It was Friday night. I was exhausted. We had just gotten the kids to sleep, and I went back to get my pjs on, and relax. But, I couldn’t relax. I immediately started making a list of things we had to do / get done over the weekend. If you’ve been there, you know. You know the feeling of exhaustion, but having a list a mile long staring you in the face.

Andrew would be starting an outage next weekend and working long hours + weekends, so we had to get going with things…

Family photos were tomorrow morning.

I managed to get laundry done, but we still had to fold it all and put it all away.

The house needs to be cleaned from top to bottom.

The basement looks like a tornado tore through it — a literal toy explosion. It had to get cleaned before we start the week.

And, shit! My online class. I had speeches to grade, emails to return, grades to approve and notes to get ready for class next week.

I’m behind on sharing all my finds for the week on social media. I needed to write my blog, get my newsletter ready, edit all my videos… the list just kept growing. Until, it hit me. The final straw… I promised the girls we would go to the pumpkin patch this weekend too.

Then, in come the tears + a breakdown, with Andrew getting a front row seat to it all.

“I don’t want to go to the pumpkin patch. I’m tired. I want some time for myself — to do something I want to do! I always say yes. Why do I do this?! No, we’re not going to the pumpkin patch!”

Then Andrew says, “It’s not about you or us, it’s about the kids!” Of course, he didn’t mean to, but this comment made me feel worse. I’m a terrible mom for not wanting to take them. How selfish of me. All the other moms have taken their kids to do all the fall things this year. I had taken mine to do none. This is just the damn pumpkin patch. One thing. And, here I am complaining. Deep down, I knew he was right. We should go. The kids will have a good time, and I know he and I will once we get there too.

But, I always feel like I do it for the kids, even when it’s not the best thing for me. That was the real problem here. It’s not about not wanting to go to the pumpkin patch or wanting to take them. I have depleted myself again. We mothers do this, ya know? Give and give and give. Say yes like 1,000,000 times (or at least it feels like that much) to others, our kids, our husbands, our friends, but no to ourselves.

So, I’m here to tell you, you don’t always have to “do it for the kids” — especially when it leaves you depleted or robs you of taking the time you need to be the best version of yourself. When we do this, it keeps us from being the mom we want to be. So, in the end, we both lose — we as mothers and our children. In theory, doing all the things looks great on paper because we’re giving our children all these experiences. But, we can’t do it all. And, when we try to, it takes away from the experience in the end. Why? Because we’re tired. And, I don’t just mean we need a nap. We’re tired in every sense of the word — physical, mental and emotional.

The truth: There will always be something else for our kids to do. Somewhere new to take them. A new experience to be had. At the core, it’s the memories we want to create, and we certainly don’t need a pumpkin patch to make memories. Some of my best memories as a child were the nights we spent at home watching movies and playing games. We shouldn’t feel like we have to go and do all the things because that’s all we see online these days — pictures at the pumpkin patch, the apple orchard, camping, and weekend trips. It’s great to do things for our kids, but it’s even better when we realize that taking care of ourselves makes the experiences we choose to do more memorable.

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