dramatically to this point. Perhaps that makes me fortunate, maybe it makes me boring, I can’t be certain. What I know for sure is that it makes me, me.
Part of me as a mother has been to sacrifice elements of myself that I cherished before kids. Things like afternoon naps, and going dancing with friends, and watching TV shows without a theme song sung by an animal of some sort have disappeared almost entirely from my day-to-day life.
As is expected when you plunge headfirst into life with kids.
But, those aren’t the only things I let go by the wayside.
I’ve skipped dental appointments, doctor appointments, hair appointments, and exercise. I’ve given up jobs, I’ve missed opportunities, and I’ve done things to make ends meet that I never imagined I’d do –that I swore I wouldn’t do (like work the night shift, guys, get your mind’s right, I wasn’t a stripper).
And, as consuming as it sounds, I regret nothing.
Being able to mother these Dudes the way that I have has also been fulfilling in ways I never fathomed. I’ve got a memory full of moments to call my own that will be mine to keep even when I am rocking in a corner and pushing away pureed peas in my nursing home one day.
Now that they’re older and less willing to have me all up in their everything, I am finding the time and motivation to rediscover certain elements of life that I lost touch with over the years.
I meet friends for lunch, I run a business that I created, I workout (arguably not as often as I’d like), I volunteer, I dance (mostly in my kitchen), and sometimes I even date my husband.
I do these things to fill the spaces vacated by my formerly needy children –the spaces that used to be filled with nursing babies, and rambunctious toddlers, and a schedule that needed adherence and reliability. While the holes they’ve left behind are expanding daily, they aren’t gaping or oozy like they used to be and I can foresee a day when they may be closed and healed.
As 2016 begins to bloom, I am hoping to fill some of the holes and I encourage you to join me.
10 Things Every Mom Should Do For Herself in 2016
Get a physical. Silent disease are, um, silent and junk. Plus, sometimes, you could be missing a symptom due to exhaustion and your inability to focus on things for more than 20 seconds at a time. Or maybe you just need a multivitamin. Regardless, go see your doc.
Forgive yourself. For whatever thing you’re holding over your own head. Your kids probably already have, your husband probably didn’t even know he needed to, and you are the only one letting it rule your world. Move on, so everyone doesn’t do it without you.
Spend time with your husband. Or someone you love that you didn’t give birth to or live inside of.
Catch up with your girlfriends. They are an important part of a full life. Don’t neglect them because when your kids are all ugh-Mom-stop-walking-by-me-like-we-know-each-other at the mall you will still have someone who thinks you’re cool enough to be seen in public with.
Read a good book. Or an whole magazine article. Or just binge watch something that isn’t animated or made by Disney (unless it’s the Little Mermaid, and then watch it alone and sing the heck outta Kiss the Girls with zero shame).
Stop cleaning up behind people. They will expect someone to do that for the rest of forever if you do. You don’t want whoever your kids decide to spend their grown up years with to have to deal with that nonsense.
Give yourself a break. And give your family one too. You should expect a lot of yourself, but you also have to make time for chill.
Go to bed earlier. Lack of sleep will make you cray. Like you need any other thing to make you cray.
Enjoy something you enjoy. Not something you enjoy because your kid enjoys it, something you enjoy in spite of your kids. For me, it’s gangsta rap. I get in my car, and I bump my Eminem and my Fetty Wap and my Drake, and I rap my a&$ off. You know, after I drop the kids off at school.
Write things down. Or take photos. Or start a blog and update it every day. Chronicle the moments you live right now in whatever way feels right for you. No one ever looked back from that corner chair in the nursing home and said, “Gosh, I wish I wouldn’t have taken these photos or captured these stories so I could remind myself of them or share them with others.”