Brooke's Stories, Parenting

Low Fuel Warning.

“Low fuel warning,” my car told me.

“You and me both,” I thought, “you and me both.”

It had been one of those days, or weeks really, with all 3 kids being sick, multiple trips to the doctor’s office and minimal sleep on my end.

All of our usual activities were cancelled, and we were quarantined at home, burning through boxes of Kleenex’s; restraining kicking/screaming babies who did NOT want their boogers sucked out and waking up this particular morning to the sound of my 5 year old puking on the carpet directly next to my bed at 3:30 A.M.

Low. Fuel. Warning.

When that message displayed, I considered turning around and going back home, because we were already running late and stopping for gas really pushed us outside of the acceptable range of lateness when one has 3 small children. This range would require me to avoid eye contact when I rolled in there 25 minutes past our appointment time and I HATE being late for anything.

But, it was Friday and if I turned around, that would mean that we’d either have to wait until Monday to see a doctor or, likely, end up in urgent care over the weekend. I was lucky to even get a last minute appointment for her, which required us to be on the road in 10 minutes. Of course, it took about 20 minutes to actually get in the car. It started pouring down rain as soon as we headed out the door, so my already unkept bun, was now a frizzy, damp wreck and my already sick kids had cold rain poured on their bare heads as they coughed and wiped their snot on their jacket sleeves. My eyes felt heavy from being open entirely too much over the last week, and I was rocking a “smoky eye” that you don’t see on the covers of magazines.

Low. Fuel. Warning.

Traffic was slow moving, because, again, pouring rain, and then that daggone message popped up and I contemplated just losing it right then and there.

Low. Fuel. Warning.

I was running on fumes and 4 hours of sleep. All of my kids were coughing and crying because they didn’t feel good and there was nothing that I could do to help them.

Low. Fuel. Warning.

My husband worked second shift, so that left the brunt of the day on my shoulders; he would be asleep when we got our day started at 6 A.M. and he’d be at work when we started our bedtime routine, which took over an hour for 3 kids and 1 mom to give 3 baths, 3 bedtime stories, 3 songs and 2 more re-putting’s to bed. So, naturally, the struggles of the day were magnified when they were handled alone.

Low. Fuel. Warning.

It had been a while since I felt this overwhelmed, probably not since baby #3 was born, when I struggled with postpartum depression. But, this time was different, because unlike back then, I knew how to fill my cup this time.

This low fuel warning was the result of the undoing of self-care that had occurred for 2 weeks straight.

That’s all.

Just 2 weeks of chaos, and little sleep for me to be back to square 1, feeling overwhelmed and exhausted.

Low. Fuel. Warning.

But, what gets me through these days/weeks, now, is knowing that this is temporary; knowing that as soon as everyone gets better (they will get better one of these days), we can revert back to our “normal” that is filled with ways that I utilize self-care: going to church, going to play-dates, going to my moms group, going to the park; simply, talking to adults in real life.

I’ve realized that my low fuel warning comes on when I spend my days surrounded by 4 walls, with no adult conversation- strings of days where I am isolated, with only the company of my kids.

Days like this remind me of how important it is to take time for myself in whatever ways that I can.

Days like this remind me of how important it is to have a tribe, a mom friend, a support system that’s not only on social media, but IN REAL LIFE. Those online groups will only get you so far.

You have to get out there.

And I want you to know, that if you haven’t found those things, yet, make that a priority.

This is me giving you permission to do what feels “selfish” at first, and put yourself out there.

Find that moms group that has child care and go- even though you don’t know a single person there.

Go to that moms night out with the moms you haven’t had time to get to know, and ENJOY YOURSELF.

Eat the tacos.

Drink the margarita.

VENT.

Laugh.

Unwind.

Sign up for that gym membership that includes child care, even if you just slowly walk on the treadmill for an hour, uninterrupted, while listening to your 2000’s hip-hop station.

Your kids will thank you!

They will make friends; they will love having different toys to play with; they will love having a mom whose cup has been filled, who is not running on fumes, who is balanced and more patient and not yelling all the time.

We maintain everything else in our lives: our cars, our house, our kids.

Be intentional about maintaining yourself.

That’s more important than any oil change will ever be.

Low. Fuel. Warning…

How will you fill up?

 

 

How to practice self care when you're a tired overworked mom. Funny mom quotes about life with kids. Encouragement for overwhelmed moms how to take some time for yourself. #motherhood #momlife