Yep, I’m that mom. The one you see in the school drop off lane with mascara smudges under her eyes, wearing fluffy pajama pants and one of her husband’s old t-shirts.
I’m the mom who parks in the drop off lane because it takes 10 minutes to get all of the kids… and backpacks… and lunches… and coats out of the car.
I’m the mom who is yelling, “Have a great day! I love you!” out the car window because the morning has seemed so frazzled I’m unsure the kids will remember how much they mean to me as they reflect on their morning.
I used to have it all together.
I never left the house without makeup and my hair looking like I just stepped out of a salon. I read magazines and copied the latest fashion trends. My shoes were always chosen thoughtfully in the morning so I knew my outfit would be completely put together.
So, what happened to that version of me?
We hear so much about self-care as moms. I am told daily how important it is to take care of myself. I need to take time for a massage and a relaxing book and bubble baths. I need to get my hair and nails professionally done.
But, is this a reality for most moms?
I honestly can’t figure out how to make it all work.
As a stay at home mom, I send three kids to school and entertain a baby during the day. I typically have 3-5 appointments each week, work two jobs from home and teach music in the afternoons. I’m still expected to clean and do laundry and, well, be a mom!
Can moms do it all?
I’ve come to the realization that we can’t, and that’s ok.
On one of our more frantic mornings in the drop off lane at school, my daughter asked me if I would walk her into her classroom. I told her I couldn’t because I was still wearing pajamas and everyone would look at me.
She stared at me and said, “So what? Everyone will look at you and say, ‘Look at THAT mom! She loves her kids so much that she is walking them into school in her pajamas!'” I laughed and didn’t walk her in. And I feel I failed her.
I let the fact that I can’t do everything take over and I stopped trying to do anything at all.
And on that day, I realized that’s not ok. I realized I need to set a standard for myself.
Do I need to get my nails done weekly? Of course not. In my mind, I had decided that self-care meant I had to be that old version of myself. I had to be the girl who wouldn’t be seen without eyeliner and cute boots. I had to look perfect every time I stepped foot out my door.
Self-care could be as simple as a quick shower before bed because the kids fell asleep a little early. It can be painting your toenails while helping bathe the kids. It can even be as simple as applying a nice scented lotion even if your hands don’t feel too dry. The little things add up.
So, I’m going to try this. Every day I’m going to do a little something for myself. And maybe one day you will see me in the elementary school drop off lane and say, “Look at THAT mom! She loves her kids so much she is walking them into school. And she is wearing jeans!”