Did you see this article, “Mommy Is A Person”, circulating on social media recently? After seeing a couple of friends post links, notated by words like, “AMEN!” in all caps, I decided to see what the fuss was about.
I can’t personally identify with all the examples the author cites as part of her “personhood”…it’s just not feasible for my husband and me to have a date night once a week, or to get 8 hours of sleep every night…but it did serve as a good reminder of something I try to model for my girls.
Until my girls were about 18 months old, I attended to their every single need. My schedule was completely dictated by their schedule. I rationalized that they slept so much in a 24-hour period that I needed to be concentrated fully on them when they were awake.
They had my undivided attention, or – if not – the undivided attention of my husband. I remember how odd it felt one Saturday when my husband was sick. On week days I cooked supper ahead of time, while the girls were sleeping, but I was in a quandary when Hubby couldn’t play with the girls that particular afternoon and I had a meal to make. It was such a strange feeling to have my girls playing – by themselves – for a full hour while I made dinner.
Once the girls dropped down to one nap a day, I decided I could (and should) start to peel myself away from them a bit. I wrote a blog post entitled, “There’s No Such Thing as the Kitchen Fairy”. That was my move to making breakfast after the girls got up…rather than having it waiting on them, as I had always done.
Over the next few months, I continued to establish time for the girls to spend apart from me during the day. In addition to meal prep, I eventually instituted “coffee time” for Mommy. For 45 minutes or so during the morning, Mommy sits down with her coffee (and usually her computer), while the girls play.
It took a little getting used to, but I now see it as a really good thing.
Mommy is always Mommy, but she is a person, too. Mommy loves more than anything to spend time with her babies, but there are other things she likes to do, as well.
Mommy likes to drink her coffee and edit pictures and journal (and blog!).
Sometimes while Daddy hangs out with the girls, Mommy likes to read a book, or go for a walk by herself.
Once a month, Mommy likes to get her toenails painted.
Mommy occasionally likes to meet one of her friends for coffee on a Saturday afternoon.
Mommy belongs to a Mothers of Multiples group. She has a monthly meeting during which she learns new things and connects with other moms.
Recently I’ve instituted the policy that we don’t begin eating until everyone is seated at the table. I’d gotten into the habit of serving the girls first, and sometimes they (and occasionally Hubby) would be half finished with their meals by the time I made it to the table. Mommy is a person, and she enjoys eating a hot meal, in relative peace, just like everyone else.
Although it was at first hard to work up to, having established this “space” is a real positive. In particular, the time away is a way to reenergize…to refresh…and to have a chance to miss my babies for a little while.
It’s also an opportunity to model for my girls that being well-rounded, that taking care of ourselves, is a very valuable part of life.
How do you take care of yourself? How do you show your kids that “Mommy is a person, too”?
MandyE is mom to 4 ½-year old fraternal twin girls. She blogs about their adventures, and her journey through motherhood, at Twin Trials and Triumphs.