PSA: Pooping with the door closed is not relaxing "me time"—it's the bare minimum.

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The emotional, physical, and mental toll of being a parent—and especially of being a mom—can be overwhelming and even unbearable at times. Add in a global pandemic and it's enough to bring someone to their breaking point.

Without the normal outlets for stress due to COVID-19, moms are burning out on a whole new level and anxiety is on the rise. So it's no wonder well-meaning friends, family, and even strangers point to ideas to help Mom take that much-needed break and prioritize "me time."

An image of a woman brushing her hair.
Credit: Getty Images.

But lets just get one thing straight: Meeting your basic human needs is not actually self-care.

As @emily.the.mom.next.door puts it in her now-viral video, "Golly I wonder why I'm still so tired with all this 'relaxing' me time!" In the hysterical-because-it's-so-true video, this mom sarcastically points out just some of the super fulfilling things moms are encouraged to do as forms of self-care, such as:

  • "Cleaning yourself! Super!"
  • "Driving to the grocery shop alone! Dreamy!"
  • "Sitting down when you eat! Delightful!"
  • "Pooping with no one watching! My cup is full!"

Give me a freaking break. No, seriously, can we moms actually get a break from cleaning, planning, working, and momming to do something just for us?

In reality, all of these things are sort of the bare minimum of what it takes to be a human and live in the world—and not recommendations that would ever be made to Dad or even to non-parent friends.

Imagine telling a single, childless friend who's stressed out to "Just go enjoy a nice pee with the door locked, you deserve it!" Or telling a dad to go wild and "Take those extra 10 minutes to blow dry your hair!" Yea, it'd never happen.

And, listen, as a pregnant mom of a toddler, I'm really not picky when it comes to me time. There are going to be days when a solo car ride blasting my favorite music, even if it happens to be on the way to a prenatal appointment, counts as self-care. Sometimes that time away can recharge the batteries. But once this pandemic is long behind us and doing "normal" things is a bit easier, you bet your butt I'm hiring a sitter—or recruiting my partner—and making an appointment for a massage or simply laying outside and reading a good book.

It's time we moms set the bar higher for what counts as self-care and are held to the same standards as—oh, I don't know—Every. Other. Human. Being.