By Kirby Trahan

It’s 4 a.m., and I’m up for the damn day with my sleepless spawn. By 7 I’ve packed lunches, engaged in The Olympic Games of trying to dress a toddler, cleaned up a half gallon of milk from the floor and bathed my daughter in the kitchen sink — after I found her playing with (and licking) the toilet plunger. Deep breaths. In the middle of an exhale, I spy my son taking a piss on the back porch furniture. 

We all have our roles: diaper changer, kid wrangler, mess cleaner, love giver, peace keeper, teacher, fixer. 

It can be hard to remember who I was before I was covered in yogurt and chose my outfits by which one would best camouflage stains. It can be easy to continue on, failing to take time to find the balance between our roles and ourselves. 

In addition to breeding and trying to raise decent humans, the majority of us work one or multiple jobs. Balancing parenthood, a professional life and having a sense of self is harder than navigating through the fog of your first post-baby hangover. 

I’ve always believed I would be bad at being a selfless mother. Unconditional, yes. But do we actually need to be completely and all-consumingly selfless when it comes to our roles as parents? Aren’t we doing our children a disservice if we’re not teaching them to care for themselves first? While it’s certainly a daily battle, balance is vital to thriving, not just surviving. 

The house isn’t going to burn down if we watch an episode of “The Real Housewives” instead of putting in another load of laundry before bed. Somewhere along the way, we convinced ourselves: the busier we are, the better we are. Then, the to-do lists start to outweigh the want-to-do lists, and in turn, we start to lose pieces of our former selves. But they are not lost forever. 

Your balance is not going to look like anyone else’s. Not your best friends, or the mom with the annoyingly perfect hair at drop off. They might take a yoga class or volunteer their time to charity. You might want to take a nap, have a good cry or do absolutely nothing at all. Whatever it is, DO YOU. 

And seriously, get the babysitter, wash your hair with something besides dry shampoo and put on the damn dress. Then look in the mirror and reintroduce yourself to your reflection. 

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