Recently I sat talking with a friend about all the different things going on in my life and being really honest about how I was sort of feeling like a failure in most areas. My work commitments, my hobbies, my family obligations, home repairs, etc… and as I was talking I said this, “I just feel like no one sees how hard I am working.” Several well meaning people in my life made suggestions recently about how I could do things different, better, or pointed out something I wasn’t doing or hadn’t done and instead of talking to them about how that made me feel, I just mentally added it to the pressure I was already putting on myself. That’s when it hit me, if I feel this way, then maybe other moms do too.
SO I’m here to tell you – I see you, I know how hard you are working. I know that whether you are a stay at home mom, a working mom, a single mom, if you’re a mom you’ve got a lot going on.
To the single mom posting on Facebook about another snow day or a sick day – I see you. I can imagine how hard it must be to manage childcare, snow days, sick time and the pressure to be at work, feeling like no matter what you decide you’re failing someone.
To the stay at home mom with the mounting piles of laundry, the dishes in the sink and crayons, cars and blocks strewn across the living room, I know you cleaned up 10 minutes ago only to watch your beautiful children make more messes. I bet you’re thinking about what dinner you need to make and wondering how you’re going to make it with a toddler clinging to you. I know how hard you’re working.
To the working mom, rushing to finish up a meeting, pick up your kids, make dinner, be present and in the moment and maybe find a moment to yourself. I get it. I know you have a million things on your mind and maybe like me, you’d just like someone to really see you and say, “You’re doing a great job. You’re working really hard and it shows!”
You might feel at times like you’re trying to hold a thousand corks underwater all at once, all by yourself. At least that’s how I feel! And all those things that people are pointing out to me, I actually already know. I know the deck needs to be shoveled and the sink needs to be fixed. I know there’s laundry to be folded and toys to be organized. In any given moment I’m thinking about deadlines, home repairs, my son’s education, growing my business, exercising and finding time for family and friends.
I really struggle to “turn it off” and honestly feel like I have zero free time. If I sit and do just one thing then I am neglecting something else.
So now what? I’ve made this realization, what am I going to do about it? For starters, I’m going to talk to the people in my life and tell them how I feel and help them to see things from my point of view. Then I’m going to ask for help. It’s hard to do because I feel like I should be able to do it all, but that’s not realistic. I’m going to sit with my husband and make a list of stuff around the house and schedule time to take care of it. I’m going to talk with my colleagues and ask for help on projects, I’m going to make time for relaxation and friends and I am going to let some things slide. I’m going to repeat slowly and often, “This stage in life… this is temporary.” And the next time something is pointed out to me that I haven’t gotten to yet, I’m going to gently suggest that they should feel free to do it themselves.