Sometimes I feel like a prisoner in my own home.

Yes, I know—it’s a sentence I’ve handed down to myself.

I know. 

Having a handful of young kids means I’m inherently bound to my home base, because it’s just that—home. Of course, there are necessary outings most every day: kids need to be shuttled to and from school; we need to have milk in the refrigerator; diapers and caffeine need to be replenished.

But getting out? It takes so much mental energy and pre-thought to make it happen that some days, it makes me want to scream. 

Take this morning, for example. My husband had the morning off. In the span of about 90 minutes, he met a friend for coffee, stopped at the bank, grabbed a few groceries, and swung by the clinic where his dad was having treatment to say hello. 

Those tasks would have taken me untold HOURS to accomplish. 

The back and forth from the car with kids who can’t buckle themselves in or out of car seats. 

The cries of “I’m hunnnngry!” from the back seat that would necessitate me chucking partially opened (with my teeth) fruit snack packs in the preschooler’s general direction with the hand that isn’t on the wheel. 

The art of trying to balance a fussy baby on my hip while manhandling a shopping cart through a snow-packed parking lot and trying to keep a three-year-old from darting into oncoming traffic. 

Bonus: it’s probably ten below. 

Honestly, I’m tired just thinking about it. 

And that’s not to say anything about the things I need to do but simply cannot arrange the stars to align to actually DO. I’m overdue to see my doctor for my yearly exam. I haven’t had my hair cut or colored in a solid six months. My dentist is probably on the verge of giving up on seeing the whites of my eyes or the pinks of my gums ever again. 

Because I’m held captive by this little thing called motherhood.

“Well, hey,” you might say, “Why not drop the kids off with someone else for an hour or two? You’ve got to take care of you! Self-care is important!”  

I know you mean well. I really do. And thank you, truly, for the concern of my welfare. 

But do you know how hard it is to actually DO that? 

We’re supposed to be “practicing self-care” as busy moms of littles, right? It’s a popular buzzword in the lexicon of modern motherhood. I’m supposed to deposit my children with other caregivers, schedule that pap, stroll those Joanna Gaines-packed aisles of Target on the regular in solitude with a latte in-hand and time to burn. 

But it’s just not that easy. It’s as simple and as complicated as that. 

Guess what? It’s a season. 

It won’t last forever. 

One day, I’ll run errands effortlessly and efficiently to my heart’s content. 

I’ll have a standing appointment with my hairdresser I’ll never miss.

I’ll join that yoga class with a friend and go out for coffee afterward on a whim, then stay for two hours chatting and laughing. 

But not today. Not in this season. 

Right now, I’m bound to the life I’ve chosen. To the life that makes me audibly scoff when I hear other women extolling self-care like it’s the secret to all of life’s struggles and sorrows and unending stress. 

I’m held captive by this season of life that might make Brené Brown cringe—but it’s fleeting and full and frustratingly beautiful. 

I’m OK with that, for now. 

Because guess what? I’ve learned I’m not alone. We’re all doing the best we can, and I think we’re doing alright.

It’s a season. I’ll break free eventually. 

So will you. 

Until then, I’ll embrace this season for what it is—overgrown roots and all—and mentally high-five my pretty amazing cellmates when our tired eyes meet in the school pick-up line. 

Carolyn Moore

Carolyn traded a career in local TV news for a gig as a stay-at-home mom, where the days are just as busy and the pay is only slightly worse. She lives in flyover country with her husband and four young kids, and occasionally writes about raising them at Assignment Mom