As I picked up my phone to text my sister, my heart pounded. She’d just watched them two days ago, and now I was asking her to watch my kids again, so I could go to my “annual” doctor’s appointment. I wanted to just cancel the appointment, since it felt like I had to jump through a bunch of freaking hoops just to get there. But I couldn’t cancel. I’d scheduled this months in advance and I was a couple of years overdue.
Of course, Super Auntie didn’t mind taking my kids and the next day I rushed us all out of the house. Driving to see my doctor I understood why so many Mamas of little ones are basically throwing in the towel when it comes to taking care of themselves.
First you have to arrange childcare and then you have to pack the kids stuff up, load them into the car (on time) and then go to your appointment, all to have your check up done, which happens to be WAY more embarrassing when you’re not pregnant, since when you’re pregnant, somehow along the way you stop caring altogether and showing your stuff becomes the norm. After your babies get older, however, sanity comes back (somewhat anyway) and then you go back to feeling incredibly awkward….at least that’s how I feel.
After checking in and filling out pages of paperwork, they took me back. My doctor asked me how I’m doing…like how I’m really doing. We talked about real-life, pretty and ugly stuff and about how mothering is the greatest blessing EVER, but how it can be so hard to care of yourself during this time. She looked into my eyes and we agreed that just because you have a “great life” doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t ever deal with feelings of stress, and we talked about how important it is to take care of yourself, even if it’s extra hard with little ones.
There are thousands of lists out there telling us how to care for ourselves, but that’s not what we actually need. What we need is to get over the idea that it’s going to be easy. It’s not easy to pack up the kids and go to a yoga class, or push them in a stroller and walk, or take the time to make a healthy lunch instead of eating PB&J crust. It’s not easy to make a doctor’s appointment and take the time to go…or go to bed earlier when it’s so tempting to stay up way late into the night when the house is finally quiet.
But even though it’s not easy, we’re worth it.
For me, Motherhood was a lifelong dream and when I finally had my first baby I let it consume me. I was suddenly Mama, and that’s all. Caring for me felt too hard, so I ate easy food more often than I should have and I didn’t take the time to do the things that helped take care of me.
Your life is a gift, with a purpose. Ask yourself what your best life in this current season looks like and then take small steps to live it out. Make the appointments you need, even if it’s hard to find childcare and remember there are far too many doctors/midwives/naturopaths in the world to see one who don’t connect with. It’ll take some effort, but find someone you love. Survival mode has it’s time and place, but don’t let yourself get too comfy there. Your life has far too much potential to just be trying to survive every passing day.
“Nourishing yourself in a way that helps you blossom in the direction you want to go is attainable, and you are worth the effort.” ~Deborah Day