PS: I love you but I need a minute

Recently I noticed I had become very irritable. I didn’t feel like talking to anyone or have the motivation to complete pending tasks, but one thing I couldn’t take time off from was being a parent.

I had to continue to push through even when I felt tired with pressure from work and other commitments, I just couldn’t say to my kids, “mummy needs a minute”.

as important as parenting is, your role cannot be effective if you don’t look after yourself and invest in the other aspects of you.

Pamela Shodeinde

The last lockdown had hit us all really bad, and although I was a key worker, my husband and I had made the choice to have the kids at home because the situation at the time just felt too scary to send them into school.

When it got too much, I tried to get them a place in school, but there had no spaces for them as it had been oversubscribed. So, we plodded on and I literally had to switch off from my own feelings and push through, counting down to when they returned to school in March. As soon as my kids returned to school, I literally fell ill but still had to carry on pushing through.

I had no downtime at all because when I finish work, I spend the rest of the day catching up on chores and reports I had to complete with deadlines always looming. What I had not fully comprehended was the impact working two full-time jobs had on me.

Then one Saturday a few weeks ago, I struggled to get out of bed. Each time I tried, my body refused to move. My kids and I had a ritual on Saturday mornings where we made pancakes together, and they looked forward to it.

I was too tired to get off the bed.

So, with the best intentions to remind me that it was time for us to make pancakes, they came to my room
“Good Morning mummy! It’s Saturday, why are you still in bed, we need to go and make pancakes.”

At that moment I felt so angry at them thinking

“can’t they see I am tired? Who would ask anyone to make pancakes when they can see the state I am in”.

Without thinking, I responded, “I cannot make pancakes today, go and have cereal.”

I lay back down in bed asking them to just leave then the meltdown and protest began. I just ignored them. When they eventually left, they went to my husband who realising how bad I was feeling, just asked them to leave me alone and went to get them breakfast from McDonald’s (best decision because if he tried making the pancakes, he may have burnt the house down as he can’t cook to save his life).

I literally stayed in my room all day that day and refused to see or talk to anyone. I just binged watched several Netflix shows.

Later on, that evening, my older daughter came upstairs with a hand-written card while I was sleeping and left it by my pillow. When I woke up I opened it and it read “Thank you, mummy, for all you do for us. I know you were tired today and I have done all the dishes and daddy has cleaned up downstairs. Would you like some tea?”

Thank you Mummy, We love you

I literally cried because I realised that I had failed to negotiate time for myself with those I loved because I felt they needed me to keep going.

I didn’t realise that they didn’t know what I needed because I hadn’t asked them for it.

I called both my kids and told them I was sorry for how I was with them earlier. I explained that sometimes when mummy gets too tired, mummy can become very “grumpy”.

Toni in her stylish way just said to me

“But mummy, you can just tell us you need a break, and Tumi and I will do all your chores, you didn’t have to be grumpy”.

We all laughed knowing who was truly going to be doing the chores out of the two. I promised them that I would tell them what I needed from them to stop mummy from being grumpy, and so help me God, I intend to keep that promise.

These past few weeks, I have become more intentional about resting and looking after my physical and mental health.

I read something recently that made me think even more about this “as important as parenting is, your role cannot be effective if you don’t look after yourself and invest in the other aspects of you”. That means investing in your health, mental wellness, interests, and identity.

My husband with the best will in the world tries so hard to help me, but when I make it look so effortless, whereas I am truly struggling, then I cannot expect him to know where and when I need help.

Taking breaks from your parenting role doesn’t make you a bad parent, in fact, helps you to recharge your batteries and feel rejuvenated so your children can experience a refreshed parent who is happy and not tired all the time.

As mothers, it is not always easy to ask for help because we want to be everything to everyone especially our kids and spouses. However, must understand that respite is necessary and important. It is not a luxury!

Let’s learn to utilise the support network around us. Spouses, partners, friends, and family. It is essential to take intentional steps to refuel before your battery goes flat.

Even your children will thank you for taking this step because they’ll rather have a parent who is present than one who is clearly tired and unable to engage meaningfully.

Gift yourself the opportunity to rest and do things that are important to you and make you happy; do it because you deserve it. Just know when to say “I love you, but I need a minute”. I am learning to negotiate this, I hope you will too.


6 thoughts on “PS: I love you but I need a minute”

  1. Pam this is so inspiring. Sometimes mum’s don’t stop. I think we need the reminder to take car of ourselves.

  2. I can relate to this! The truth is we tend to do more thinking “I am the only one that can do it “my way”; It’s much more easier and quicker for me to do it than to train or teach someone else to help me but recently I realised asking for HELP/Support, I am stating that I am not Perfect just like everyone else. No one is perfect and everyone has room to grow. The big thing is to ask for HELP when we need it as Life is too Freaking short . In my house we are all in this boat together so we all need to help each other😉
    I can not come and kill my self jare🤞🏽

  3. I love your write up and can relate to it. Although my kids are younger but they still offer to help with dishes; knowing the mess they’ll make will turn out to be more work than help, I usually just decline them helping. As mums, we tend to have worked out a better and quicker way of doing the chores and that’s why we choose to be ‘SuperMum’ but it is very important to pause and REST; even have a ME time.

  4. Amen!!!!
    This is so important. The souls of children are beautiful. Piggy backing off baby girl, We really just have to express our expectations. I am purposeful in letting my plenty children know when I need a moment to myself.
    Well done, Pam! Beautiful piece ❤️❤️

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