My daughter eats at least two servings of fruit per day. Her dietary staples also include brown rice, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, lentils and red beans (neither of which come from a can). I make these things in big batches throughout the week and freeze them in easy-to-serve portion sizes.
Meanwhile, I eat whatever is easiest to throw together or pick up on the go. It’s not unusual for me to put her to bed at 8pm, organize her super-healthy meals for the next day and then pop some popcorn for myself for dinner. The only real meal I eat regularly is breakfast (a scrambled egg, toast and coffee… which I can usually finish before she starts scaling the furniture) and the only fruits I eat tend to be samples of whatever I’m cutting up for tomorrow’s snacks.
I’m well aware that this is neither healthy nor tenable, but, as so often happens in mommyhood, I find myself expending so much time and energy making sure she’s sorted that when it’s time for me to see about myself, it seems easier to make a glass of peanut punch. (It’s just three ingredients and when else am I going to use that blender, anyway?) I believe in the benefits and necessity of Me Time enough to devote a segment to it on my radio show, but when it comes time to make it happen on a daily basis… well… it honestly starts to seem like just another chore.
Part of the problem here is lack of support. As I handle the vast majority of childcare in our family, there isn’t much wiggle room for me put myself first without putting something for the Boss Lady on the back burner. Type A personality that I am, that just won’t do. So I make promises about finally giving myself a pedicure or even just enjoying a shower that lasts more than two minutes, and then postpone indefinitely when time (or energy) runs out.
The flip-side of this situation is that a mommy who never makes time for herself soon becomes an exhausted mommy and then an overwhelmed mommy and finally a deeply unhappy mommy. Thankfully, I’m not that far gone, but I’m far enough along to see the writing on the wall.
What I worry about most is the example I’m setting for my daughter. I grew up watching my mother work herself to half to death to take care of her children and, young as I was, I could see how unhappy she was at times. While I greatly appreciate what she did for us, that’s not the example I want to set for my little one. I’ve decided that the superwoman cycle has to end here, with manageable changes that allow me to put myself on the front burner once in a while.
Maybe I ought to book a pedicure appointment with one of those kid-friendly spas?
Do you live on the back burner too? How do you make time for yourself? Tell us in the comments!
Calisa is the exhausted mother of an energetic, (generally) good-natured and ridiculously sharp toddler whose sole mission in life is obviously to keep mommy on her toes. She spends much of her time reading board books, changing diapers and saying “Ah-ah-ah! Mommy said ‘NO’!” while counting down the hours to bedtime.