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Motherhood is: Needing to be *not* needed just for a little bit

I love my snuggles and I love being the antidote to their fear and sadness. But occasionally, I do wish they understood that they could easily wake their dad for help, or that he is equally capable of putting socks on the correct way.

Motherhood is: Needing to be *not* needed just for a little bit

I have a lovely husband, he's a doting father, more sensitive and hands-on than many.

And yet, when the babies need something, when they are awake in the night, when they are upset, when they are overtired and irrational – they want me.

They want to be oh so close to me.

Which, I'll be honest, is both the most beautiful thing ever and the most maddening thing ever.

I love my snuggles and I love being the antidote to their fear and sadness. But occasionally, I do wish they understood that they could easily wake their dad for help, or that he is equally capable of putting socks on the correct way.

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I suppose I love being the sun to their universe until that moment when I need a break.

Especially because when I need that break, it can get ugly.

As in storming out of the house screaming nonsensical things, and then hiding in the backyard. Truth. This happened.

The preface to this moment was numerous, consecutive nights of a tag team of small people and two anxious dogs waking me up about 5,743 times in the night. Of being so overtired I could barely see straight, of needing a nap. Badly. Needing to not be needed for just a little bit. The irony on this particular day was that it was a weekend – Daddy was home. Available. The break, the rest,should have come easily.

But the kids were having a tough day also, which in our house results in needing Mommy, not Daddy. I don't remember why they weren't down for a nap yet, or maybe they had slept in the car, or well, I have no idea, but they were up. I desperately needed to be down. I ran away into my bed and closed the door. My husband had strict orders not to let them in. You know this story. Right as I was falling asleep, they busted in “mommy I need YOU…"

I think I spazzed a wee bit,pushed them out of the room, then went to fall asleep again. And again. They slithered in.

I spazzed a little more, got them occupied with Daddy, then snuck away downstairs, to my son's room. His room has black out blinds and is in the bottom corner of our house. Sometimes we call it the bat-cave – it's the perfect place to take a mid day nap. I closed the doorand settled in for a nap. A real nap. Whereupon crying and screaming and whining entered my napping room.

And here's where I snapped. (Looking back I can't help giggling at the image—but at that time—this was not funny. At all.)

I grabbed a blanket off my son's bed. I walked briskly—a scary brisk walk—down the hall to the back door. We had recently purchased an outdoor couch,which at that moment looked like the best place to nap.

I threw the door open, clutching my blanket, and turned around and screamed at the three people I love most, “Why won't you people let me sleep?"

I walked out, slammed the door behind me, and threw myself on the couch. Pulled up the covers and could still hear the kids sniffling and crying behind the closed door. At that point, I was so rattled, I couldn't sleep anymore, so I began my own personal temper tantrum. Irrational, horrible things. You people don't let me sleep! I'm leaving!

My husband, bless his heart, didn't judge me. He took the kids upstairs and probably read to them, or turned on a show or something. Something to distract them from their terrifying mother out in the backyard. When I had collected myself, I re-entered my home. A bit bashful, and still exhausted, but ready to be an adult again. I walked upstairs and found the kids huddled together. Tucker, the big boy, who was all of three, was consoling his very nervous sister. “It's okay, Gracie. Mommies come back. They always come back. They have to." But he didn't sound convinced, and he sure looked relieved when he saw I wasn't actually leaving.

Writing this now, part of me laughs, and part of me feels so badly for saying such awful things to them that day, and part of me wants to hug that me—I was so tired. So please, mamas. If you are feeling on the brink of a SNAP, ask for help. Walk away. Figure out what you need. Give yourself a break. It's really hard to be needed all the time, and to do it on next to no sleep – well. That's a recipe for disaster.

What might save you from taking a blanket to your back yard and announcing you are leaving? A walk? A snack? Someone to listen? A hug? Or maybe more. Find a therapist. A reiki practitioner. Schedule a massage. Do what you need to do fory our sanity.

Mental health is no joke, and a mother's mental health is incredibly important for all members of the family. I think we mamas tend to try to push through, keep taking care of everyone else, and we forget that our mental health should be the number one priority. Now with the clarity of fairly good sleep on a regular basis, I know that. I didn't know it then.

If you find yourself in my situation, threatening to leave until you get a nap somewhere, find a way to take a break. Call in whatever back up you can. I am telling you. Your mental health, you, your family—you all deserve it.


In This Article

    These challenges from Nike PLAYlist are exactly what my child needs to stay active

    Plus a fall family bucket list to keep everyone moving all season long.

    While it's hard to name anything that the pandemic hasn't affected, one thing that is constantly on my mind is how to keep my family active despite spending more time indoors. Normally, this time of year would be spent at dance and gymnastics lessons, meeting up with friends for games and field trips, and long afternoon playdates where we can all let off a little steam. Instead, we find ourselves inside more often than ever before—and facing down a long winter of a lot more of the same.

    I started to search for an outlet that would get my girls moving safely while we social distance, but at first I didn't find a lot of solutions. Online videos either weren't terribly engaging for my active kids, or the messaging wasn't as positive around the power of movement as I would like. Then I found the Nike PLAYlist.

    I always knew that Nike could get me moving, but I was so impressed to discover this simple resource for parents. PLAYlist is an episodic sports show on YouTube that's made for kids and designed to teach them the power of expressing themselves through movement. The enthusiastic kid hosts immediately captured my daughter's attention, and I love how the physical activity is organically incorporated in fun activities without ever being specifically called out as anything other than play. For example, this segment where the kids turn yoga into a game of Paper Scissors Rock? Totally genius. The challenges from #TheReplays even get my husband and me moving more when our daughter turns it into a friendly family competition. (Plus, I love the play-inspired sportswear made just for kids!)

    My daughter loves the simple Shake Ups at the beginning of the episode and is usually hopping off the couch to jump, dance and play within seconds. One of her favorites is this Sock Flinger Shake Up activity from the Nike PLAYlist that's easy for me to get in on too. Even after we've put away the tablet, the show inspires her to create her own challenges throughout the day.

    The best part? The episodes are all under 5 minutes, so they're easy to sprinkle throughout the day whenever we need to work out some wiggles (without adding a lot of screen time to our schedule).

    Whether you're looking for simple alternatives to P.E. and sports or simply need fun ways to help your child burn off energy after a day of socially distanced school, Nike's PLAYlist is a fun, kid-friendly way to get everyone moving.

    Need more movement inspiration for fall? Here are 5 ways my family is getting up and getting active this season:

    1. Go apple picking.

    Truly, it doesn't really feel like fall until we've picked our first apple. (Or had our first bite of apple cider donut!) Need to burn off that extra cinnamon-sugar energy? Declare a quick relay race up the orchard aisle—winner gets first to pick of apples at home.

    To wear: These Printed Training Tights are perfect for when even a casual walk turns into a race (and they help my daughter scurry up a branch for the big apples).

    2. Visit a pumpkin patch.

    We love to pick up a few locally grown pumpkins to decorate or cook with each year. Challenge your child to a "strongman" contest and see who can lift the heaviest pumpkin while you're there.

    To wear: Suit up your little one in comfort with this Baby Full Zip Coverall so you're ready for whatever adventures the day brings.

    3. Have a nature scavenger hunt.

    Scavenger hunts are one of my favorite ways to keep my daughter preoccupied all year long. We love to get outside and search for acorns, leaves and pinecones as part of our homeschool, but it's also just a great way to get her exercising those gross motor skills whenever the wiggles start to build up.

    To wear: It's not truly fall until you break out a hoodie. This cozy Therma Elite Kids Hoodie features a mesh overlay to release heat while your child plays.

    4. Have a touch-football game.

    Tip for parents with very little kids: It doesn't have to last as long as a real football game. 😂 In fact, staging our own mini-games is one of our favorite ways to get everyone up and moving in between quarters during Sunday football, and I promise we all sleep better that night.

    To wear: From impromptu games of tag to running through our favorite trails, these kids' Nike Air Zoom Speed running shoes are made to cover ground all season long.

    5. Create an indoor obstacle course.

    Pretending the floor is lava was just the beginning. See how elaborate your personal course can get, from jumping on the couch to rolling under the coffee table to hopping down the hallway on one foot.

    To wear: These ready-for-any-activity Dri-FIT Tempo Shorts are perfect for crawling, hopping and racing—and cuddling up when it's time to rest.

    This article was sponsored by Nike. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

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