How Leaving New York Made This Writer a Better Mom
And why she solidly believes in treating yourself all year long.
Whoever said that being a mom is the hardest job in the world told no lies. Not only are you completely responsible for keeping a small human alive, but this must be done in addition to all of the other things (hello, working and paying bills) that come with adulting. I’m about five years into my own parenting journey as a single mom, and one of the most difficult things for me to nail down hasn’t been those things that most parents freak out over, like transitioning to solid foods or even potty training (I’m proud to share that my son, Aiden, actually puts the toilet seat down, ladies), but practicing self-love and putting myself first.
I will exhaust myself making sure that Aiden’s needs are met, and by the time I finish, there’s not really much time left for me to do the things that I imagine other adults like to do, such as, I dunno, taking long, uninterrupted bubble baths. Of course, Valentine’s Day—by definition, a day of love full of overpriced cards, flowers, and corny things like singing stuffed animals—sounds like the absolute perfect time for me to find a babysitter so that I can take one of the longest, loveliest scented bubble baths ever, but eff that. I’m at the point in life where I feel like my mom card means that I’m entitled to be chillin’ out, maxin’, relaxin’ all cool whenever I want to.
That’s right: I don’t believe that Valentine’s Day is the only day us moms should take time out for ourselves. In fact, I’m now a firm believer that you should try really hard to do at least one thing every day that makes you happy, no matter how short the time span is or how ridiculous it might seem to others. Here’s a few reasons why, if you’re a mom, you should be practicing self-love all year round.
It’s easier to deal with people when you’re in a good mood
I’m super lucky now that my day job as a freelance writer means I’m literally my own boss and don’t have to deal with office culture or feel guilty about things other working parents do, like leaving early to pick up your kid from school. But this hasn’t always been the case. During my son’s first few years of life, I worked at an advertising agency in Manhattan, and my sleep deprivation combined with the fact that I did very little self-care made me hella grouchy at times. Yes, I was grateful to even have a job (because the single-parent struggle can be real), but it got to the point where I cringed whenever I had to attend a meeting. I noticed that whenever I carved out time for myself to do things I love, it was so much easier for me to deal with people in the office. It was never anything lavish—sometimes it meant just getting to a yoga class—but man, did it make my soul happy, which, in turn, made dealing with people at the office that much easier.
Your kids will be happier
This seems like a no-brainer, but your children definitely pick up on your moods. In fact, there are plenty of times when my kid knows that I’m upset when I didn’t even think I was. Personally, dealing with all the stressors of having a newborn and working/living in Manhattan turned out to be much more than I can handle. So I moved back to Dallas in order to be closer to family and to get the help that I needed. Yes, of course I miss living in New York, but it’s so much easier here in Texas with kids. Also, I’ve noticed that I’m happier, since I’m able to do things like work out on a regular basis and treat myself regularly to my favorite things, like blowouts, manicures, and pedicures. As a result of my new, laid-back lifestyle, I’m way less stressed, and it shows in my son. He is such a loving little guy, forever smiling, and that, in turn, makes me continuously happy.
Life seems to roll along smoother when you’re happy
Of course nothing is perfect, and I have absolutely no way of knowing what the future holds, but I do know that because of this newfound happiness I’ve found in life thanks to putting self-care first on my to-do list, life rolls along a lot smoother. I don’t know about the rest of you moms, but I’ve found that if I can just get at least an hour per week to treat myself, life just seems to roll along that much smoother. There’s no number of tantrums, overflowing piles of laundry, or tiny Legos scattered everywhere on the floor that can bring me down. And if you’ve ever stepped on one of those tiny Legos in bare feet, you know that’s a win.
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