Moms do everything for everyone. We pack the lunches, wash the floor, stay up with sick kids, walk the dog, and check email. That is just in the first hour we are awake.
Whether we work in the home or outside, we usually sacrifice parts of ourselves for the greater good of the family (not to mention society). Then, we rarely get the credit we deserve. It’s maddening. Sometimes, we give up so much that we wake up one morning and don’t recognize the person in the mirror. This self-neglect can have grave consequences.
We can put an end to this vicious cycle here and now. It’s a new year and you can be a new you. So, moms, let’s take back our lives. Discover how:
Take a 30-Minute Break
Many publications have told me to get 5 minutes for myself every day. Hello! I need more than 5 minutes just to take a few deep breaths. Just about everyone – even super moms – can grab 30 minutes per day. You might have to wake up early or go to bed later. But it’s so worth it. Take a bath or watch a TV show you like. Or read. Yes, you could actually read a book, even one that has no pictures and does not end with the mommy elephant kissing the baby elephant.
These moments for mom are a treasure. They keep us sane. I have read The New York Times, baked cookies, and written in this here blog with my 30 minutes. By the way, those times, when you feel the need to lock yourself in the bathroom and dip into your secret chocolate stash, do not count.
Focus on Health and Hygiene
Let me explain. You probably don’t smell. And you might even exercise regularly and take vitamins. But many moms I know – myself included – spend more time worrying about the kids and their spouse getting to the doctor for regular check ups. Mom is the one who ensures all the children regularly take baths, brush their teeth, and cut their fingernails. No one stresses more than mom, and stress can be a killer, literally.
As a result of focusing on these other folks, mom puts off her own check ups and hygiene. My nails often get cut after they start breaking. I put off dental exams because it was expensive and my son’s teeth took precedent. And I schedule my check ups last, which means I don’t always go when I am supposed to do. It was kind of a big deal that I put off a mammogram recently, and I’ve vowed to never do it again.
After all, if something happens to mom, the whole place will fall apart. Taking care of your own health is taking care of your kids, too. Trust me. So, make your doctor’s appointments and care a priority. It should be right up there on the list with everyone else’s health and hygiene.
Remember Your Dreams
Ambition is a dirty word, at least when it’s used to describe women. But moms need to embrace the term. Be ambitious. Go back to school. Push for the promotion. Or just chase your passions. I used to drift off to sleep dreaming about certain achievements – writing that book, studying my family history more profoundly, winning accolades for my cooking. Now, I drift off to sleep thinking about tomorrow’s to-do list. It’s not nearly as much fun.
My goal now is to remember what I used to aim to do. Thanks to my Instant Pot, I managed to make spectacular mushroom risotto over the holidays, so cooking #squadgoals (my husband is into that one, too) are coming along. While I’ve published a book and worked on a couple of others, they were not personal, nor the kind I had planned in my dreams. Working on this blog, however, is a step toward that goal.
No one is a greater keeper of our family history and traditions than I am, so that work will continue. And I hope new dreams come to me in place of the reminders about buying a gallon of milk and helping my son study for his spelling test. My greatest wish for you in 2019 is that you visit dreamland and your deepest longings every now and then, too. You deserve it, mom.
Di Meglio is the author of Fun with the Family New Jersey (Globe Pequot Press, 2012). She also has written the Our Paesani column for ItaliansRus.com since 2003. You can follow the Italian Mamma on Facebook or Twitter @ItalianMamma10.