All moms lose their shit once in a while.
If you know a mom who tells you she never loses her shit with her kids or any of the other ridonkulous aspects of her life, then there are three distinct possibilities.
a. She is telling us a big, fat lie.
b. She doesn’t have kids like our kids who are strong-willed, freakishly smart, courageous, and infuriating.
c. She has a lot more money than us and has recently been to a massage or yoga retreat sans kinder where she was hypnotized by a pebble for three days straight and learned how to not lose her shit.
You need to know that we are not bad moms because we occasionally threaten to throw the stuffed frog in the nearest trash can because your younger child has unbuckled herself in a fitful rage while you are driving your older child to school.
Sure, we feel bad about it later. But it doesn’t make us bad.
What makes us bad moms is when we forget how fucking hard this gig is, when we forget to care for ourselves, and when we start to put ourselves down out of exhaustion and exasperation.
Lack of self care breeds resentment and more stress, which then trickles down onto the little people we are charged with keeping alive, happy, and healthy.
Do you remember when we just had to take care of ourselves? Maybe we had a pet who needed to be walked or a fish that needed to be fed some flakes, but mostly it was just ourselves we had to worry about. Remember when we could stay in our beds all day if we were sick? Or when we could jump in our car and drive three hours away to see an exhibit at that amazing museum?
Life becomes exponentially harder the second you even start to contemplate having children. And all kinds of people love to cast judgement and aspersion on our parenting choices before our young are even conceived. What do you mean you weren’t taking prenatal vitamins six months before you started “trying?” Oh, you didn’t use the Fluegenveugen method of insemination? How could you have even thought about getting pregnant while you were in between jobs and still living in that tiny apartment?
In the last decade, Attachment Parenting has come into vogue. Let me be perfectly clear– I think Attachment Parenting is great and actually very important. Studies show that attachment between parent and newborn is one of the most important aspects of child rearing, brain development, and infant mental health.
But in some respects, we are so worried about attaching our children properly, we forget to nurture and respect our own needs.
And this is when and why we lose our shit.
Which is perfectly fine.
But it is a loud and clear message that we need to step back and show ourselves some compassion. Because we can’t practice unconditional lovingkindness for others until we have done so towards ourselves.
This can be something as small as having a glass of water to rehydrate our depleted cells, reenergizing with a square of chocolate and a handful of almonds, or slinking into the bathroom to play a few rounds of candy crush before we go back out to make dinner and drive to karate and dance. Take some deep breaths. Nuzzle your dog. Go outside and look at the clouds, or stars, or trees and get some perspective.
Losing our shit is also a great opportunity to show our kids how to take responsibility and apologize for doing something that had the potential to hurt the feelings of another. Because we are not modeling how to be perfect humans for our children; we are just teaching them how to be human.
When was the last time you lost your shit as a mom? How do you take care of yourself?