Is it just me, or when things are going smoothly, do you take on a lot more and say yes a lot more?
And then, when it stops going so smoothly, you ask, “What the $@%& have I done?!”
That was me this morning. Really, the spiral started yesterday. A week prior, I had planned a playdate for yesterday morning. Then I had to cancel it because a staff meeting was called. We haven’t had one in months, and we have two new people on the team, so I didn’t think it was right to say I was busy. Then I had to email them all to say I might be MIA anyway because someone was coming to look at our furnace because, oh by the way, we’ve had no furnace (heat!) all weekend. Turns out he was gone before the meeting started, so I logged in, but no one was there. After waiting a few minutes, I said forget it, and went back to looking for a photo I’d taken years ago of a moose (context: I’m a web/social media editor in my paid job, and needed to photo for a story about outfitting).
Cue this morning. My Facebook post sums it up best, really. Mind the swearing:
For those not familiar, CJ’s is an indoor playground that serves crinkly fries and the coffee is always hot and kids can run around gleefully and play. In other words, heaven.
It’s times like these where I begin to doubt myself: when am I really going to have the time and energy to support other moms? What have I done? What am I doing?!
And then I listen to my husband’s voice in my head. When I start to spiral and get stressed, he asks me, “If a mom came to you with your concerns, what would you say to her?”
So, imaginary mom who is actually me and some days likely also you, here’s what I’d say to you:
- Narrow your focus (I’m quoting my husband again here). Don’t worry about things that are far off in the future. Focus on right now. What needs to be done right in this moment Which leads me to my next point…
- What really needs to be done right now? Can any of it wait? In addition to sometimes taking on too much stuff, we place unrealistic expectations on ourselves. Let go of those. Let go of the laundry and the dishes in the sink and the floors that need sweeping (seriously, who sweeps floors? Not me…and we have a dog and two cats…). All of that stuff can wait. (I know it can be hard because mess can also stress me out, but in the words of Frozen, Let it goooooooooo.) Speaking of which…
- Order takeout. If you’re overwhelmed, forget trying to be Betty Crocker. Order takeout that your spouse can pick up on the way home or you can have delivered. If ever there was a day you deserve takeout, it’s when you’re stressed. Also…
- Ask for help. Now, I have to admit, outside of my mom, I can be bad for this, too. I have a neighbour who keeps hoping for grandchildren. I have no doubt if I texted her and asked her to come over and play with my boy while I hammered out some work, she’d be over if she was free. I’m vowing to step outside of my comfort zone and text her next time I feel alone and overwhelmed. I hope you will do the same. A great idea is to invite a mommy friend over. She and the babies/toddlers can hang out while you do what you gotta do. Or maybe you just want the company. It helps to know you’re not alone.
- Know that you’re a great mom. Tell yourself this. If you don’t believe it, text a friend about your day, knowing she will tell you you’re an awesome mom. We are the queens of multi-tasking. We are warriors. Sometimes warriors cry and fall down, but we never break. We keep on keepin’ on because we are moms. You got this.
I never did change my shirt. It still has oatmeal on it that I never finished eating. I may have cried when my husband brought me supper. I am still not done the freelance article, there are more stories I could post to the web and social media in my paid job, and I don’t remember what day I washed my hair.
But I got this, just like you got this, and maybe “What have I done?” is actually “I’m doing it!”
That’s what I would tell you, imaginary mom coming to me feeling overwhelmed. And I’d make you a fresh, non-microwaved cup of coffee or tea and give you a hug to go with it. You got this. And so do I.