As Mammas, We’re Allowed To Just Stop
It had been one of those days…if you’re a mom, you know the kind. It was one of those days that seemed never-ending, yet it was over all at once. Like it ended when you woke up. You feel as if you’ve been moving nonstop, yet somehow the house is still destroyed; there were dishes and laundry, my living room was like aisle five of Toys-R-Us (Who bought all these damn toys anyways?)
I had a test and a paper due by midnight that had been weighing on me. Emerson hadn’t let me put him down and my body ached from baby-wearing. Watts was grumpy and bored, which meant he had been frustrating to deal with but I was beating myself up for not playing with him more. On top of that, my best friend was in a dark place and I was emotionally broken not knowing how to help.
It was just one of those days.
I was exhausted mentally, emotionally and physically. Around five o’clock, I had somehow managed to get both boys to sleep, and I reluctantly picked up the laundry basket, however, I just didn’t have it in me. The day had defeated me and I could feel it in every ounce of my being.
I needed a break. I knew the laundry would still be there, I needed ten minutes to just…stop.
Stopping is hard for me; my mind is always going, telling me I need to do more. I get anxious just sitting, and even the thought of taking a nap makes me uncomfortable. I think it’s because I was so useless in active addiction, I feel by doing nothing I’m engaging in old behaviors. I’m also a glutton for punishment, and fabulous at tearing myself apart. I’m working on it though.
So this time, this particular day, I fought against every instinct to just push through. I went with the uncomfortable sensation of my actions, and I simply stopped. I put down the laundry and went out to our patio – our lovely patio that generates exceptional sunsets, which I often take for granted. However, this time I sat and allowed myself to take it in; no kids, no phone and for a few fleeting minutes, no thoughts. Then I cried, for no particular reason and yet, for everything at once.
The sunset reminded me, as nature often does, that the universe is so much bigger than myself. In that moment I desperately needed to know that.
As a mom, there are many times when I instinctively try to be a martyr. I don’t ask for help when I should and I don’t burden my husband with most of my racing thoughts. I often admit I am tired, however, never to the extent of my exhaustion. And I know I am not alone in this, it seems to be built into our unconsciousness as mothers. Nevertheless, sometimes we need to simply stop. Put the laundry down, leave the dishes, vacuum later; let our thoughts pause and drift. It’s so foreign at first, like my mind needs to process the silence. Still, once it does, I am left looking at this great big world, immediately I feel calmer and lighter. My conscious mind readjusts its perspective and suddenly the day has changed…It was no longer, ‘Just one of those days’.
If anyone deserves ten minutes a day, it’s mommies. As a sober mom, we cannot have a glass of wine or smoke a little joint to escape or relax. We have to retrain our brains while creating new habits. What things do you personally find effective? I’d love to expand my list of options. However, sitting alone while watching the sunset was a great place to start…and wouldn’t you know it; the laundry was exactly where I had left it.
This post originally appeared on Mommy Without Wine it has been reprinted with permission.
Melissa is a fulltime working mama to her two young boys; Watson and Emerson. She is married to a wonderful sober man and they have created a blessed life in Southern California.
Melissa has been sober since 11.6.13 and is active in 12 step fellowships and the online sober community and . She understands there are no sober blueprints, and different things work for different people. Along with addiction, Melissa struggles with mental health issues, addiction to self-harm, and has a habit of self-loathing. Through recovery, she has begun to overcome those obstacles.
She works at a non-profit, men’s recovery home and spends her free time podcasting with her husband and recycling old clothes.