'Caring For Yourself First' Is A Joke When You're A Mom

Photo: Nicoleta Ionescu / Shutterstock
'Caring For Yourself First' Is A Joke When You're A Mom

I'm going to have such a lovely day. I've decided to start taking the advice of every person ever to have an opinion and care for myself first. Because "If Mommy doesn't take care of herself, how can she be expected to take care of everyone else?" blah, blah, blah.

I begin my morning by getting up before the kids. How great it is to have a full five minutes at 6 AM to blearily stare at my coffee as it drips into the pot. Oh no, I didn't plan on only having five minutes.

I had planned on having at least a half-hour of being the only one who required my attention, but the disturbing sixth sense that my kids have for disrupting silence is on point.

What's the difference between quietly enjoying sips of hot coffee as you contemplate important things like how long it's been since you last tweezed your eyebrows and languidly scroll through your Pinterest feed, and slopping cold joe all over the front of your pajama jeans while wondering exactly how many hours of TV babysitting it takes before your kids' brains really do start to melt?

Yep, great start.

Next, I prepare myself a nutritious breakfast. Nevermind the study that says breakfast isn't the most important meal of the day. When you were raised on the mantra, you eat breakfast, damnit.

What a wonderful feeling to be satisfied first thing in the morning, knowing I will start my day right with the fresh berries and yogurt I dutifully prepare for myself.

We'll just gloss over the fact that my kids decide they want my breakfast instead of the sugar-bomb cereal they beg me for. Sure, you can each have your own bowl of yogurt. Yes, you may have some of my berries.

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Because sharing is caring, right?

Wow, this is so fulfilling.

Now, fueled by gulps of cold coffee and bites of yogurt I've managed to scrape from the edges of the container, I decide a shower is the next step in my quest for self-care. The best way to be productive is to be clean and dressed for the day. (Supposedly.)

Though I can totally rock doing nothing in my Target maxi dress just as well as in my threadbare pajamas, up goes the volume on the TV, off come the clothes, and aaahhhh, finally.

Hello, hot bliss. Ooohhhh, there goes the tension from my shoulders just as a child comes slamming into the bathroom.

"I have to pee!"

"Use the other toilet!"

"But I want to be with yooooooouuuuu!"

"Ugh, fine, but DON'T FLUSH."

Alright, shower, let's get back to that spot at the base of my neck... FLUSH. I barely manage to leap out of the way as my hot, liquid masseuse turns into a beat-down courtesy of Elsa's snow monster, Marshmallow.

The moment for bliss lost, I step back into the recovering water to wash up as another child comes in.

"I have to poop!"

"We have two bathrooms!"

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The shower curtain gets pushed aside as the intrusive child queries, "Can I shower with you?"

"No! I thought you had to poop? I'm done in here anyway."

So much for leaving the shower with clean-shaven armpits. I shut the water off, grasp for an adult-sized towel and move to leave the bathroom when the child, now firmly planted on the toilet, insists I stay.

Since I'm taking care of myself this morning and my mood is so light, I take the opportunity to apply a bit of product to my hair and face.

As the last bits of makeup are applied to the congratulatory statement of, "Wow, you look much prettier now, Mommy!" I hear a fighting match erupt in the living room. I step out the bathroom only to immediately be called back so I can "help" wipe a butt.

Apparently I need to start asking for "help" with the laundry, so I don't ever have to make an effort with it again.

Wrapped in a towel, I head to the living room, where an epic battle over the TV remote continues, eclipsed by the toddler who managed to get through the baby gate and is now on the dining table dancing in soggy cocoa puffs. At least I won't be getting this mess on my clothes.

The remainder of my day continues in a similar fashion: take care of the kids so I can take care of myself so I can then clean up after the kids.

So I give up. My new definition of successful self-care is feeding everyone granola bars and fruit snacks until Daddy gets home, when I can finally shave my armpits in peace.

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Jessica Cobb is a writer who's writing has been featured on Scary Mommy, xoJane, Mamalode, Sammiches and Psych Meds, Mamapedia Voices, BLUNTmoms, and BlogHer, and she is working on publishing her first children’s book.

This article was originally published at Scary Mommy. Reprinted with permission from the author.