Your brain cells are in total shock yet also slightly intrigued. Do you dare read on? Why yes, Mama Bear, you sure as hell need to.
Tell the Men in your life to look no further because I have the perfect gift in mind for Mothers Day. Skip the spa gift card because I already have one stuck to a melted fruit snack in the armpit of my wallet that you gave me back in 2015. Also, those flowers that are going to die in two weeks are absolutely gorgeous, but are yet, another thing I have to take care of before the wilting begins and they slowly shrivel to their imminent death at the bottom of a trash can. Nail, salon, hair and beauty appointment gift certificates are great, but let’s face it… that will get done multiple times a year no matter which Holiday or bank account it comes from. And the jewelry, well that is a whole different story ; )
Your Mother’s Day cards say that you don’t know how we do it all and how much you admire our beauty inside and out. You look at us and see a constantly moving train that doesn’t stop until it is forced to take a quick cat nap on the tracks. You see this beauty in us that seems effortless like a duck gliding through water. But what you don’t see is how fast our feet are paddling underneath just to stay afloat. If Mother’s Day is a Day to celebrate the great Moms that we are, then the best gift you could ever give us would be the gift to experience what you all see and enjoy in us.
We need a day to break out of survival mode. You know the ones when you shoot up out of bed 5 minutes after you just fell asleep because:
“Mother crapper! I forgot to get the cake for the party at daycare tomorrow”
“I never got meat out of the freezer and we can’t have pizza for dinner three nights in a row!”
“We need a (insert Holiday or occasion here) gift for (insert EVERYONE on both sides of the family because this has somehow become MY task for the eternity of life).”
Take the kids for an entire day, then hook us up at a NICE Hotel 20 minutes to an hour down the road. Don’t get mad at us when you get the bill for an exuberant amount of room service. Let us put on our old sweatpants with the blown out elastic waist band that accentuates that sexy-as-hell hole in the crotch. Let us wear the sports bra that you hate with the torn out seam at the bottom that leaves little straggles of thread hanging off our under-boob (the one that makes it look like we’re trying to smuggle a troll with a bad attitude across the border). Let us go somewhere where we don’t have to put on make up, do our hair, or shave EVERY SINGLE PART OF OUR BODY. Take us to a place where we don’t have to wear body-shapers to hide our cellulite in that skin-tight dress. We don’t want to shimmy in and out of our Spanx because our #mombladder is giving out and we have to pee in a stall the size of a Barbie bathtub while we grunt like He-Man doing the cupid shuffle. No my dear, the best gift you could ever give us is the gift of time spent alone with the person we need to catch up with the most, OUR SELF.
When a good day in Motherhood means your one-year-old pooped in your hand and not on the changing pad cover (more laundry); a day away at a random hotel sounds like a magical ride on a doe-eyed unicorn sporting a sparkly fanny pack filled with unlimited peanut butter treats.
This sounds like the best plan ever laid out on paper. But when we start to actually think about it, our Motherly instincts kick in and we start to feel the big, bad flying monkey of mom-guilt drop on our shoulders and kick us off our magical ride as our unicorn buddy glides off into the sunset leaving us feeling sinful, wicked, and peanut butter-less.
But why is that? Why do we feel bad or selfish for wanting to spend some time alone? This doesn’t mean we don’t love our kids, our spouse, or our families. This doesn’t mean we aren’t grateful for those sweet little voices that call us “Mama.” This doesn’t mean we aren’t grateful for our Moms who went through hell and high water to make us into the strong and independent women we are today. No, this is the opposite of selfish. It is SELF CARE. Do you think our Men feel guilty as they make the turn on the golf course while they leave their women and children behind on Father’s Day? HELL NO! So why do we, as Moms, take on the responsibility of the family as OURS and OURS alone?
Here’s a great example. My Girlfriends and I wanted to start a golf league this year after work on Mondays. I was so excited when they asked me to join, but then the jazz started to fade when “MY” responsibility of picking up the boys crept into my brain and I told them I didn’t think I could swing it. Another one of my friends said she had the same issue. Then one of my most mentally intelligent friends piped up and said, “Why do we feel like we always have to take the weight of these responsibilities? Our husbands have a golf league day and they don’t think twice about leaving us with the enigma of figuring out daycare pick up, dinner, bath and nightly routines after work. Now it’s their time to figure it out. We’re doing this!” It struck me like curling iron burn to the shoulder. Why are we ALWAYS the ones to take on these obligations? Whether we think this is our place as a woman because that was what our mother did, whether we think it will be too much a burden on our husbands, or whether we take on the role of caretaker rather than provider, it is OUR JOB TO FILL OUR OWN CUP AND CREATE OUR OWN HAPPINESS. Sister, go live your dream and lay in a bed you don’t have to make. Eat a ridiculous amount of french fries and chocolate raspberry cheesecake, binge watch the Harry Potter Series AGAIN, lay in your most comfortable I.D.G.A.F. attire, and get in that bubbly hot tub of bliss and get to know yourself on the most intimate level.
Oddly enough, by the end of the day, we will start to miss the chaos and want it all back. Not only will this give us some time to miss our family, but it helps us re-charge and energize back into the energizer bunny everyone thinks we are. I guarantee you that by the time we come back, we will feel like we can take on the world with two kids attached to our hips and a flying mythical creature between our legs. We will ride in like the BADASS MOTHERS we know we are and stab those damn flying monkeys to death.
We are constantly playing the role of good little housewife because it is guilted and branded into us that we aren’t good moms if we don’t put EVERYTHING into our family while we leave ourselves running on empty. We need to take on a new role of taking time for self care. Maybe your version isn’t time away at a hotel. Maybe your version is flying out for a weekend away to go to a Motivational Conference. Maybe you have had a dream to drive out to the cottage up north by yourself and unplug from technology while you journal and figure yourself out. Maybe all you want is 5 solid hours alone at a library to plop down in a bean bag chair and start writing that book you’ve always wanted to start. Whatever YOUR VERSION of self care is, don’t be afraid to spend some time with YOURSELF and get back in touch with your wants and needs. I know, there will always be a million excuses as to why we can’t do it or shouldn’t do it. But sometimes we put the needs of others before our own because that crutch is the only valid reason we have as to why we aren’t going after the things we want in life. We have to show our families that by taking time for ourselves, it will lead to a better, stronger, smarter, and more capable version of the empowered women we know we are. Because when our cup is full, we are in a prime position to lift up the hearts of others.
From the beautiful words of Rachel Hollis in Tom Bilyeu’s interview on Impact Theory, “You have a desire or a dream on your heart but you don’t want to inconvenience anyone else. I am a person and what I want and need in life matter just as much as what they want and need in life. You don’t know who you are anymore because you live your life for everyone else. You were someone before you became their Mother and Wife. And she still matters.”
Happy Mother’s Day to all of you beautiful, courageous, BADASS MAMAS who want more for yourselves because you know it will lead to a better life for you and your families.
Written with love, hope and sparkly unicorn fanny packs, by Christi Brown