So many people tell me that I seem so laid-back and easygoing, that I’m cool, calm, and collected, and that I seem “so relaxed”. I blush and smile and thank them, but in my mind, my eyes are bulging out of their sockets and I’m thinking, “you must be crazy!” How can I appear to have it all together when I feel like I’m falling apart at the seams?
Being a mother of 5 is definitely not all sunshine and lollipops. I love my kids – don’t get me wrong. But having a large family comes with its challenges.
But I’ve started to ask myself lately, what are others seeing that I’m not?
And I think I’ve found the answer.
Yesterday, I had the opportunity to go out, by myself (and for once “by myself” didn’t mean with only one or two kids – it literally meant by myself), to get my hair cut and to run a couple of errands. It is so refreshing to get those couple of hours to myself. None of the usual shenanigans – just me and the world. And to spend part of that time getting beautified makes you feel like a million bucks! I loved my haircut, I was in a good mood, I wasn’t feeling like a slob, or like a tired, aging, frustrated mom – I felt young, I felt good, I felt alive.
Even though my poor parents were at home dealing with a crying 4 month old and 4 other kids who were running around, screaming, and generally misbehaving. (Sorry Mom and Dad! But THANK YOU!!!)
Most times, I feel run-down, not well dressed, unpretty, and frustrated. I feel like I’m always behind, never ahead of the game.
But something has occurred to me. Those rare days that I actually get enough sleep, when I can wake up rested, and get up before my kids wake me up to the sound of whining or screaming or something crashing onto the kitchen floor – those are the days that I feel like I’m on top of my game. I get up to a quiet house, I get a cup of coffee, I enjoy it to the last drop while it’s still hot, I plan out my day.
Those rare times that I get a couple of hours to myself.
Yesterday, I got a couple of hours. I got relaxed. I got beautified. I had real, adult conversation. I loved my hairstyle so much, and as I walked out of the salon and down the street to my vehicle, I felt young and alive. I thought, yes, I can see why I get that compliment from people sometimes. I feel like I have it all together, so therefore I must look like I have it all together.
And then what did I do? I went to the mall to get each of my kids a back-to-school outfit (yes, I have to pack it in our luggage to take it home, since we’re visiting my parents, but we have basically no where to get nice clothes up where we live), and I bought myself a couple of new dresses/skirts and my husband a few new items as well. I spent a bit more than I had intended, but you know what, we have almost no where to shop up there, and even when we do have places to shop, we never get clothes for ourselves. I thought, I feel so great right now, it’s worth the potential frumpiness that I may encounter from my husband when I get home (because of a bit of extra money spent). I love my hairstyle, and I love my new dresses! I feel fun and sexy. What mom doesn’t want to be portrayed as such?!
My kids are wonderful. They’re full of spunk, they love to laugh, they’re curious, they want to be challenged and loved. They drive my crazy! And yes, admittedly, most days I don’t know how I survive from one end of the day to the other. But every now and then, I have a chance to feel like it’s just me vs. the world, and when I get back home, I feel like I’m ready to get back on the horse. It’s the pick-me-up that I need to resume my role as Mama. And, I have found, the more spontaneous the outing or event, the better I feel. The “wow factor” is really kicked up a notch when it’s unplanned. I’ve even gotten an unexpected bouquet of “just because”flowers, and trust me, even though it’s not an outing by myself, that can really turn a mood!
So: to all the moms out there who have a few (or many) kids, who feel like they’re at the end of their rope – get out for a couple of hours by yourself. Do something for just you. It’s amazing what it can do for your mood, your self-esteem, and for your self-perception. When you perceive yourself as positive, it will show that way to others. And when you get those compliments, take them, be thankful for them, and believe them! You deserve it!