I know for sure that stay at home moms feel this way, maybe even more so. We moms seems to fill our plates, and hats, and baskets so full. We end up feeling like we’re always ON. I imagine it’s worse in some ways being home all day all of the time without much, if any, sick time or personal days.
Similarly, one of the things that is the most emotionally exhausting for me as a working mom is the constant being ON getting ready early for work, putting in busy 8-10 hour days with a lot of mental energy and sometimes a lot of physical running around, hitting the door running when I get home and my kids are excited and ready to play, spending quality time, exercising, fixing dinner and giving baths, getting everyone on bed on time, and then still feeling like I need to be ON for myself if I want to get anything done. It’s just mentally draining to switch gears so many times and fill so many shoes.
I’ve written before about the pressure of being a working mom. After almost 5 years, I still feel like I should be super mom. Surely I should be better at balancing things now. If anything, I have learned it becomes more difficult in different ways. Now there are more activities, bigger time commitments, harder decisions. I feel more seasoned and used to the wear and tear of balancing activities.
I still feel exhausted by the unspoken tension of always feeling the need to perform at my best for everybody. Immediately I know what I need to do first, but it is almost always the last thing I put in order…my quiet time with God. I know that when I am starting to feel overwhelmed in one or more aspects of my life that I have usually let my spiritual life become unbalanced.
Adding in extra quiet time is easier said than done. Honestly, all it would take…as a start…is setting my alarm clock 15 minutes earlier. That’s hardly any time at all to talk to my Best Friend but yet the last thing I’m willing to do most mornings. I dismiss it as if feeling rested will solve my anxiety…15 minutes more rested. I make excuses that I just need to let go of some activities or commitments. So my first piece of advice, to myself, is to go make time to pray!
Then I usually still need to make a mental shift. I know I can’t be everything for everybody, but that doesn’t change the fact that I still wear several different hats throughout the day. The next step for me is usually admitting that I am putting unfair expectations on myself. Is it more important for me to be a fantastic cook or play in the sandbox with my kids? Should I look like I stepped out of Ann Taylor Loft when I walk into work or give up some Pinterest time to make a surprise postcard for my kids?
Now I am not saying there is anything wrong with making involved dinners or looking well put-together, but one of the things I personally need to do is evaluate my time commitments. Am I making more hats for myself than I need to? My kids will not remember (most of the time) if they appreciated my big dinner or if I matched, but they for sure will soak up the time I spent getting down and dirty or making myself readily available for them when I had a choice.
It still is not easy for me to give up hats and take the chance of feeling like I was “off” or missed the beat, but I am slowly learning which hats I truly need to wear.