I am that mom who works full time. I take call with my job. Sometimes I miss sporting events, school parties and forget picture day. My youngest goes to daycare, my oldest have to stay at an after school program until I get off work. When school is out, I have to get a babysitter or wake them up early and take them to someone. I say I’d rather stay home and just be a mom, but truth is I’d never survive it. It’s not my nature. Bring on the mom shaming!
I was raised to be independent, to stand on my own two feet at all costs. My mom told me so many times it was okay to want a man, but never need him. She worked full time my whole life. I never knew anything different and I never judged her. She never missed a sporting event if she didn’t have to. She never told me I couldn’t participate in an extra curricular activity. She just made everything work, seamlessly in my eyes. She literally never stopped doing for others and never did for herself.
Like my mom, I have a hard time saying, “no” to my kids. I want them to experience everything, to find their niches in life. I coached a t-ball and softball team one year, just so my kids would play. My kids know that my job is both mentally and physically exhausting. They see it all over my face when I’ve had a bad day. I know I give them my all, and then some. Everything I do, is for them, until September.
Kentucky opens whitetail archery season in early September. Sorry kids, mom’s going hunting! You can bet that 3 weekends out of the month from September until January, my kids are with my husband and I am in a treestand waiting for whitetail. This year, I missed basketball games. I’d wake up at 3 a.m. and sneak out of the house. By 6 a.m., I was tucked in my treestand, hating myself for missing that basketball game. I’d beat myself up with thoughts like, ” I’m so selfish. I have to be away from them all through the week at work, and then miss her game to hunt.” “What if she does something awesome and I miss it?” “Will she hold this against me when she’s older?” Then I would remember my sweet Momma. She was always tired. She never took time for herself. She gave every ounce of her energy to someone else, all the time. She may have physically been at events, but mentally she was already contemplating who was next on her list to please. See, mom guilt is a real thing. I have it, I’ll admit it. But I won’t be consumed by it.
Taking time for myself makes me a better mom. From that treestand at 6 a.m., my soul is revived. All the exhaustion of life’s stresses is non-existent when the sun begins to rise over the ridge. As the ground squirrels rustle the leaves beneath me, my breathing is deep and refreshing to my body. Every noise is exhilarating, an awesome rush of adrenaline pulsates through my veins. As hours pass, I am calmed by the gentle swaying of the wind through my tree. Sometimes I nap (in a harness of course!). As the sun begins to set behind me, that magic hour passes, I gather my things and tread out of the mountains. When I get home, I am refreshed, renewed and revived with the days blessings.
It’s unfortunate that we live in a world where a mom has to feel guilty for taking time for herself. It is sad that people will read this and think I am selfish. I learned a lot from my mom, that she never knew she was teaching me. It is important to take time for yourself. When you are the best version of yourself, others see it, it radiates like the suns first beams over that ridge. Rather its hunting, fishing or shopping, take time for yourself momma. Enjoy what you love every now and then, it only makes you better!