I said. “I’m DONE! I just need a break from it all.” “A break from what?” he asked? “Life. Adulthood. Motherhood. Wife duties. I let out. I just need to be by myself for a moment.”
These words seemed to seep out before I even had a chance to censor myself. I am good at holding things in and being the strong friend. I am the wife who gives and gives to her husband. The mother who tends to all of the needs of her children. I am the rock that others depend on to get things done. I cannot fall apart. I must be put together at all times. Right?
In the midst of cleaning, I finally said, I cannot do this for another minute. Having three children ranging in age from 4 – 12 takes its toll on you. I find myself constantly picking up behind someone. I can spend hours cleaning my house from top to bottom and having it spotless, until my children walk through the door. Then, the clean dining room table becomes the drop spot for backpacks and mail, even though there are cubbie holes for backpacks and a mail rack. There are shoes sprawled all over the floor, although there are closets available for each child to place their belongings in. Then, upon them walking through the door, immediately I am bombarded with requests and sometimes demands. Help me with this, or help me what that.
Then, there are days where I have had a long day at work. A long day period. I wake up, work out before everyone else rises, wake up children, shower and ready myself for work, help my husband pack lunches, and scream at children to hurry up and put their socks and shoes on so that we can leave on time because my anxiety gets the better of me if we don’t. I spend at a minimum 8 hours working and then get off just to shuttle myself to softball games, soccer practice, gymnastics practice, choir rehearsal, or whatever activity we have for the day. Finally, I take my three children and we load up in the car to head home. While I am exhausted, my children find the energy to fuss and bicker with each other in the backseat the entire ride home. Most days, I am able to block this out. I have gotten used to tuning them out when they are making a bunch of unnecessary noise so as not to be the nagging mom. But, there are some days where I just can’t.
On this particular day, I just said, I cannot. I cannot be mommy for another moment. I cannot be wife for another second. I cannot put another sheet on another bed; load another dish into the dishwasher; kiss another boo-boo; shower you with love as you enter the home; pick up another out of place shoe. I just need to be me. I need for no one to call my name for a little while. I need to rest my body, my mind, and my spirit.
Why was this so hard for me to say? How come it took this long for me to say I need a break? It’s because as women and mothers, we put the weight of the world on our backs. We don’t want our children to know that we aren’t Super Woman; that we don’t have all of the answers; that we get tired. We are made to feel guilty about these feelings because someone who doesn’t have a child would love to be in our shoes; so how dare we complain about the blessings we have been given? We are trained to make this look easy. But, what happens when it’s not? When you can’t be Super Woman for one more minute?
You tell your husband! Or at least I did. And if your husband is like mine, he will listen. Mine heard me. I had planned to take a mental health day for myself the following day anyway, even though I didn’t know just how necessary it would be. He took on all of my duties for the remainder of the night and well into the next day. He made it so I didn’t have to do a thing for anyone other than me that day. I had a day to myself. A full 10 hours where no one needed anything from me and a day I did only what I wanted to do. What did I want to do, you ask? I wanted to workout and wash my hair. That was it! That one day gave me enough energy to recharge and to do it all again.
But, that one moment of honesty gave me clarity. It taught me not to fear my husband’s reaction to me being vulnerable. It showed me that he sees me; he appreciates me; and that he knows what I need. He is my partner and I do not have to do it all on my own. While we have our own responsibilities in our home, I can allow him to share my load a little more without feeling like I am being less than the perfect wife or mother because I don’t always live up to my impossible standard of a “great wife” and “great mother.”
If this is you sis, take a minute for yourself. It’s ok. We do not have to be strong all of the time. Bruh, if you are reading this, I hope this encourages you to think about your wife, girlfriend, or significant other to see if she is feeling this way and hasn’t gained the courage to speak up. Friend, if this is you, remember to check on the strong friend every once in a while.
Until Next time, journey on!