One of the most challenging things about motherhood for me is that there are no breaks. There’s no day off, there’s no vacation - in fact vacation can often feel like a more difficult version of daily life as schedules get disrupted, planning for our food can get tricky and everybody’s running low on sleep. No one gives mothers permission to take a break. There’s no national program where every mom gets three hours of free babysitting every week so she can get her hair cut or go to her OBGYN alone or take a damn nap. This basically exists in France and I wish I could unread Bringing up Bebe so I didn’t have to know that French mothers get to go shopping or go to the gym solo on the government’s dime.
I think that even if I had had run-of-the-mill children, I would have sucked pretty bad at taking breaks from motherhood. But I had Ellie and she’s been hard. I have felt for a very long time like I’m the only person in the world who can care for her. There have been many times when I’ve tried to relax and let go for a couple of hours, and her caregiver ends up feeding her the wrong foods and I return to a little girl with a tummy ache. It just didn’t feel worth it. So for a very long time, I didn’t take breaks.