“Mommy’s back!” welcomes me as I walk in the door. It’s a glorious end to my first postpartum run and attempt at self-care, until I look at my husband’s face, both irritated and overwhelmed, as he feeds our 3-month-old a bottle. “Ceci didn’t stop screaming or whining the entire time you were gone. She was an ogre and didn’t listen to anything I said. Addie started crying as soon as you walked out the door. It’s like she sensed it.”

And just like that, my runner’s buzz evaporates. 

At this point in time, I am my 3-year-old’s favorite. This means that wherever I go, she goes. Whatever I do, she does. And whatever she needs, mommy must fulfill. I admit that being wanted and needed is a wonderful feeling. I love being loved. But it is also exhausting. 

I’m pretty sure my husband thinks my daughters and I spend our time together plotting against him — like we hatch plans that exclude him and make him feel like an outsider. If only we were so organized. 

Being the favorite means an inquisitor accompanies me on every bathroom trip. Occasionally, when I escape to the bathroom alone and lock the door, I hear knocking, handle-jiggling, and demands: “Open the door!” and “Come out, you!” When I shower, there’s a 3-foot-1 dictator standing outside the shower door asking, “Whatchu doin, Mommy?” and “Mama, what’s this thing?” about something I cannot see and she cannot explain. When I go to Target, she goes to Target; if she has to potty, I hold her hand; when I get a chai from Starbucks, she has to try it. Every evening, at bedtime, my husband asks if he can read her a story. Her response: “How about Mama?” 

How about Mama?

Mama is tired. Mama needs time to decompress. And if that means going for a run for 35 or 40 minutes, she should be able to, without feeling a horrible sense of guilt when she returns home. After that first run, I pulled aside my 3-year-old and told her Mommy needs her to be a good girl for Daddy when Mommy leaves the house. I also explained to my husband that I was sorry she was so difficult but that the prospect of not being able to enjoy some much-needed self-care was daunting.

Amazingly, it worked. My subsequent runs still conclude with “Mommy’s home!” but with less frustration from my husband — and better behavior from my 3-year-old. The baby still cries, but we’re working on that. 

Believe me, I know this phase will be short-lived. I know she will move on. One day, I will not be her favorite. She will pick my husband, or her nana, or someone else to be kind and loving to, and I will most likely retreat into a corner to cry, longing for her toddler years. I remind myself to indulge in her hand-holding, her on-looking, and her insistence to be wherever mama is, because exhaustion is a small price to pay for this kind of love. I will take comfort in the fact that she, her sister, and my husband will be OK if I escape for a moment of self-care, and when I return, I will resume my prestigious position of potty hand-holder, bedtime story-reader, bagel-with-cream-cheese feeder, and superhero/princess sidekick.

Sarah Casimiro
Sarah grew up in Rhode Island and now lives in West Bridgewater, making brief stops in Quincy, Fall River, and East Bridgewater, along the way. She made the leap from Rhode Island to Massachusetts way back in 1999 when she decided to pursue a teaching degree at Boston University. She chose her career in 1987 and is currently teaching high school English to 10th and 12th graders, fulfilling a 6-year-old’s dream at the age of 22, a proclamation that often brings forth snickers from her students. She became a mother for the first time in 2016 to her daughter Cecilia, then doubled down in late 2018 with the birth of her second daughter, Adelaide. She currently lives with her husband, Jason, their dog, Nanook, their cat, Moxie, and five chickens. They share a home with her parents, who live above them and also provide the most amazing childcare for Ceci and Addie. Sarah couldn’t live without her family, her insulin pump (shout out to other T1D mamas), and Starbucks iced chai lattes. She could live without angry people, essay grading, and diaper changing.


  1. I needed to read this today. My child is a few years older (7) than your oldest but I can still relate. I am still her favorite person but I know I won’t always be. I can finally shower in peace and she just started using the bathroom by herself (separate stall while out). Progress! However, mommy is still tired and a self care reminder is always needed.

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