You’ve heard of sleep deficit, otherwise known as the cumulative effect of not getting enough sleep. Well I believe there is such a thing as a motherhood deficit.
It occurred to me when I was corresponding back and forth with a friend recently. We were discussing how time away from our children actually makes us crave more time away. We agreed that, rather than being restorative, it sometimes makes it harder to resume where we left off.
Here’s my theory.
As mothers we spend so much time giving of ourselves to our children, our partners, our employer, friends or family and countless others that we actually accumulate a deficit. A deficit happens when an entity spends more than it takes in — otherwise known as motherhood. We forget to regularly pay ourselves in rest, relaxation, and tranquility. Then, when we actually do try to make a deposit in the bank of self, the bank gets greedy and wants full payback.
It makes perfect sense. When I had my first child I think I went into shock and I’m not sure I’ve ever recovered or found my footing as an individual since then. Certainly I love being a mother, it’s a role I wouldn’t give up for the world. But I love myself too, and I somehow forgot that. My life is defined by all the things that I am to others and even when I’m trying to make a deposit in the bank of self, I’m subconsciously pulled in a myriad of directions. My mind is never free and clear and so I never overcome my deficit.
I enjoy my time away, time when I have only myself to worry about, if even for an hour. Parenthood isn’t all coming up roses, it’s hard, very hard, so I’m being honest when I say that time to myself sometimes makes me nostalgic for the simplicity of my former life. Even when I do get time to myself I feel crazed to fill it with all of the hobbies and pursuits I enjoy. I’m always running, even when I’m supposed to be relaxing.
I miss lazy mornings spent in bed. I miss coming home at night and not having to cook dinner unless I feel like it. I miss going out for an evening and thinking only of my bedtime. I miss long and luxurious showers. I miss hours of reading in a cozy chair with hot coffee. I miss being alone in my house. I miss dinner parties with friends. I miss Saturdays spent shopping for hours. I miss quiet. All of these things used to be restorative. They kept me going. They filled my bank of self. These days they are few and far between and I’m suffering from the motherhood deficit.
Do you believe there is a motherhood deficit? How do you refuel and do you ever feel fully recharged?Image: ‘Pikes Place Morning‘ via a Creative Commons license.