I've been reading a lot about the emotional toll of motherhood. The constant lists running through our heads. Juggling pick ups and drop offs and sick days and appointments and oh yeah, don't forget about self care! (Ha, right.) Yesterday, I saw a video on Facebook that equated the work of a mom as equal to two and a half jobs. It was accurate. Then I glimpsed at a headline a friend posted about Satan trying to tear us apart by keeping us stressed out and busy. Probably also accurate although I didn't have time to read the article.
So I've been thinking. What can I do to reduce stress? Everyone tells me I need to. On my way to Costco this morning I made a mental note of all the things running through my head in a 20 minute drive:
- Emma needs to bump up to size 5 diapers.
- Did the girls take their vitamins this morning?
- Add baby wipes to the list.
- What am I going to do while the girls are home for a week and a half on spring break?
- When can I squeeze in practice for my upcoming webinar?
- I need to edit that op-ed when the girls go to sleep tonight.
- Should I food prep today or tomorrow?
- What time do I need to get up if the construction workers are coming over at 8?
- Oh yeah, make sure I clear out the room they are working in.
- I need to be in and out of here in 40 minutes so the girls get lunch on time.
- Glad it's raining because now we can't go to PetFest and the girls will go to bed at a normal time.
- I hope Irvin doesn't pee in the house.
- Did I take my medicine this morning?
- Make sure I buy a present for Emma's therapist.
- Don't forget to plant the trees the girls' teacher gave them before they die.
- Crap, Easter is next weekend, we really should do something fun.
- Did I respond to my mom's text yet?
And that's just a sample of what is going through my brain at any given moment. It's exhausting. And I don't think it's just moms that have this issue. A dear friend of mine was over yesterday so we could hold each other accountable and do our taxes, and she has equally as many stresses. So what the heck are we supposed to do about it?
Cut out food prep? Then we all eat like crap for a week. Stop cleaning the house? Newsflash, haven't cleaned it in two months. Meditate? I do that 5 minutes a day and I could take it or leave it. Start saying no? Already do, what else can I cut out? Please say laundry. I'd love to cut out laundry.
It's a conundrum. This fast pace of life, treading water, survival...for what? Do we sell it all and travel the States in an RV? Or do I put the girls in daycare full time and spend less time with them? That's not why I'm a consultant. Do I stop having a social life? I pretty much don't so that's fun.
What I do know is I'm not alone. And that whether you are a mom or a dad or single or empty nesting, we are all spread thin. I wish this post was leading up to a dramatic climax with a groundbreaking answer. It's not. It's merely a starting point for me. Recognizing that I'm tired and my body is responding in kind. (As in, it's being weird again and old symptoms are flaring up.) I have come to accept that I'm never going to be the Pinterest mom and I'm okay with that. I'd rather be the mom who tells everyone else's kids that they are going to Astronauts and President one day. I like that and I'm fine with my contributions to the preschool class being string cheese and grapes.
But I'm still searching. Searching for ways to find balance in this crazy life. Ways to reduce the urge to try and do it all. Ways to settle into our routine and traditions and flow as a family. Ways to find more peace, more joy and less crazy. Ways to just be.