By: Dr. Liz Matheis, Ph.D
If you’re a mom, I’m going to take a leap and say that you’re pretty exhausted. Do you know why you’re exhausted? Because you’re taking care of everyone, everyday, all.the.time. If you ask me, the words mom and overworked are pretty synonymous. Sad, but true.
When was the last time that you put some time for yourself on your list of things to get done by the end of the day? What? You can’t remember because it’s been so long? Well, guess what–it’s time. It’s time to put Mommy back on the list of priorities.
I’m a mom of 3 wonderful and overwhelming children. Each day, I find myself feeling as overstimulated as my child with a sensory processing disorder. I’ve heard my name called only about 3,002.3 times. And each time, I threaten to change my name and not tell my kids my new name! Motherhood is a relentless job that does not come with a paycheck or any time built in for respite. And nobody is going to hand you an hour or two to tend to yourself – that is something we have to do for ourselves. Even though it may seem impossible right now, it’s important for you to let something go so that you can tend to yourself before you burn out.
#1: Once the Lights Are Out…..
You know the feeling – Ahhh, victory! The kids are in bed and the house is peaceful. You know, the way it was before kids. You are not allowed to create a list of things to do that is greater than the number of fingers on one hand. Give yourself a maximum of 5 more things to get done, and then read a book, soak in the tub, stare at a spot on the wall, or whatever makes you happy.
#2: Monthly Me Time
Once a month, schedule an evening where you are not putting the kids down to bed. Ma’am, walk away from the bedtime routine, take your keys and leave your house. Do this with a fellow mommy in need or go by yourself, but most importantly, get out. Whether you are having dinner with a friend, going to see a movie, or just walk around the mall in peace because you can, do it.
#3: A Job for Everyone and Everyone with a Job
Our children are perfectly capable people. They are resourceful and good problem solvers when they want something badly enough. Give each one of your children a job to do once homework is done and after dinner. Those busy hands can be helping you to get through all of the ‘things’ that need to get done before bedtime. Enlist the help of your favorite little people and free yourself up a bit.
As moms, we are pros at taking care of everyone else around us – our children’s teachers, therapists, paraprofessionals, bus drivers, etc. We are not good at asking ourselves the question of “what do I need right now?” With that comes burnout, and when we are burned out, nobody wins, especially our children. So, if you can’t find the motivation for your self care, then do it because it will make you more available to your children when you are cared for. Now, start looking at your calendar and mark down what you will do for yourself and when!
Image by: Shield Healthcare
Dr. Liz Matheis
Dr Liz Matheis and her team specialize in assisting children and their families with Anxiety, Autism, AD/HD, Learning Disabilities and Behavioral Struggles