The other day I texted my pregnant cousin. I sent her a picture of me with my kids, sitting on the couch watching TV and eating animal crackers at 3:15 PM. Harlyn’s hair still wasn’t done, and I hadn’t gotten around to brushing Maverick’s teeth or making Harlyn brush hers. While this isn’t totally typical (my kids generally look a bit less like wrecks), I wanted her to know. I wanted her to see that sometimes, even when we aren’t pregnant, moms deserve to sit around and let the kids watch TV, and not feel guilty for it.
See, my cousin is going to have her second baby, and pregnancy is not kind to her. She’s sick the whole time, and I know the last thing she wants to do is sit on the floor and play with toddler toys after working her insane hours at her demanding job. And guess what? She shouldn’t have to.
We ended up chatting a bit about motherhood, and how today’s moms are supposed to entertain their kids 24/7, only use educational toys, say no to TV and processed foods and…well, you know. And some moms are like total CHAMPS at this type of thing. I know, because I have Instragram. There are real moms that do all that. I don’t know how.
But I told my cousin to not feel bad, not for one minute. I told her all.the.things. Stuff like, my kids eat frozen foods or McDonald’s way, way more than anyone should. That we don’t force veggies. That during Maverick’s weekend naps, we make Harlyn go to her room to play for 30 minutes so we have a few moments where we don’t have to parent. That Disney Jr. is basically always on, and maybe my children’s minds ARE rotting, but if I have 10 minutes of solitude, then Disney is more than welcome here.
Anyway. If you find yourself relating to our conversation, or thinking that sometimes you don’t measure up, that everyone else mothers better than you, if you feel weary and worn out…
I see you, mama. I know that you worry that every second you spend without your kid(s), you are somehow hurting them. That if you want to spend 15 minutes lying on the couch because your head hurts, you are a terrible mom. You work? You worry they’ll grow up wondering where you are. You stay home? You worry they’re going to be too attached to you, that you aren’t as good as the other SAHMs at keeping the house in order and the kids happy. But guess what? Kids are amazing. YOUR kids are amazing. They are capable of entertaining themselves while you get rid of the headache, while you’re pregnant and just need to rest. Even if your kids are still too young for them to entertain themselves with Barbies or trucks, they still don’t need you every single second (although it can totally feel like it!).
You are doing a great job. Even when you’re tired or irritated. Even if you let your kids use your phone to watch YouTube. If you yelled today, or skipped laundry, you are STILL doing a great job.
If you need a break, take one. For some, that might mean a date night with no kids. If you’re like me though, that is probably not in the cards for you at this time. So find smaller ways to get breaks. At nap time, instead of doing housework, flip through a magazine or watch some HGTV every once in a while. At night, spend time doing something you love, like reading or writing or playing a board game with your husband. Even ten minutes can make a difference!
Ask for help when you need it.
But most of all, remember that you are amazing. Your kids love you to absolute pieces. God chose YOU to be their mom. When you feel like motherhood is just too much, lean on that.