This article came to me while I was sleeping, or attempting to sleep, in my toddler’s twin bed after she came calling in the middle of the night with stories of a bad dream. Apparently, the big bad wolf was after her. Of course, she went right back to sleep. Myself however, forgetting my pillow and having to make do on a decorative throw pillow I found on the floor beside her bed, tossed and turned for several hours before tip toeing back to my bed.

I got to thinking that at thirty-nine, thirty-nine and a half if I’m being honest, sleeping on a decorative pillow with a sliver of a twin bed wasn’t going to do anything for my back or neck the next morning. Since we seem to have largely moved past the sleep struggles of baby days, except for her continued disdain for bedtime, I stayed in that twin bed a little longer, staring at that sweet little face and hands curled up next to me. Old lady back pain doesn’t really matter when you’re a mom. I would step in front of a moving vehicle for that little person. She’s my heart walking around outside my body.

On the flip side, and something I think most of us moms aren’t honest with ourselves or others about, is the fact that it is hard as heck being a mom. I hope I’m not alone in this train of thought, and I don’t think I am. Occasionally I have a sliding doors moment, wondering about my life and if I’d chosen another “door,” if you will, where I’d be.

Dang social media showed me that an old college boyfriend, who I was never that interested in when we were dating, was traveling the world. Here I was in Greeneville, Tennessee, which no thanks to COVID, I haven’t left in over a year while he was seeing the pyramids in all their glory. I mean when I step onto my back porch I can see Andrew Johnson’s memorial. Same thing, right? Andy Barnett would probably argue it is.

What have I done with my life? My career? Am I just one more cleaning product away from becoming my mom? Don’t get me wrong, my mom is a saint and I’ve been blessed more than I deserve that I get to call her mom, but we are quite different. Or at least most of my life I told myself this. Maybe we aren’t. I’m probably shaping my daughter into the exact same OCD hypochondriac a long line of Lane women, my mom’s maiden name, are.

If you’re still reading and wondering what the heck this article is about or thinking, “Jessica this is a healthy living column,” bear with me. Mental health, well-being is a big part of being fit and leading your healthiest life possible. If you’re having one of those weeks, months, or even year I wanted to share a few self-care tips for you this week. It is after all Mother’s Day Sunday. That warrants at least a trip to the bathroom solo. Call this article “self-care” or a personal confession. I thought about my readers and wanted to share this. It’s okay to wonder if you are doing a good job, to wonder what in the heck happened to your life, to fantasize about fifteen minutes alone.

If a solo vacation isn’t in the realm of possibilities this Mother’s Day, and it certainly isn’t for me, what about a good book? I just finished “The Kindest Lie” by Nancy Johnson. Race, motherhood, connection, this book touches on it all. For a lighter escape some of my favorites are “Daisy Jones & The Six” by Taylor Jenkins Reid, “To All the Boys” by Jenny Han, “The Dutch House” by Ann Patchet, all about the relationships in your life. Other good reads include “The Silent Patient” by Alex Michaelides, “The Vanishing Year” by Kate Moretti, one of my favorite authors when you need a mental vacation, and “Maybe in Another Life,” another stellar offering from Taylor Jenkins Reid, a sliding doors style book that probably got me thinking about old flames, Egypt and Andrew Johnson to start with.

A Greene County Library card is free, y’all! Combine above with a glass of wine, decaf tea or Kombucha, based on the severity of your day and if you partake or don’t partake of libations, and a nice hot bath with a sprinkling of Epsom salts. Voila, relaxation here we come.

Another favorite pairing of mine is a square or two of good quality dark chocolate, remember for health to stick to at least 70% or higher on cocoa and a short ingredient list, and an episode of a really great show. Some of my favorites and more recent favorites are, “Friday Night Lights,” hands down all-time favorite. Tim Riggins, need I say more? A close second is “Schitt’s Creek” and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maizel.” Two of the best shows I’ve seen in years. “Ted Lasso,” “The Mindy Project,” “Suits,” pre-Megan Markle departure, “Pretty Little Liars,” “Revenge,” the first two seasons, “Greek,” an old classic that will have you feeling all those college days nostalgia, “Emily in Paris,” “Bloodline,” “Outer Banks” and “Four Weddings and a Funeral,” a new spin on the classic movie brought to you by the marvelous Mindy Kahling.

A solo stroll is another good option. We have some beautiful places to walk right here in Greene County. The Tusculum Trail in the spring or fall is simply stunning. Listen to some Lizzo. Pair that with a jog or run and I promise the rush of endorphins will put a smile on your face.

Take yourself out for a coffee or tea. Do me a favor and don’t look at your phone. Take a book or better yet sit outside if it’s a nice day and people watch.

Treat yourself to something small. It’s amazing what a new pair of earrings will do for your mood, and please, y’all, shop local.

These are just a few low cost, local suggestions. More than anything this article is a reminder that you’re not alone and you’re doing a better job than you think you are. Remember the very fact that you worry about being a good mom means you already are one. Last but certainly not least, this Sunday treat yourself. You deserve it, Mom.

Jessica Barnett is a Southwest Virginia girl married to a Greeneville native, a mom, personal trainer, certified fitness nutrition specialist, runner, herbivore and ice cream lover. To learn about working with Jessica, prospective clients may email jcbarnett616@gmail.com.