I am a responsible mom. The mom who throughly cleans the house before my grandkids, friends, and in-laws come over, even though I know the combined kids (thirteen of them) will completely mess up the house.
I am a diligent mom. We have family dinners and nightly storytime. My kids always have clean clothes. We listen to Bible songs in the car.
I am a thoughtful mom. I encourage my kids. I (rarely) raise my voice. I listen to my kids and make eye contact with them when I do.
I am an exhausted mom. It’s hard work being responsible, being diligent, being thoughtful.
I am a mom who needs a break once in a while. Even though I don’t like to admit it. I think that I can keep going, going, going. (I can’t.)
Recently, I had the chance to write the novelization for Moms’ Night Out. One section talks about a mom’s need for “oxygen.” And in the novel it goes something like this:
Instead of anger at [Allyson] making plans without asking [Sean], his face brightened. “You know how a flight attendant goes through the safety thing?” He talked with his hands, emphasizing his words, walking back toward them. “You know when you have to put on your oxygen first before assisting others?”
Allyson’s brow furrowed, and she wondered where he was going with this. “Are we flying somewhere is this what we’re doing?” She cocked her head to the side.
“You need your oxygen mask, Allyson. You need your mask on, before assisting others.” He pointed his fingers to Allyson, then to Bridget and then back to her. “Right? Before you can help others.”
I remember watching this movie and writing that scene. I also told myself, “I need to pay attention to this.” It wasn’t a passing thought. I told myself to REALLY pay attention.
For years (honestly) I rarely took a break. I went and went and went. And then I crashed. I’d get emotional. I’d feel like I was the Worst. Mom. Ever. I needed . . . oxygen. Yes, I needed (and still need) to pay attention to that cinematic advice.
Four ways to get oxygen:
- A long conversation with a friend. With no kids around. To talk about adult stuff. To share dreams. To talk about shoes or a Scripture verse you read this week. On the phone is fine. In person is better.
- A date night with your husband to watch a movie you really want to see. A movie that doesn’t have dancing puppets or talking animals. A movie that will cause your heart to pound or make you laugh or cry—your choice.
- A visit to the library. Or the mall. Or the park. Or the museum—wherever you can get charged up.
- Or, like in the movie Moms’ Night Out, go out with a group of friends. Dress up. Go out for a nice dinner. Or . . . maybe a fun night of roller skating or bowling.
Moms may feel guilty for getting oxygen, but when we care for ourselves, we’re able to care for others even better. Everyone, even diligent, thoughtful, and exhausted moms, need oxygen. Where are you going to get yours today?
I’m giving away two copies of Moms’ Night Out! Enter using the widget below. Only those in the U.S. are eligible to win.