“Just go play!” I growled between gritted teeth for the fifth time. I wasn’t doing anything of importance that required my child to ‘go play’ but it was the only thing I could think of saying. I swept the floor and she asked once again to help me or watch me or play with me…it didn’t matter as long as she was doing it with me. My mental state for being with my child was way passed its max and I so desperately needed one moment alone. I felt suffocated and trapped with a child who needed so much of my mental, physical and emotional attention. I had no vision of it changing anytime soon.
I watched her dejected face as she left the room and the guilt instantly filled my weary soul. A tear rolled down my flushed cheek as I was entirely defeated by my own three year old and my role as a stay-at-home mom.
I love that little girl so much and yet the 24/7 of never being apart was wearing on me. It had been wearing on me for so long already and yet I ignored the clear signs. I didn’t ignore them necessarily because I wanted to, I ignored them because I didn’t see a way out. I didn’t see an opportunity to have it any other way. I allowed my days as a full-time stay-at-home mom own me in a way that felt like walls were closing in with no escape.
Yet, at the same time being a stay-at-home mom is the most beautiful and fulfilling job there can be – yes job, because it’s work too.
How could I have allowed my job to give me so much disdain when I was doing it for three little people I loved so entirely?
I was burnt out.
Mom burn out crept up quickly for me and I refused to acknowledge or deal with it. It affected not only me, but every single person surrounding me.
I was at my breaking point and it was here that I knew I needed a change. I could sit here and continue the way things were. I could continue to speak to my kids with annoyance and live in a disheveled state with a house as a disaster and a heart that was turning blackened toward all things motherhood.
Or I could step up and take action. I could be an action-seeking mom. I could start not only owning my days but owning my motherhood to be exactly as it should be: Beautiful, Lovely, Joyous, and Peaceful. Yes, even with little ones.
And that’s exactly what I am working on. I am taking real, actionable steps to change the way I have allowed motherhood to become for myself and my family.
One of those very important steps was to say yes to childcare. To say yes to getting a break from my kids and my kids getting a break from me. I started with saying yes to swapping kids with a dear mom friend. And I am currently working on saying yes to paid childcare. While it is an investment, it is care that is necessary for not only me, but for my entire family.
Sitterhood is one way we can take actionable steps to becoming the best moms for our kids. If you are a stay-at-home mom like me, the occasional care is a realistic way you can take the actionable step of avoiding mom burn out with a break here or there as much as needed (both for you and for your kids).
I dare you to give it a try alongside me – let’s see how we can allow the days we spend with our kids be that much more intentional due to healthy breaks and saying yes to help.
By: Esther Vandersluis