Most of my life I wanted to be a stay-at-home mother. I was excited to see that finally becoming a reality. I am so glad to be able to spend every single day with my little guy watching him learn and teaching him new things, but I also feel overwhelmed. I know that overwhelm comes from deep within me. It comes from feeling like I have to work extra hard at this blog so that I can continue to be present daily, and it comes from feeling like I fail my readers when I miss a day or a week here and there. I honestly feel bad about the time I’m not able to put a post together due to exhaustion, illness, or just plain busyness. I want to be present with ya’ll as well, and it hasn’t been an easy road.
I’ve also felt the overwhelming need to be able to do other traditional homemaker activities. I want to be able to menu plan, clean, and organize the spaces around me. In a sense, I want to be able to do it all. I know that no human being is capable of doing everything yet I also know I feel like I fail when I can’t get everything done.
I wake up in the morning to a little person who needs to be fed, and I’m more than happy to do that. I may feel exhausted, but I’m glad to watch him guzzle down the breastmilk so that he can continue to grow and also get the best of everything he needs right now. That doesn’t mean breastfeeding has been easy. I often feel overwhelmed by that as well. The truth is that breastfeeding on demand is a taxing schedule that changes daily. You have to let yourself relax and realize that some days you won’t feel like you get much else done, and it’s hard. It’s especially hard when you put undue pressure on yourself to be able to do EVERYTHING.
Before his first naptime, I try to schedule all my social media for the day so that we can eat breakfast and play. I love rolling around on the floor and introducing Sweet Baby J to new toys. I love watching him giggle as I chugga chug his train around his room and right up over his tummy. I love watching him take his stacking toy apart. I don’t worry about work much in those moments, because it doesn’t really matter. Naptime though it becomes another giant race against the clock. Will he nap for 30 minutes or will he nap for 2 hours? Your guess is as good as mine and there is still that shower, laundry, lunch, and work that need to be done. It is in these moments that I feel the overwhelm seeping back into my day. In the hour that he sleeps on average I am able to accomplish about 20 tasks, and I still never feel like it’s enough. I still feel like I’m lacking in some way, and I realize this is due to the unnecessary pressure I put on myself.
I think this is something that we all do on some level. We put pressure on ourselves to be our perfect selves. We expect more from ourselves than anyone else in our lives. If we saw another mom who had the same inner struggle, we’d tell her to be kind to herself. We’d urge her to relax. We’d tell her to nap when the baby naps. We’d tell her to lighten up a little bit. We’d never tell ourselves this. I’m going to start trying to tell myself this though, because I’ll just end up angry at myself if I don’t. I’ll end up frustrated with myself, and I won’t be the best me that I can be anyway.
Let’s all take this as a reminder to allow ourselves to just be for 5 minutes every day. I know it’s not always easy to enjoy your morning coffee with a screaming child, but we’d miss that screaming child if they weren’t around. That screaming child deserves the best us as well. Our partners deserve the best us. Our lives deserve the best us we can present to it everyday. My hope this week is to spend at least 5 minutes doing absolutely nothing. I don’t want the TV or email blaring at me. I don’t want anything but quiet. This is something I know I can easily do during naptime no matter how short that time is on that day. It’s something that is important to keep me calm and my life from feeling like a spiral. During this time, I want to remind myself that it’s okay to not finish everything. I’m not curing cancer today so some things can wait. I could be curing cancer in the future though because who knows what Sweet Baby J has in store for the life ahead of him. I just plan to enjoy the time we have now.
What do you do when you’re feeling overwhelm? Do you push yourself to be uber productive? What are your solutions for getting more done in less time?