I had a major parenting fail yesterday. My three-and-a-half-year-old, who has been basically potty trained for months now, had a huge accident. I'm talking soaked underwear, pants, socks, even the living room rug. Normally I can roll with the pee-soaked punches, but this time, watching the puddle grow on the floor, something in me snapped. And I snapped at my kid.
In between planning a solo getaway to a remote beach and writing the job posting for the nanny I so desperately wanted to hire, my mind kept going back to Gisele Bundchen. Just an hour before my meltdown, I read an article about her in the Daily Mail -- or, more specifically, her belief that in order to be a good parent, moms must put themselves first. "It's very important to nourish yourself, take care of yourself," the mother of two told The Sunday Times Style magazine. "You know how they say on the plane that you have to put the oxygen mask on first and then put it on your child? So, I think it is the same, as a mum, to take care of myself."
Now, this advice is hardly new. I first read it in Project Runway alum Laura Bennett's 2010 book, Didn't I Feed You Yesterday? A Mother's Guide to Sanity in Stilettos. My Aunt Sandy also drove the point home in a letter she wrote to me just before I gave birth to my son. And I know all of these women are right. I'm seeing it firsthand: burning the candle at both ends + being on mom duty 24/7/365 for three-plus years = losing it over a puddle of pee.
Still, carving out some much-needed me-time is a little like eating more salmon or getting into Scandal. I know I should do it, but at the end of the day, who has the time or the energy? To be honest, I don't know if there's even room anymore for down time -- something that I became acutely aware of just days after bringing my baby home from the hospital. If I wasn't changing diapers or stressing about a good nursing latch, then I was doing laundry, trying to quiet a crying jag or rocking him to sleep. Without realizing it, I had forgotten to leave time for me to recharge my batteries. I was shocked at how quickly and easily that happened.
While it's easy to blow off what a staffed-up supermodel says about motherhood (after all, is her purse brimming with used Boogie Wipes?), I think Gisele is right on the money here. Finding that balance is easier said than done, of course -- I've tried it too many times to count -- but maybe, just maybe, yesterday's blow-up will give me the kick in the pants I need to start treating my own QT as seriously as I do my kid's playdates.
Now it's your turn: How are you doing with this whole life balance thing? Have you been able to find some down time for yourself?
Image of Gisele Bundchen courtesy of Gisele Bundchen via Instagram