Proud Mama’s Girl

I’ve always had trouble sleeping. Even as a baby, my parents told me that I was fussy and never fell asleep or stayed asleep for very long. Even as a kid, I would wake up multiple times throughout the night.

In college my sleep schedule became more erratic to the point of being unhealthy for my well being. My anxiety worsened (perhaps due to the lack of sleep, among other things) which in turn negatively impacted my sleep. It was a vicious cycle I still have yet to escape. Even after college, sleep has been eluding me. And this time it isn’t because of my social life. I lie in my bed, trying to fall asleep for hours before finally falling asleep, only to wake up every two hours.

It’s no wonder I find myself feeling like a zombie at times.

Recently, I talked to my boss about these problems.

Instead of jumping to a list of things I could do to fall asleep (turn electronics off, melatonin, sleeping pills, meditation, etc., which, let’s be real, I know about; I’ve done my research and had a therapist), she asked me, “When did you have the best sleep of your life?”

Her question roamed around my mind for a while. I couldn’t really think of the last time I slept soundly. Then, I remembered that as a kid, I would wake up an hour or two after falling asleep, and I would tiptoe out to the living room where my mom was, watching a soap on TV. I would bury my head in her lap and fall sound asleep within minutes. That was where I fell asleep the fastest and the deepest.

“I think that’s where I felt the most safe,” I explained to my boss.

I realize now that this memory is one of the reasons why I like to sleep with Netflix on in the background; it reminds me of the nights I fell asleep in my mother’s lap while she watched TV. Of course there are other aspects too. Physically being next to someone who would guard me with her life, my mother stroking my hair, feeling her heartbeat against my head, etc.

My boss suggested that I ask my mom to send me a piece of clothing that smells like my mom. Perhaps having something of that sort near me would help me fall asleep better.

I texted my mom asking her to send me a shirt that smelled like her to help me sleep. Her concern for my sleep and anxiety broke down my usual facade of “I’m okay. I’m doing great. Don’t worry about me, Mom.”

I finally told her how stressful it has been, not being able to find a full-time job that I care about, feeling like a complete failure, and feeling so goddamn alone all the time. I told her about my anxiety eating at me. I told her I was worried I was letting her and my dad down.

I used to laugh at the “Keep calm and call mom” taglines, but I finally understood. When the going gets tough, embrace your inner mama’s-girl-ness.

I truly believe with all my heart that it is okay to not have your shit together by 23, to call your mom and ask for help, and to crave to be in your mommy’s arms when it feels like the world is crumbling around you.

I’ve always been in such a hurry to grow up and be a “real adult,” and I’ve spent the last decade trying to prove to my mom that I was fiercely independent and that I didn’t need her help anymore. But the truth is, I do. I still do.

And you know what? I’m not ashamed of that.

I think it is important to have a rock in your life, and mine happens to be my mom. I can fuck up. I can fail miserably. I can piss her off insanely, but I don’t think I will ever come across someone who loves me as much as she does. Someone who will try her darndest to ensure I am happy.

We definitely have our differences, and I’m not saying in any way, shape, or form that my mother is perfect. The truth is, I’ve always said I would never be like my mom. We fight about political, social, and economic issues. We fight about curfew. We fight about my dad. We fight about life choices.

The last couple of years, however, taught me that when it comes to the important things, like fighting for me, caring about me, and supporting me, I want to be just like my mom.

There definitely is a magic touch of my mom that still exists. She stopped being a superhero to me when I started middle school. Strangely enough, she is back to being a superhero in my eyes. A realistic one though. I know she’s human and flawed, but there is something superhuman about how much she cares and worries about me. I certainly don’t deserve how much she loves me, considering how much of a brat I was to her throughout my teenage years. But I’ll take it. I need it. I crave it.

I’m still a mama’s girl. A proud, little mama’s girl.



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