Moms Don't Need 'Me Time' -- We Need Help

by Rebekah Svensson
A mom holding a newspaper in one hand and her head in the other, looking frustrated.
Julia Meslener for Scary Mommy and Underwood Archives/Getty

“Me time.” What a crock of shit. Oh, I should probably state this right up front: This article is not for the faint of heart. If swearing, unfiltered opinions, and harsh truths offend you, this post is not for you. Go watch HGTV.

“Me time” is complete bullshit.

Oh yeah, it’s like that. The whole concept of “me time” pisses me the fuck off. Y’all, if a mom is burnt out from everyday life she does NOT need a pat on the head and a pedicure, she needs HELP. Like, legitimate help. Not the kind where someone else takes out the trash and then hounds the hell out of her until she says thank you and treats the person like a patron saint.

Oh yes, people of the internet, today we’re going to talk about “me time” and why it is the stupidest thing on the planet. It’s not so much the term ‘me-time’ that gets under my skin, but the thought that merely giving a mother an hour or two to ignore her problems only to come home to the same amount, if not MORE, shit for her to do is asinine. You want to help a mom be less overwhelmed and happier? Do some of her dishes/laundry/cooking/child-wrangling. Every. Damn. Day.

Basic human care is not a luxury, dammit!

When did going to the dentist become a break? When did getting a haircut become anything other than a necessity? Why are my runs considered anything but required for my overall health? Why is ANYTHING centered on the mom considered “me time” for her? Sorry y’all, but taking a dump shouldn’t be considered a break if my kids don’t barge in. It’s fucking ridiculous.

No one thanks me for watching my kids while my husband runs errands, so why the hell is it considered “me time” when I go fucking grocery shopping? This has to stop. All of it has to stop.

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Why do moms experience burnout?

You mean aside from the fact that our “breaks” consist of peeing alone? Because we do it all. I don’t mean that in the superhuman kind of way, I mean it in the indentured servant sort of way. We. Do. EVERYTHING. What’s for dinner next Tuesday night? Did the dog get his heart worm pill? Who did the laundry? Cooked dinner? And, in a lot of cases, worked all day? That’s right. The mom.

Sure, there are a lot of dads out there that do a lot too, but they don’t have this weird concept of “me time” floating around. BECAUSE THEY DON’T NEED IT. I have to make sure everything is in order before I poop or take a shower. I have to secure childcare before I run an errand or drag the tiny monsters with me. Men typically don’t have to do that. They just … do their stuff.

Part of the burnout is the physical work we do on a daily basis, but a lot of it is the mental load. Remembering ALL the things. Great Aunt Beatrice’s birthday? Who do you think remembers, sends the card, and calls? Kids’ doctor’s appointments, meal planning, feeding the pets, reading the books on child development and tracking every damn behavior. All of it. It’s like Grand Central Station in our heads ALL THE FUCKING TIME! And guess what? Almost none of it concerns ourselves!

Won’t “me time” help, then?!

FUCK. NO. It doesn’t help. All it does is take all the shit we were going to do in that 1-2 hours and shoves it out. Typically more stuff piles on top of it too while we’re being “pampered” (read: thinking about all the shit we have to do, remember, have, and be). Unless someone is literally doing all the stuff we would be doing at that point in time, “me time” is pretty damn useless. Maybe even harmful. And yet, we’re supposed to be grateful for the opportunity! We’re supposed to come back refreshed! I call bullshit. We don’t need “me time.” We need help.

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We need some recognition for the insane amount of work we do day in and day out. We need sleep, good food that we didn’t cook, assistance with chores, and help with the mental load. Hell, we need ACKNOWLEDGMENT of the fucking mental load! Moms are people too, dammit! Not employees! We need a break that doesn’t come with a massive backlog of work. Better yet, we need less of a load overall.

A lot of us moms are like boiling pots of water. This stupid concept of “me time” tilts the lid in a vain attempt to keep us from boiling over, but no one ever thinks to turn down the goddamned heat. Instead, life keeps turning the heat up and up and up. We boil faster and faster. Someone tilts the lid by so very graciously giving us “me time” and we’re supposed to be all better … but all that really did was release just a tiny bit of the pressure. The pot is still at a raging boil. We need help to turn down the heat. If the heat never lessens, things will NEVER get better, regardless of how many times the lid gets lifted.

What moms really need is help. Continuous, dependable help. We don’t need to be shamed for asking for it, considered “less than” if we can’t deal with our kids for one more second, and judged every time we point out this nonsense.

Well, let’s talk about what that help we need looks like, shall we?

Affordable childcare.

This one is a no-brainer. We need someone to take care of our kids from time to time for a variety of reasons. I am 100% convinced that humans are not made to parent alone. We need a squad and a community, and to share the responsibility. Without shame. Basically, we need respite care. Otherwise, we have massive epidemics of mental illness in moms. Gee, I wonder why?

Less judgment from other moms.

For real. Knock that shit off. We’re not doing each other any favors by being judgy bitches. If we don’t support each other, how the hell do we stand a chance with society as a whole?

More realistic division of labor in the home.

Duh. But this is still a thing in 2019! Laundry is not just for women. Cooking, cleaning, bedtime, and all those things are not the mom’s job. They are the parent’s job. Can we please stop with the stupid fucking gender roles at home, please? It no longer applies. Just like being challenged to duel, it is outdated as fuck.

More flexibility in the workplace without punishment.

Having personally been penalized indirectly for birthing a child and then feeding said child with my body, I can say for certain that we need to stop saying we value mothers in the workplace and actually fucking do it. The amount of time a person spends sitting at their desk should have zero impact on how they are viewed in the workplace. Most of us moms can do 3x the amount of work in half the time, and yet we get snubbed because ‘we aren’t there as much as the dudes’.

Proper education of our boys.

Oh, I have boys and you can bet your ass they’ll do laundry, cook, and clean! As well as manage their own damn mental load. This is help for the next generation of moms, but it is help we all must give. Let’s teach our boys that they have to do the work too, and let’s teach our girls to expect them to.

The freedom to parent in a way that actually works.

I am so sick of people suggesting a “parenting style” to me, or criticizing how I deal with my son’s tantrums. If you aren’t the one dealing with it 24/7 you get to say NOTHING. Moms can’t win! No matter how we parent, someone has something to say about it. JUST STOP!

Is that all? Nope. Not even close. But this is a blog post, not a dissertation. Honestly, I could go on forever, but this is a start. Basically, treat us with the respect and compassion we deserve. Thank us for all the shit we do. Take on some of the shit yourself. Stop judging us because we aren’t freakin’ perfect. We moms are the most badass people on the planet. And it’s about time we are acknowledged for the insane amount of work we do day in and day out.

Don’t tell me to get some “me time” to feel better. A pat on the head and a pedicure is like me offering a dude a penny for a day’s work. It’s FUCKING INSULTING. Get with the program people, an hour “off” doesn’t fix the epidemic of overworked, over-criticized, and underappreciated moms. The only thing that will fix that is HELP.