I’m here to tell you something. You don’t have to do it all…and that’s ok. Just because you’re the mama doesn’t mean you have to do every single thing. It’s taken me a long time to realize this, but it is true.
I’ll preface this by saying I have a wee problem with clutter and disarray in that I hate it with a passion. It makes me feel scattered and heightens my already terrible anxiety. I also (used to) pride myself on the upkeep of my house. I admit I really love having a nice clean home, it makes me feel organized and like I’m in control.
Recently, I came home from work and realized that my house was an absolute disaster. There was no time to clean the house the weekend before, thanks to a weekend chock-full of plans. During the week I work all day and barely have time to feed, bathe and put the hooligans to bed before collapsing on the couch for less than an hour of “relaxation time.” I’d like to clarify, for the record, that this time is never actually relaxing. I categorize it that way because I’m actually physically sitting down, but am most likely 1) working (yes, more work) 2) catching up on blogging 3) paying bills or 4) stuffing those darn cloth diapers. I, the woman who used to clean the house once a week obsessively, all of the sudden realized I couldn’t remember the last time I dusted or when I last vacuumed the stairs.
That night, instead of my usual hour of “relaxation” it turned into several hours of my madly trying to catch up on a month’s worth of cleaning. The next day I was absolutely exhausted.
After work my kids were so excited to see me, as they usually are when I walk in the door at night. But that night I noticed their energy exhausted me even more. I snapped at every little thing. I had no patience. I was dead on my feet. There was nothing left for the fun and happy mom I want to be. I even looked forward to them being in bed. There is nothing I hate more than getting the kids into bed only hours after I walk in the door after not seeing them all day. Of course, as soon as they’re quiet I want to wake them up and snuggle them and tell them mommy is sorry for being such a cranky old bear.
That’s my epiphany moment. As a working mom I’ve found that I just cannot do it all. This isn’t how its supposed to be. Just because you’re the mom doesn’t mean you have take on everything. For me, I took on as much as possible in terms of the family and home responsibilities, in addition to my full-time job and being a full-time mommy, until I became overwhelmed with my life instead of enjoying it. Something had to give.
I decided that my giving in would be finally admitting I need help. Don’t get me wrong, my husband helps immensely, but he doesn’t have the need for an organized and clean space like I do. It just calms my mind. So, instead of stressing about cleaning on the weekends or after work, I looked at our budget and realized that that a house cleaner was something we could add into our budget for my own sanity. I have worked hard to establish a career for myself with a comfortable salary. I decided to use a very small part of that salary to remove what was most stressing me off my already full plate. I don’t think of it as extravagant, I think of it as a necessity in my particular situation, just like any other service. So I give up eating out during the week with my co-workers and cut out my fancy coffee addiction? Done. Cut back on the cable bill? Easy. There is nothing wrong with hiring help if its a possibility for you, nothing shameful about not being able to juggle it all successfully. In fact, I cannot think of one working mama that I know who can do all these things and still maintain her sanity for a extended period of time.
It doesn’t have to be a house cleaner. Maybe it’s picking up a pre-made meal or a pizza once a week instead of making homemade. Maybe it’s using a grocery delivery service rather than worrying about a shopping trip. There are ways to help you get everything done without actually having to take all the weight on your shoulders, take advantage where you can. You’ll be glad you did.
Although I’m still in the process of hiring someone to clean my house, just the fact that there is a light at the end of this tunnel takes a weight off my shoulders. The fact that I recognize that I need help in running this crazy life of ours makes me feel lighter and makes me a better mother for it.
Any other mamas out there have ways you take some of the stress out of of juggling your busy lives? We would love to hear!