Yeah, you heard correctly, and I’m tired of others making me feel bad for thinking that way.
I’m a happy mother of five young children. I count my many blessings every day for this wonderful life my Heavenly Father has given me. Many of my close family members and friends have one or two kids, and a few have way more than five. Some of these parents even homeschool their children. I admire them, just as I admire two working parents. It’s not an easy job being a parent, plain and simple! It takes sacrifice, dedication, and a whole lot of sleepless nights. Some days are happy, peachy-keen, full of rainbows, unicorns and gumdrops galore, others – well not so much. You take what you can get, one step at a time.
My husband and I had our 5th baby at the end of April, about 3 weeks before school let out. This sounded like a good plan – I could sleep in, I didn’t have to wait by the window at 3:45 pm to make sure the kids got off the bus every school day…I could just relax and let them have fun out in our back yard while I stayed inside, feeding and relaxing with the baby.
But that. Did. Not. Happen.
I was up in the middle of the night every couple hours with our little one. I was up between 6:30-7 almost every morning with the other kids, making sure they ate breakfast, read scriptures, and did their chores before their ‘playtime’ started. I was doing my own set of chores and e-mailing potential clients for my company while our baby was sleeping. As a coupon/mommy blogger, I had to stay on top of finding and sharing deals as well. I fed the baby every couple hours, played with her and rocked her back to sleep, while the other kids were getting on each others nerves (“Mommy, Mommy!! He’s copying everything I say!!”) As hectic as half the days go, I’m always trying to find ways to spend time with my other kiddos as well, by playing board games, coloring/drawing, taking goofy pictures, and watching movies with them. When dinner time approaches, my wonderful, hard-working husband (who owns his own business as well) comes home, and tries to spend time with all of us, before being pulled away with a phone call or a broken website that needs to be fixed pronto! I make sure the kids finish their dinner before returning back to their ‘playtime’ before the dreaded bedtime comes along….
….okay, well bedtime in our house isn’t really all that bad…most days.
These busy days don’t count all of the doctor/dentist appointments, playdates, and other events we attend. Having five kids is hard. I would be lying to you, and myself if I said it wasn’t. Some people can make having lots of kids look simple, and fun. And others would say “oh yeah, I could totally do that! It’s a cake walk!” I look at them and say “that’s not accurate.” But seriously, it’s not. School is now a couple weeks away, and I’m excited. And my kids are excited. We can high-five each other now! I won’t have an empty nest though. I’ll have my two year old, and my 3 month old with me while the other three are in school.
I’m happy the kids are going back to school, and I’ll tell you why. As a mother, it’s important that I’m able to regain myself often, so that I can be a better mother and wife. Because us mothers give so much, and hardly get much in return. The other day, my husband texted me this message, “I just get worried about you when you have to give so much and work so hard to take care of everyone else, ” also including in his message about him watching the kids for me when he got home so that I could shower. We appreciate showers, don’t we ladies? Especially without an audience!
But how can we be a better parent and spouse by taking time out for ourselves? Some people would call that selfishness. But it’s not. My husband plainly told me to imagine our family on a plane, and suddenly the plane is in emergency mode. The oxygen masks drop. Us parents want to automatically go into our “mommy-modes” and want to put the masks on our family’s first – when what we should be doing is putting a mask on first (taking care of ourselves), THEN helping put the masks on our children. If we don’t, we pass out, and we’re no good, right? Then who helps the children? Our jobs as mothers are SO important, but it’s also essential to take care of ourselves, so that our stress levels are lower, our minds- more focused, and our attitude- more positive, so that we can BE better mothers and wives.
So all of you mothers out there- if and when you can, take time out for just you. Because you matter too!