Hey There Mama!
I am writing to you today about a topic that I struggle with frequently. Control. In motherhood for me control looks like being in charge of mealtimes, giving my husband a long list of do’s and don’ts before leaving for an hour or two (like he doesn’t already know and isn’t fully capable of feeding and changing our son), and always being the one to rock the baby to sleep and get up with him multiple times EVERY NIGHT.
Now you may be like, Kylee, I love to rock my baby to sleep every night. It’s the best part of my day, I don’t want to give that up. More power to you. But in my life, being in control of bedtime brings me great anxiety. I literally have never let anyone in my sons 11 months on this planet put him down for bed except for me. That means every night at 7 PM I MUST be home. One time I was sick with a stomach bug throwing up every 15-20 minutes stuck to the toilet and still made myself get up to rock him to sleep and put him down. This is crazy town people. I have a fantastic husband who loves our son and is fully capable of taking care of him, but I make it my job to do EVERYTHING. This is when control has gone too far. I hold onto this fear that if I’m not the one to put him in bed something bad will happen, he won’t be able to sleep and I’ll end up having to do it anyway.
I share my struggle with you because I think it’s important for you to know that even though I’m here writing about self-care, I struggle too. We all struggle. My goal and my passion is to help moms make small sustainable changes to allow for more self-care in their lives, but we will never be perfect. Perfection is not the goal. Progress is the goal.
BUT. Back to the point. Letting go of control. A couple of weekends ago we had a weekend home as a family without much to do. Instead of constantly feeling like I had to take care of the baby and making it my job to remember everything that needs to be done for him (instead of sharing the load with my husband), I took some time for myself. I said “Hey babe, I”m going to go read in our room for a little bit”. Then I spent 45 glorious minutes reading Girl Stop Apologizing while my husband played with our son.
I have fallen many times into victim mode where I feel like my husband has time to do things for himself (read comic books, go to the gym, go have a drink with a friend) and I feel like I’m always stuck at home taking care of the baby. I’ve realized recently (with some nudging from him) that it doesn’t have to be this way! I am a mom, yes, but I am also Kylee the woman who likes to read and drink coffee and go on walks with my dog. These things are important to me and I need to make time for them. I need to let go of control and allow other people (who gladly want to) spend time with my son so I can have a bit of time to myself. This is not selfish; this makes me a better mom. I am able to be more present and intentional with my son when I’ve taken time to do things I enjoy, instead of sitting with him and thinking about things I never have time to do anymore.
**This is a no judgment zone, I cannot be the only mom who sometimes wishes she wasn’t stacking blocks for the 10,000th time and wishes instead she was with her girlfriends getting a pedicure**
3 Simple Steps for Letting Go of Control in Motherhood
- Identify safe people who you trust to be alone with your kids – For me, this includes grandparents, aunts and my spouse. Basically family. Also, his childcare provider who is this amazing lady who runs a home daycare out of her home and loves him to pieces.
- Identify some things you’d like to do for yourself – maybe you’ve been meaning to get your nails done, go to your annual doctors appointment, you have a book you want to read, you are trying to get into shape but never have time to go to the gym, you want to go have coffee with your best friend without a little one at your feet. Whatever it is, no matter how big or small, figure out what you want to do for you.
- Ask one of the people from step 1 if they can hang out with your little one (s) for a bit while you take some time to do one (or two, or three) of those things. Your child(ren) will be okay if you let someone else watch them for a bit. They may not do everything just like you, but they love your kids and they love you. They are going to do a great job and your child is going to feel loved and probably get some extra one on one adult attention because this person isn’t also trying to cook dinner, put away laundry and read the mail.
Voila, You did it! You go, Mama!
You are now one step closer to gaining some time for yourself. You deserve it. You are worthy. You are a wonderful mama.
The Self Care Lady