On needing to feel desirable….

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Today is November 1 which means it’s the first day of #NaBloPoMo, a writing challenge I’ve attempted several times in the past and am hoping to be more successful at this year. It helps that I’m joined by two women who are both good friends and excellent writers. I encourage you to read their work as well!

I’ll be (mostly) following the prompts from BlogHer. Today’s prompt wasn’t all that exciting to me: When you’re having a bad day with your mental health, what do you do to help yourself?”  I’ve written about self-care before. It’s not new territory for me. I sometimes feel like I’m whining when I write about it. 

But maybe there are parts of it that are new territory.

A lot of times when I think about self-care (especially as regards my mental health), I consider it a solo activity. I like to spend time by myself. I enjoy being alone. But as a wife and mother (mostly as a mother), taking care of myself means requiring the help of other people. I need babysitters or I need my husband to be home so I can leave the house. Oddly enough, it’s frowned upon to leave a two-year-old on her own for four hours. But it’s not just my husband’s help I need. He provides so much for me and for our family. He “gets” that I need to be not-Mommy for a few hours a week in order to even adequately care for our marriage and family. It’s something I deeply appreciate and all-too-often take for granted (that’s a whoooooole other blog post).

I think I’m getting to a point where I need the rest of the world to cut me some damn slack when it comes to self-care. Okay, not the rest of *the* world, but certainly the rest of *my* world. Motherhood is a deeply sacrificial experience. Every time I turn around, I feel like I’ve given up something else, some other piece of myself, in order to be a mother. And just when I think I have nothing left to give, someone or something finds a piece of me I forgot about or didn’t know I had and that gets taken away too.

Maybe, just maybe, it’s time for me to be angry about that. And I swear on everything I (still) own, I will lose it if even one person tells me, “Yeah, well, you chose to become a mother!” Screw that noise. I’m well aware of the choice that I made. We should all be very aware of our choices. I think I’m angry because I’m sitting her, waiting for the moment when someone or something decides am worth sacrificing something for. I had absolutely no idea the concept of sacrifice until I became a mother. I thought I knew. I’ve given up a lot in my life. I’ve had to choose between two very difficult paths a number of times. It’s not a new concept. It’s a far deeper concept now.

So when I get asked to chip away just a little more of my time or my energy or my talent for this thing or that event or whatever it is that needs my attention, I start to ask myself, “When will I get a little in return?” Not in smiles and hugs from my daughter. Not in kisses and kind words from my husband. I get those in spades. Those are the things that keep me from lighting my own fuse and completely blowing up.

I’m waiting for the world to offer up some small gesture to show me that I matter, that my time is valuable, that my presence is desired, that my opinions count.

On embracing new challenges….

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It’s National Blog Posting Month. I’d never even heard of this until I was scrolling through my Facebook feed at 5:30 this morning. I seem to find the most random information that early in the morning. Which begs the question: What interesting information will I come across during midnight baby feedings?

At any rate, November is my last full month of not being a mommy so I want to take as much advantage of that as I can. I need to read more. I need to write more. I need to eat out more. All the things that will surely go on back burners, at least for a while, once this girl makes her appearance.

So today, I’m binge-watching Gilmore Girls (though there is one character that has gotten increasingly more annoying and his comedic value is lacking, especially when the smart, witty banter provides so much humor. He’s an unnecessary character, at best). I’m going reading Yes, Please by Amy Poehler (which will likely make me want to re-read Bossypants and Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?). I’m currently drinking pumpkin spiced hot chocolate (this simultaneously makes me long for the day when I’ll be able to have full blown coffee again and also grateful for the quiet I’m currently enjoying). I’m making two soups (mostly because I can, but also because I need to stock my freezer in preparation for the new little munchkin and her surely demanding schedule).

But I think what might be the most important thing for me to remember during this month of writing is that I am a multi-faceted person. We all are. I am not “just” a wife or mother or writer or baker or singer or runner or reader or friend or any number of things. I am all of those things, all at the same time. Doing one of these things does not negate the fact that I am all these other things as well. I don’t stop being a writer while I’m running. I don’t stop being a wife when I’m baking. I don’t stop being a friend when I’m a mother.

Certainly there are facets of my life that will take up more time than others. Motherhood will easily take over for some time. As with learning any new skill, it will take time and practice. I’ll have to sacrifice some of my facets in order to learn how to do this one. The reality is that I can do all of the things I love doing…just not all at once.

So this month, I choose to focus on being a writer and a reader.

Happy NaBloPoMo,y’all!