Last night, my husband found me standing in my bedroom with my hands on my hips, utterly paralyzed. I spent the day wrangling two very energetic kids who are home from school for the summer, deep cleaning my home, tackling literal piles of laundry, and also trying to get my work done.
As a mom, author, and business owner who works primarily from home, summer can be a tough time for me. Without those precious school hours to focus on the things that need my undivided attention, I stay in a state of almost constant defeat. I love having my kids home with me. Truly, I do, but I also love my job. I love the work I do. And I feel sad when I am unable to do it well.
So, last night, after getting the kids in bed, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to focus on my work and my writing. Finally, I could focus without interruptions to get snacks, break up fights, and play pretend. But for some reason, after a day spent enduring the mental drain of those constant interruptions, I just couldn’t find the motivation. The thought of trying to focus on the difficult work of writing, which takes so much focus and attention, just felt overwhelming.
And that’s when my husband found me, frozen in our bedroom.
When he asked what was wrong, I said, “I just don’t know what to do. I’ve been waiting all day for some dedicated time to work, but now that it’s here, I just don’t have the energy. All I want to do is take a bath and read my book. But then, if I do that instead of working, I’m going to feel guilty.”
My husband stared at me for a moment and then said something that felt profound at the moment but that, looking back, should have been glaringly obvious.
“Sweetheart, you’re allowed to rest.”
Why did this idea stop me in my tracks? Shouldn’t I know that already?
The truth is that somewhere along the way, in all the busyness of motherhood and career life, I forgot that I need and deserve to rest. Somehow, I decided that taking time for myself was neglecting my marriage, my kids, or my work. Unless it’s something toward one of those obligations, it’s not worth my time.
And I preach about this shit for a living, damn it!!
Part of my job, part of what I spend so much time writing about, is the importance of self-care, self-love, and REST.
It just goes to show how deeply entrenched our feminine sense of duty to our families and our work really is. Despite spending hours writing about the importance of rest for women and moms, I still haven’t received the message. I still haven’t forsaken the intrinsic need to martyr myself for my family and work.
So, for all the women and moms like me, let me give you the gift my husband gave me:
You are allowed to rest.
You deserve to take time for yourself.
The things you need to do can wait while you do something you enjoy
You will enjoy your duties, and be better at them, when you’ve given yourself permission to rest.
Let’s get that into our collective brains. It’s about damn time. No more breaking our backs for no reason. We are human, and we deserve rest.