When I became a mom, my entire life changed. Not just the one time in bringing a baby home, but lots of times. Essentially, having a baby was the universal equivalent to inviting endless, fast-paced change into my life. I've always been a big fan of change, but becoming a mother was the ultimate challenge to that fact. You adapt—constantly—because you have to. Life is such a whirlwind and things can change two or three or seven times before you have a chance to notice that you're several paces ahead of where you last remembered that you're a human person with needs and desires of your own.
I didn't expect to be reminding myself, in an effort to find comfort, that this time, like all others, is a phase that will pass. Change will come, like it always does, again and again and again. Before I know it, I'll be sending all my babies to school every day and actually have built-in "me time." And, if I can believe it, I'll actually be able to get things done! Even household chores become enjoyable when you can perform them uninterrupted. UNINTERRUPTED! Am I even saying that word right? I can hardly remember what it means these days.
It's a vicious cycle right now. I try to be more deliberate with my time; control my days. I have my own needs to meet in addition to my daughter's needs, yet I always let myself get put on the back burner. In some ways, I'm learning that I'm my own child too and that I have to take care of myself too. It seems a little stupid when I say it like that. But I'm a mom; not some alien creature or robot that can constantly give and never fill up the tanks. Instead, I'm a woman who likens myself to my own child to get me to understand that I'm not a bad mom for maintaining whatever sanity I have left.
So, I calculate how much coffee a pregnant person can have, then I drink too much. I promise myself that I'll get up before my daughter tomorrow so I won't have to reheat it, knowing that means I'll be waking up to an alarm. I pick the M&Ms out of the trail mix and play The Sims while my daughter naps. Sometimes, my priority list has to include me, and that doesn't make me selfish or lazy. Trust me, the dishes will always need to be done and my toddler learning to find entertainment from things that aren't me will not hurt her.
I could tell all other moms this with so much confidence. OF COURSE you need time for yourself! You aren't a magician! Every mother in the history of time has felt this way! Yet here I am, hearing it like I'm the first mom to ever need to relocate my sense of self. I have to do what makes me happy and YES, that includes things that have nothing to do with what my children need or want.
Change is hard, but sometimes it isn't. Sometimes, it's waiting for change that can really drive you crazy. Yeah, yeah, yeah, someday I'll look back and miss these days. I know. Every young mom has heard it all. I just hope that I won't be one of the ones giving that advice to future moms like me who need something real to work with; something that allows me to live outside of the confines of nap time. For now, I'll remember that change always happens and it's totally normal to look forward to it every now and then.