I’m writing this to you from the locked bathroom. Someday, you’ll understand.
I just need a minute.
Ya, ten would be good.
I just needed some quiet time, so I removed myself from the family room and came in here for a bit.
See, I’m not in here because I hate my family – I’m sitting in here because too much togetherness makes my skin crawl.
It’s not you, it’s me. It’s my introvertedness. I love you – mostly. It’s just that being around people all day long – even the people I love the most – saps my energy.
I need energy to listen to you, to look at you, to hang on every word of your 2,000-word story about how your friend got in trouble during gym glass.
I need space to be alone, space to breathe – just for a little while, maybe a few minutes a day. Sometimes, I’ll need a whole day if I was all up in being social the day before.
I promise you if you leave me in here for a little while alone – without knocking on the door, asking for a snack or telling me about what your sister is doing to make you angry…if you give me a little peace, I’ll come out a better person – I promise.
This whole thing would go down years ago and I’d feel guilty. Especially when I’d hear moms telling me they want to be with their kids all the time. Who are these moms? Are they even real?
I don’t feel guilty about this anymore. I’m also trying to be very clear with you when I need a break. Rest time isn’t just for you kids, it’s for me! Sometimes, “powering through” does more harm than good. Like a superhero with superpowers, I need to replenish my go-go-gadget mommy juice (wine) to do all the amazing and superheroey things I do every day.
Actually, I need to thank you. If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t have learned this important lesson about myself. Again, you guys are teaching me much more than I’m teaching you.
In communicating my needs clearly with you, I hope to foster understanding some mutual understanding. I hope it teaches you to trust yourself. To take what you need, when you have nothing left to give, so you can keep on giving.
Most of all – I want you to know that asking for what you want is more than okay.
If I put on my oxygen mask first, I help you with yours.
Here are some ways you might see mommy looking after herself first:
- In the bathroom, like right now
- Rest time. I know, none of your friend’s nap—I don’t care. Everyone spends an hour alone in their room. I don’t care if you sleep, read, write, practice your ninja moves, or wipe boogers on your pillow (you gotta put your face there after all).
- Going to Target alone. Byeeeee!!!
- Sending you off on a treasure hunt.
- Giving you a list of chores – I’ll pay you, I promise!
- Picking you up just a smidge later than I promised.
- Waking up before you. I set an alarm, you don’t. You hear my eyelids open and come running. This is my time. If you give me an hour before you get up, you can have bacon and eggs for breakfast.
PS - you might also like Dear kids, this is what mommy really wants for Mother’s Day, 6 ways to have waaaaay more fun while getting out the door in the morning, and 10 things to say to your kid after sports.