Selfishly Titled: Me.

Please forgive me for my bluntness. This one is a smack in the face to that nagging guilt and that never-ending list of to-dos too. 

It was 9pm and River was still fussing about a bit, going in and out of her room and refusing sleep. Oak had just went down. I had told Peter that I was “clocked out,” and it was his turn to take over. We had both worked that day. He edited in our home office and I tried to complete what I could during nap. The work I had to complete would have to come before feeding myself an actual meal, and after I had cleaned up the morning mess. Per usual, I was left with very little time to get a lot done. This is something that no longer annoyed me, as much as it just became routine. Always, there seemed to be not enough time and so much to do. So 9pm- it was my time to tackle that long list, and if I was really ambitious, shower and show Peter attention too, of course.

When 9pm rolled around the last thing I needed was for River to wake up. And the last place I wanted to be was sitting on the couch doing work. Maybe first on my list of things that I’d rather be doing other than emails and mundane things of that nature, was spending some more quality time with my husband. Second, second would have been having a moment to myself. A moment to not extend anymore energy to anyone but me.

Yes, me.

It feels as if it’s so terribly wrong to go about this motherhood thing with even a whisper of the word me. But dammit, here I go… I need me time to be a great mama. We all do. 

My friend sent me this podcast and goodness, it threw me. It threw me in the best kind of way. I felt as if it was something I had articulated quietly among friends and family. It had finally been spoken about publicly. This podcast was for me. In reality, this podcast, this book, it’s for all of us. All of us who are quietly dealing with the struggles of being a parent… a good parent, an individual, and a present partner too. The difficulties are far more common than we all would like to admit. 
If I look back on motherhood, and how and when, I feel like the best kind of mama, it’s when I put myself first. Simply said, and yet, it feels like the most selfish kind of statement to say aloud. It’s true.

“Today parents pour more capital, emotional and financial, into their children than ever before.” -Jennifer Senior

There were days, weeks even, when I felt utterly rundown by the fact that I wasn’t doing all of it great or equally. If I was down on the floor playing with River, than I was mostly likely neglecting work. Work that more than likely had a deadline. If I was working, well, then I wasn’t being a good parent. I wasn’t being present and I neglected to soak up that moment in River’s and Oak’s life just as they are. Just as I was. It felt as if I was failing at giving myself to anything 100%.

The thing is, I love being a mom. The most profound moments of my 25 years have been moments of mothering. Special and raw moments. Moments of birthing and cultivating these tiny individuals. I have found this distinct purpose and joy in life while raising them as best I can with Peter. They are not a burden, but they’re work. Work that I’ve chosen to take on, but nevertheless, work.

Everything with them seems to go so incredibly fast. I blinked and River was four. I found myself aching for another one. I blinked and he arrived and is now almost 8 months. He’s crawling and talking a bit. She’s talking a lot and developing more of who she will probably be for a while. I blinked and I grew too.

I grew because I had too. I grew because I invested time in myself. That me time became essential. I knew that to grow, I had to grow as an individual as well. A separate being from my two beautiful children. To remind myself of the importance of this, I would always ask myself “What would be left of me when they’re older and gone living their lives? I want these years raising them to not only be of importance because they were the years I spent raising them. Yes, despite the day to day struggles, what we do as mothers is down right amazing, brave, and wonderful. But when it’s all said and done, when they’re old and I’m older, and we are no longer living under the same roof, when the fruits of my labor many years ago are no longer evident in the day to day, what will be left for me? I think of that. I need… we need to continue to pour into ourselves as individuals.

And somewhere in-between feeling like we’re failing at being parents because we’re working, and feeling like we’re failing at being creatives and professionals because we are being parents, I won’t look at myself and say that I completely failed on that me portion. I believe it’s really the only portion that we can actually fail at if we let ourselves. The rest of it tends to be mind games and negative thoughts. But the me portion, I don’t know, that seems real and true. And when speaking to my elders and peers, it’s continually reinforced. I need to be the best me to be the best kind of mama.

photos from our vacation (which we are still on) in Florida. 

0 thoughts on “Selfishly Titled: Me.

  • Reply Alexis Kuchenbecker February 8, 2015 at 11:49 pm

    Life can be so crazy sometimes, I may not be a mama yet, but it was encouraging me and my best friend (she is) as we read this together. 🙂

    btw: that is my FAVORITE mural in Wynwood Walls, so fitting, I'm in South Florida too, let me know if you would ever love to collaborate.

    Best Wishes Xo.

  • Reply Josie February 9, 2015 at 2:07 am

    yes, to all of this. thanks for the podcast recommendation. i just finally finished serial and was wanting some new material!

  • Reply Emma Leavey February 9, 2015 at 9:41 am

    Wise words. I'm home alone this week with a toddler and a 4 month old while my husband is abroad for work. Your post and that brilliant insightful podcast interview came at just the right time!

  • Reply Anonymous February 9, 2015 at 2:02 pm

    "It felt as if I was failing at giving myself to anything 100%". My goodness, I've said this EXACT sentence to my husband recently. Being a mama is hard (of course I wouldn't change it for anything in the world), and while that's not a surprising fact, sometimes it's just nice to hear someone else say it, and be validated. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this post! I'm definitely going to checkout that podcast.

  • Reply Darcel {MahoganyWayMama} February 9, 2015 at 4:18 pm

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this topic. Over the last two years I've realized how important it is for me to take me time…I'm becoming a better mother for it! Going to check out that podcast and the book you shared on IG.

  • Reply Miss Lynzie February 9, 2015 at 6:24 pm

    This is the kind of thing, during my nearly twelve years of motherhood, that I remember, then forget, then remember all over again. But it a fact that the better I care for myself, the better I am able to care for my family. Surprisingly, I have found the same to be true of personal / work projects as well. The more focused I am on the things I have to get done, the more liberated I become to cultivate the things I want to be working on.

  • Reply Ester Barrios February 9, 2015 at 6:40 pm

    You are beautiful inside and out, and so inspiring!
    I wish to be a mum like you one day.
    Thank you for taking the time to write such beautiful words

  • Reply Savannah February 9, 2015 at 8:29 pm

    I'm turning 28 years old in March and something that I've realized from life experience is that I desperately need "me time" to be a good person, daughter, sister, employee, etc. And because it's beneficial for so many people for me to be my best, I've stopped viewing it as a selfish act to practice self care and guard my work/life balance fiercely. Good for you for recognizing that you need to take time for yourself.

    I've been reading Overwhelmed lately. You may enjoy it.

  • Reply LaTonya Yvette February 13, 2015 at 3:33 pm

    Hi Alexis! I loved this mural! I actually only went to visit South Florida, I'm a Brooklyn girl. I will be back for sure though!

  • Reply LaTonya Yvette February 13, 2015 at 3:33 pm

    Awesome, enjoy!

  • Reply LaTonya Yvette February 13, 2015 at 3:34 pm

    oh yay, so happy it helped a bit!


  • Reply LaTonya Yvette February 13, 2015 at 3:34 pm

    Yes, knowing that we all share this common ground is amazing and inspiring. It helps when it feels as if the days are so incredibly tough.


  • Reply LaTonya Yvette February 13, 2015 at 3:35 pm

    Yes! We all need it! Thanks for reading babe

  • Reply LaTonya Yvette February 13, 2015 at 3:36 pm

    Lynize, it's kind of crazy and yet, affirming to know that this isn't a temporary thing. I always thought that if I changed something or another, this would go away. It's good to know that it doesn't, but I can power through it.


  • Reply LaTonya Yvette February 13, 2015 at 3:36 pm

    Thanks so much for reading Ester!

  • Reply LaTonya Yvette February 13, 2015 at 3:36 pm

    Ill check it out! Thanks for the rec!


  • Reply Anonymous March 10, 2015 at 11:27 pm

    Wonderfully put! I love finding honest and relatable posts about motherhood. Will have to check out that book next!
    xx Ly

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