By Danielle Sherman-Lazar of Living a Full Life After ED
“I just need to get the bottles ready for tomorrow morning,” I say to my husband, taking a deep breath in, during my last pump out of the night. System cleared until morning—hopefully. This is where I perform my nightly prayer that my baby will sleep through the night so I will be nice and engorged tomorrow morning—but at least well rested. With motherhood there is always a give and take or catch 22 to everything, huh? Unfortunately, you can’t have your sleep and empty boobs, too.
Wah-wah, wah-wah, the pump makes its soothing sounds while I am making a list in my head of everything I need to get together before bed to get my two-year-old and eight-month-old ready in the morning. I need to pick out both of their outfits, bring up more bottles, put both of their vitamins in their bottles of breast milk, bring up a syringe for the baby’s reflux medication…the list goes on and on.
We don’t get a break as mothers. Our brains are constantly thinking, calculating our next moves and trying to anticipate things before they happen. Only we know that after our toddler’s nap she requires a snack and a sippy cup filled to the brim with cold water or she will have a guaranteed meltdown. Only we know the prep at night for the next day. Only we know our children’s favorite stuffed animals. We have to be on high alert for that tantrum—there is always a ticking time bomb—and we are trying to prevent it before it happens. Because when it happens—BOOM—we all explode. We have a lot on our plates.
We are also too busy listening to what we should be. There are a lot of influences and chatter amongst mommy-kind, telling us how to be the so-called perfect mom. The mom who is a domestic goddess—cleaning, laundry, and cooking being her vices of choice. Oh, and everything she cooks is organic, of course. The mom who only breastfeeds and whose baby latches from the get-go, no struggle at all. This image of the perfect mom unwillingly shapes us—molds us into something that may not be what is best for us and our families. It’s hard not to be influenced by “what is supposed to be best,” especially regarding our babies. We are all trying to achieve Stepford-mom status.
Okay, mommies, so here is my proposal. I have been thinking about something a lot lately. Everyone needs rehab at some point in their life. Yes, I said it. Okay, okay, I am not accusing you all of being drug addicts or having a life-threatening mental illness, and I can say this only because I have been there and done that—at least on the mental illness front.
I am accusing us mamas of not taking the time we need for ourselves. We are so busy worrying about everyone else and what we should be that if we have a free moment, it’s spent thinking about our next moves. Unfortunately, our kids still need us—plus they pretty much have drained our bank accounts—meaning we can’t check ourselves into a swanky rehab with a scenic movie set feel like Passages Malibu, but I think I have a solution.
Our mom-centric rehab is going to be this moment. Yes, you heard me right. It won’t require a second mortgage or travel time. It just requires you to be present. I want you take five minutes after you read this. During that time, I want you to clear your mind and get back to what makes you, you. It’s time to remind yourself what is important to you as a person and a mom away from all the noise. What makes your heart sing, mama? What makes you happy, mama? Ever think about that lately?
If it is not breastfeeding…don’t breastfeed.
If it is taking five minutes to write a day…write away.
If it is your daily workout…make sure you find time to break that sweat.
If it is ordering-in instead of cooking…set up a seamless account.
A happy mom is the best kind of mom. So whatever makes you shine, your kids will be better for it. Rehab session starts in 3, 2, 1…
Breathe in, reflect, take your five minutes now. Go mama, do you.
About the Author
About the author: Dani Sherman-Lazar is an eating disorder advocate five years in recovery from anorexia and bulimia, Vice President of a transportation company, and a mother to two daughters—a two-year-old and a six-month-old. Follow her on her blog Living a Full Life After ED and like it on Facebook .