Last Monday I went to my doctor for a med check. When I upped my dose, she'd told me she wanted me to come back in a month to make sure I was doing better.
"But," she'd said. "I think what you really need is a break. I want you to go out by yourself, even just to get a cup of coffee or read a book in the park, twice before you come back next month. Or at least once. Okay?"
I totally didn't do my homework.
I walked into the office, sheepishly, trying not to hang my head or avoid eye contact because I didn't want to look suspicious. Bro nurse asked me about the local hockey team. I smiled and nodded.
She asked how I was. I said I was better. She told me to come back in 3 months.
She didn't ask about the breaks.
On Saturday night, I went to Mom's Night Out for the first time. I'd RSVP'd yes, but right up until 10 minutes before I was supposed to be there, I was totally planning to back out. I mean, dinner and drinks with other adults? Scary stuff. And even though these are the moms I have playgroups with every week, I wouldn't have my extroverted daughter to hide behind.
"I better text them and say I'm not coming."
"What?" asked my ever compassionate husband. "No. You were crazy today. Stop being ridiculous and go."
"Hey. I wasn't crazy. I ... WHY ARE YOU ALL TOUCHING ME? ... I should go."
I went. I got a Cosmo. We had Hibachi. We talked about our kids and our husbands, about our former lives, about Downton Abbey (HUH, so THAT'S what grown ups talk about). We laughed. Apparently, I'm funny sometimes.
When I realized they were cleaning up the restaurant around us, I glanced at my phone to check the time. 11:40. My breath caught in my throat a little. I'd been away from home that long? Was everything okay? I didn't have any messages. Had BG gone to bed okay? What had my husband done all night without me?
After we paid the bill and said goodnight, I walked to my car. It wasn't a pumpkin.
I was grateful I had gone. Or so I kept reminding myself as the vulnerability crept up into my brain.
Lately, I've been hearing it a lot. "You need to get a break, girl." "You deserve a break."
And I guess I'm just wondering, Why do I deserve it?
People are saying this to me as I'm sitting on my couch, typing on my laptop while my baby climbs my leg and my three year old bangs on her cat piano, making up a song about how mad she is that Baby Sister broke her styrofoam plane.
And the people who are saying this to me are often at work.
It's not that I don't think that being with my kids is worthy work. Not really. And yes, I get peopled out. I get overwhelmed. I get crazy.
But deep down inside, it really doesn't feel like I deserve a break.
My girls napped this afternoon. Both of them, at the same time. And even though I wanted to clean my kitchen, get a jump start on dinner, fold the laundry, exercise, I couldn't keep my eyes open, so I lay down too. I slept for an hour. And it was okay. Everything that needed to be done got done. And I felt less crazy.
It still feels a little bit like a failure or a weakness, though.