I LOVE FALL.
To my summer loving friends who are still in denial that it is September, I am sorry for my outward expressions of love for this new season… I, too, love summer and the beach but this year, I was desperate for a change.
It was a weird summer. A summer that had good moments and bad moments, happy and sad… a summer full of heightened anxiety and newfound insomnia, that is somehow slowly fading away now with cooler weather and grayer skies. I love the fresh start that an autumnal breeze brings with it. Always have… just the way I love the first snowfall of the year, new buds on the trees in Spring, and the promise of lazy beach days and long summer nights. The anticipation of a literal change in scenery is something I yearn for more than ever as a mother.
The other day, I found myself saying, “Well, obviously, I can’t do that because good mothers put themselves last!” Wow. I shocked myself as those words came hurtling out of my mouth in an angry rage. I didn’t actually mean it – no, not me, the self-proclaimed feminist and equal-rights opportunist. I would never, ever assume that a mother should stop wanting more out of her own life or stop chasing her dreams, especially not if she was supporting a husband chasing his. What the hell had come over me? Sure, as mothers we are selfless and we put our kids first. But it doesn’t mean we have become the sacrificial lamb. And we can be good mothers while still wanting to be defined as MORE than mothers. To have our own identity and gifts besides those that are assumed to be innate in all of us based on gender. But maybe the words came spiraling out in an attack because I had lost touch with reality for a minute. Maybe I had started to convince myself that a “good” mother wouldn’t want or need more. A mother’s mind is a tricky battlefield, I tell you.
So, in an effort to get my head back in the game and in celebration of this new burst of energy I am feeling, I am turning this month’s challenge back to YOU. Yes, you, Mama. The one who does for everyone else all day long and gives, gives, gives til it hurts. This month, I challenge you to make space for something that you want and need. It can be as simple as scheduling a dental appointment that you’ve put off for far too long (guilty!) or as indulgent as a spa day, complete with a cucumber eye mask. Whatever it is, I want you to carve out a place for it with NO guilt attached. The house will still stand, the children will survive, everyone will be OK. Because maybe anxiety and insomnia and a churning stomach are signs that perhaps it’s time to ask for help… or admit that you need a little space to breathe for just a few minutes.
What did I do for myself, you ask? I scheduled a dental appointment. I took my son’s nap time to work on this blog instead of doing another load of laundry. And I made cookies and ate 6 of them (they’re small). No guilt attached (although I should probably eat a vegetable now to balance everything out). XO!