Now that I have children most everything I do revolves around them. I can't take a piss or even wipe my ass by myself. Shopping means I do it with two little creatures with me, some days I feel like I have a circus of monkeys with me. I even share my bed with one of them, he sleeps comfortably in the middle as I hang on for dear life on the edge. I am not complaining, I wouldn't have it any other way. I wished them, dreamed of them, and finally was blessed with them.
The one thing that I have neglected as a mother is myself. I have lost a piece of me in this new role as mom and forgotten who that other girl was years ago. Believe me, parts of her are better left in the past. Yet underneath all the laundry, diapers, and matchbox cars there is a woman who needs to take time for herself.
It is so easy to get lost in everyday routine and forget how important it is to do things for yourself. For me this is what running has become to me. It serves as my therapy, my church, and my personal time to reflect. It is my time to give back something to myself. I need to get out there and I make the time to do it. I don't go out much and most of the time I see my friends it is with small children in tow. We call them "Play dates" but really they should be called "Mommy arranged this so you could go play and mommy can have an adult conversation". Okay, so that is a little long. We could just refer to it as a "Mommy Date". I remember a girl who use to love being on a dance floor until the bars closed. I didn't have to worry about waking early to change diapers and do obscene amounts of laundry. That girl always made time for herself.
My children have made me a new woman. I keep learning new things about her along the way. This woman hates being away from her children. They come first and I don't even have to think twice about it. Being away from them makes my heart feel heavy; as though there is this gigantic empty space within me when they are not there.
I am getting better at being away from them. Two weeks ago my husband and I had date night. It felt freeing that I was able to go enjoy some quality time with him without worrying how the boys were and not rushing to eat my food and get down a couple of drinks before getting back to them. This weekend I also went out to dinner with three of my dear friends. Just four women sitting in a nice restaurant enjoying one another's company. Four mom's who love their children immensely yet also need one another.
I love being with my children yet I also need to have healthy and happy relationships with my husband and my close friends. This means taking the time to spend with these people without my children around. Most importantly, it is remembering that it is OK to take time away from them. Going for a run, going out on a date or spending time with my girlfriends is not selfish. Doing these things are essential to being a better mother.
I need to take care of myself and do things that make me happy. I need to honor the woman I am and allow myself to do things without my children. A part of me feels that there will be plenty of time when they are out of the house someday and right now I need to soak up as much of them as I can. This is true, they are only little once. This is where the guilt comes in when I am away. Then my mind takes me to crazy places. I am terrified of something happening to them if I am not there. Then there are times when I am without them I fear something will happen to me and I won't be able to be there for them. I can't imagine life without my children and I never want to leave them without a mother.
It's that fear that makes it difficult for me to walk out the door. That same fear that tugs at me saying I don't need to go out. I am working on overcoming that fear and living my life without it. I just can't help my mind going to these places. When I do I feel my heart tighten and it feels like someone is standing on my chest. The tears collect in my eyes as I try to blink the images away from my mind and breathe.
Fear will not win this battle. I will continue to do my best to be thankful for each and every moment I have with my children. I will enjoy their laughter and screeches of joy. I will make memories and share moments with them that we will talk about for years to come. I will also try harder to make more time for myself. It doesn't always have to be going out. It can be as simple as taking time to read a book or going for that run.
Making memories with our children and being happy means mommy needs to be happy too. We have to remember that in order to take care of these little creatures we have to first take care of ourselves. If we want happy, healthy children we have to live that. We are the most important examples they see. Our children learn so much by watching us. Our children become reflections of who we are.
I am working on it, but I vow to try to be better about taking more time for me. I want to be the best I can be for my children so I will be sure to take time to do some of the things that make me happy, without the fear or guilt. I will go for my runs and lose myself in the steps I take. I will make sure my husband and I take the time for one another because one day it will be back to him and I. I will make more dates with my girlfriends so we can laugh about this chaotic ride called motherhood. I deserve it!