This is me in March 2004 at just 20 weeks pregnant with sextuplets!If you are a mom, I'm betting you “live tired.” The way I see it, it's as if pregnancy is nature’s way of preparing us for our new way of living a “tired life” -- which quickly becomes our new normal -- for the next 18 years or so. I can only speak for myself and what I know about being pregnant twice ... and having given birth to eight kids. (I still smile when I say -- or write -- that by the way. It still seems to defy logic, but it's my reality and I love it.)
But, regardless of the number of pregnancies and the number of resulting births, I know that my pregnancies were filled with discomfort, lack of thorough rest, and many other “preparations” for motherhood ... like middle of the night waking to go to the bathroom, for example. My pregnancies were sure to be exaggerated beyond the “normal,” and since I don't know what a “normal” pregnancy is like, I can really only guess about this.
I was just telling a friend today about my 54-inch in circumference belly and how in my later stages of my sextuplet pregnancy, I actually had to “carry” it to the bathroom. I also had to “back” into the hospital shower (no, I didn't have back-up lights or beeps, unfortunately) and the nurses would often lean on the door frame of my hospital room watching, and marveling, at HOW I could still walk. Yeah, my pregnancies were anything but “normal.” My “preparation” had to be ramped up to prepare me for the super-duper lack of rest that was headed my way. When parents-to-be ask me for advice, I always say, “Sleep now, because you will never again get enough.” That advice goes for one baby -- or six.
And that brings me to the question that often lingers on my mind ... Do I deserve a break? So I can sleep and rest up -- with NO kids to take care of, for just a day or two? Yes, it's true. I am a single mom and occasionally some or most of my kids visit their dad a few times a month. So, technically, I do get a rest from the craziness of caring for eight ... BUT ... I rarely have complete “kid-free-me-time,” and, honestly, I live sleep-deprived. Moms, no matter our situation, couldn't we all say that?
I ask myself, can I really leave my kids and go visit a friend for a few days and sleep in, chill out, and relax? Is it okay to have some "big people time"? Will I be able to relax or will I worry that they miss me and aren't having fun at home? Is it selfish of me to truly take a "time-out"? I have only ever left my kids for work travels and can't remember ever taking a “vacation” without them ... especially since I've been a single mom carrying such a large load! Can I do it? In general, I would tell a friend that a rested “de-stressed” mom is a better mom and I would strongly encourage her to do it. So why can't I allow myself to do the same?
While we were eating dinner recently, I asked my kids what they thought. Alexis said she'd surely miss me. Hannah thought for a bit and said she thought I definitely could use the break. Leah wanted to know who would be staying with them. And Mady and Cara said, almost in unison, that I was the best mommy in the whole world and of course I could take a few days off! “You deserve it!” Oh my! Oh, and my boys didn't say much -- their sisters tend to do the talking for them in these types of situations. But, when asked again, they said it would be fine and Collin assured me he'd make sure the chickens were well cared for! Ha! Cute! So ... my kids support it overall. Good to know.
As an added bonus, I even have my childcare lined up ... a close family friend has offered to keep them for a few days if I wanted to go away. She is considered a “super fun” babysitter, so once I announce that she is “in on this,” I'll probably be hugged tightly and sent on my way ... immediately! Lol.
After much consideration and thought -- this blog post being part of that process -- I have myself nearly convinced I'll plan a “Break for Mom” trip. I've moved to the planning phase. I'm choosing dates and making arrangements ... oh and uh ... maybe now is a good time to mention that part of that plan includes taking (at least) a few of my kids along? Ha! I was so, so close ... but I caved! So much for this mom’s break! Better luck next time!
How do you feel about taking a “mom only” break? Can you do it?
Image via Kate Gosselin