Rule #28: Give Yourself a Break

By Ashley Daniels

Being a mom is tough. But, let’s face it, we’re toughest on ourselves. That’s why, moms, you need to Give Yourself a Break. Easier said than done, I know. But it’s #28 out of a list of rules I plan on sharing with you because I think it’s important to get the word out. Whether you think each rule is worth following, is up to you.

This one is intended to thwart you from the Mommy Guilt that seems to invade and fester in our Mommy DNA, which is programmed to nurture, chase and answer the call to all things “Mommy!” Guilt goes on the attack when, God forbid, we’ve had enough. Why is there just enough guilt to pull us down if we don’t react with a kiss and a smile?

Never mind that your child’s response after you’ve packed his lunch, paid for his school field trip, helped him with homework, ordered a new pair of $20 goggles for swim team and picked him up from his after-school club is an eye roll, followed by tears and a trembling lip, after I had to yell the third reminder to, “Take out the trash!” (His daily chore.) Each request, by the way, comes at an increasing volume, to penetrate through the Beats he so nicely keeps locked onto his ears while he’s scrolling through his Nerf Gun battle channels he follows on YouTube.

And, the other day, this same 9-year-old son burped loud and long. I give him a look that told him he should’ve swallowed that burp deep back into his throat. Next up was looking down at the untied Nikes of my 7-year-old middle son (my sons total three) to bark out, “Tie your shoes!” before we fly out the door to the car drop-off lane at school. His shoes are forever untied – sometimes minutes after I’ve double-knotted them.

Enter guilt, after I open the door and return to a quiet home and miss the hundreds of ways those boys fill these rooms and my heart with love and laughter. After I replay my sharp tongue. Guilt, however, shouldn’t snuff out those beautifully happy moments. Give yourself a break.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t gather them up into your arms and grab their little hands as often as you can each day. Because I’m a big believer in taking advantage of those sweet, small moments. Life is too short, as they say. And what they say is true.

True, too, is being true to yourself – and to your kids. Know that they don’t need a flawless, fairy tale Mommy keeping up with scenes little ones only see played out on 20-minute family sitcoms on the Disney Channel. Or the perfect ones posed and posted on Facebook. Mommies are dimensional, real and, well, human.

Which means we’re far from perfect. No one is perfect. So it’s OK for our sons and our daughters to see us that way. Give Yourselves a Break, moms, stay-at-home-moms, working moms, and working-from-home moms. Give yourself a breather, time with a good book, a good glass of wine, or a good jog through the neighborhood to clear the air.

When you do, it will clear your mind of those guilt toxins and replace them with peace of mind. At least for a little while.

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