In the spirit of honesty, I was going to write a different post today. But then last week happened. And I knew I needed to share the issues I’m facing. So here goes.
I feel like a failure.
I’m completely in over my head. I’m struggling to keep all my rotating plates in the air – work, my son, time with my husband, the house, the dog, sleep, etc. And truth be told, I’m trying to succeed at everything and actually succeeding at nothing.
I have a feeling I’m not alone. Moms, why do we have to be superwoman 24/7? The house must be spotless, our children must be dressed to the nines (I’m lucky if I change my son out of his pajamas), we need to have our hair and makeup done, we must meet every deadline at work and we must spend a certain amount of time with our spouses each evening.
Geez. Anyone exhausted already?
It’s not like I thought I would have endless amounts of free time when I had a baby. I mean, it’s a baby. They’re known for sucking up your time. But I thought I’d be more on top of things. I thought I would remember every detail like I used to (um, yeah, turns out pregnancy brain doesn’t go away. It just morphs into baby brain). I thought I would be able to juggle all my responsibilities.
That’s not the case. I feel like a complete and utter failure in every way. I’m running from thing to thing, never accomplishing anything. Instead, I’m spending all my time stressing about the tasks on my plate rather than actually doing them. Where does that leave me? An exhausted, emotional mess at the end of every day. A mom who’s so tired and scattered she can barely focus on her baby.
I could continue like this for months or years. Juggling commitment after commitment but never really getting any enjoyment out of life. But you know what? No. Today I’m deciding that’s not okay with me. Today I’m taking a stand for my quality of life. I’m taking a stand for my family (the most important commitment you can ever have).
So how am I going to make this change? Great question. I’m still thinking through it, but here are the things I plan to do immediately:
- Ask for help. So simple, yet so underused. Why don’t we ask for help? I have a feeling it’s because we don’t believe anyone can do as good a job as we can (which may be true in some cases). But what’s more important: our sanity or whether the house is cleaned to our liking? Yeah, that’s what I thought.
- Focus on myself. Sounds kind of selfish coming from a mom, doesn’t it? Yet so many moms neglect their own health in favor of their family, work or other obligations. Moms, let’s stop doing this. If we’re not healthy, then we can’t be at our best. I plan to start going to bed earlier (I’m clocking midnight currently…and with a 3:00 a.m. feeding, you do the math). I’m also going to start exercising – even if it’s just 20 minutes a day. (Having trouble squeezing workouts into your schedule like me? Check out this article from Daily Grind).
- Bring back date night. I don’t know about you, but date night fell off the grid somewhere around the 34th week of pregnancy. My husband and I are so busy keeping up with our baby, dog and the house that there’s not much left for each other. And while I think that’s completely normal right now (we are in survival mode at this point), we can’t let it remain this way forever. So I’m going to make a list of date night ideas – nothing fancy, because let’s face it, I like my sweatpants a whole lot right now, but it’ll be a list of fun activities we can do together. And they won’t all be activities that cost money. For example, we really like to play board games (we’re both super competitive), so one of my ideas is having a game night at home after the baby goes to bed. Any other ideas to share?
- Refocus. I pride myself on being the queen of multitasking. But lately, I’ve been feeling so scattered and unfocused. I need to start focusing my time and energy on one task at a time. When I’m working on that task, I’m really working on it. I’m immersed in it. When we’re multitasking, we’re actually taking longer to get things done and increasing our stress levels (something I should’ve learned a long time ago). By refocusing and taking one task at a time, I can get more done and free up time to spend with my family. Having trouble breaking the multitasking habit? Check out this article on chunking. If you’ve tried chunking and it’s worked for you, then tell us about it!
- Let go. I’m famous for overcommitting myself. No just isn’t part of my vocabulary. Well, I clearly need a vocab lesson because this just isn’t cutting it for me. I can’t please everyone (much as I’d like to) and I have to start saying no to make time for the things that are truly important. I’m going to evaluate my list of activities and commitments and start deciding which ones I can say no to. Much as I’d like to do everything, I know I can’t (and perhaps the first step is admitting that).
Most of all, I am going to stop trying to be perfect. The need for perfection is interfering with my quality of life. Instead of enjoying every moment, I’m beating myself up for not being good enough. I have to accept that I’m doing the best job I can and that at the end of the day, my son will still love me no matter what. And you know what? Failure is often when we learn the most valuable lessons. So maybe I’ll start being okay with failing (but let’s not get too crazy here!).
Moms, let’s stop driving ourselves crazy. Let’s give ourselves permission to slack off on the household chores so we can spend more time with our family. To say no instead of yes. To put ourselves first, even when we’re told by others it’s selfish. To be imperfect.
Are you feeling like a failure? If so, what changes do you plan to make? Leave a comment below or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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