Five years ago I never would have been in this position. Heck, even two years ago I wouldn’t have. For years I spent far too much energy focusing on appearing as the “Supermom” that could do everything with ease. I even wrote about it once for a writing job. Surely if I read that blog to myself now I would roll my eyes straight into the back of my head.
You can’t do it all. But you know what? You shouldn’t have to.
It’s okay to admit that you need help. It’s okay to admit that you are tired and want to take a nap. There’s nothing wrong with accepting help or assigning responsibilities to your spouse or your children.
There is, however, a problem with putting yourself on the back burner for the sake of portraying an unrealistic and idealized perception of what a mother is supposed to be.
For years my weight ruled my life. The toxic relationship that I had with the scale and the clothes hanging in my closet dictated my mood and self-worth. But what’s worse is they conquered my well-being. Many times I would work out twice a day, and even more times I would skip out on meals or forfeit the opportunity to eat anything tempting. It was a twisted cycle that consumed my everyday existence. It isn’t until now, a few years later and over 20 pounds heavier that I realize that nothing I did was ever going to be enough.
No matter how skinny I was there was always going to be something I felt like I needed to change about the way that I looked. If it wasn’t for my daughters, I would still be that person. I saw how my obsession was leaving an impression on them and it made me see the awful, ignorant injustice I was bestowing upon them. I promised to change my ways, and slowly but surely I let down my wall I’d built up in my mind and I did.
Then I think about the perfectly cleaned house, the impeccably dressed children, and the amazing meals that I would prepare every evening. Now spot cleaning will suffice, my kids wear whatever is clean, and my family is lucky to get an appetizer out of me unless it’s game day.
The point of all of this is that the little things mean shit when you realize you are killing yourself for them. No one is watching you, as they are so consumed with their lives they barely have time to see yours and feel envy. Social media is a lie, so don’t believe all the mothers you see on there that have you convinced they are momming so hard and crushing parenting. Their husbands are probably sick of their shit and can’t wait to escape and I bet their kid picks their nose and eats it. You’re doing fine, so just relax already.
If you are losing yourself because you’re so caught up in the small things you will never, ever be truly happy. Sleep the extra hour. Take an extra day off of the gym. Put that sugar in your coffee. Have that second glass of wine.
When you slow down for a second and realize that life is meant to be enjoyed, not put into fast gear, you’ll see that all those things you cared about don’t matter anyway.
The dishes can wait. Your kid crying cannot.
You can also do what I did and stage silent protests. I’ve intentionally stopped doing laundry to signal to my husband that the washer and dryer does, in fact, have an on and off switch. I’ve also left used pots and pans sitting empty post meal to signify that yes, you can help clean the kitchen. If your better half helped make the kids he can help to take care of them, too, regardless if he is “tired” or has had a “long day” at work.
Accepting yourself and your needs will allow you to gain perspective on what truly matters. Give in to the urges to sit down and relax, and don’t be shy to speak up about wanting to divvy out some of your mounting tasks. Letting go of the stress of treading water will allow you to feel something you haven’t felt in a long time—relief.