Hi Is This Normal,
It’s been over a year since I had my daughter and probably 6ish months since I’m back at work full time. Between raising her, managing all the life things (keeping the house together, paying our bills, finding time to get a hair cut, eating decently, yada yada yada) and of course, staying on top of work – I am so beyond stressed i can’t even see straight. I’m so exhausted, overwhelmed and frustrated every day and I don’t know how to get out of this headspace, prioritize and “be in the moment” anywhere. I feel like I’m failing at the juggle of it all. I don’t know how to find the light at the end of this tunnel. I don’t get how to find time for me, my partner, my daughter – where I can actually be present and not make constant checklists in my mind.
So, is this normal? And how do I do this?
Dear Stress Mess,
Not only is this normal, you’ve just described basically every working mama in the history of motherhood! This idea that we can somehow “do it all” and do it effortlessly and without help is (in my humble, working mom opinion) one of the most damaging ideas foisted upon us in … ever? Let’s go with ever. I just want to give you a big hug and help you start checking items off that To Do list I know is a mile long, because I know exactly how you feel. We ALL know how you feel.
Motherhood is so freaking hard, and it’s compounded when you add a job to the mix. Of course you want to be the best mother in the world, while also being the most valued and valuable employee, and the best wife, and have a spotless house and work out four days a week and make homemade meals for your family every single night and do it all with a smile. But you’re one person, mama. One very busy, overworked, tired mama. I can tell you one thing: you are not failing. You are doing the hardest job in the world, and you’re doing it while also juggling a million other things. I promise you, your little girl doesn’t see a frazzled, stressed-out mom – she just sees the mama she loves, there as she always is, doing what she does best.
But you are right: it is SO STRESSFUL. And so hard. This feeling of being overwhelmed by all of your responsibilities yet still somehow not doing any of them well is the worst feeling. You seem to know where your priorities are: you, your daughter, and your partner. Now, you need to sit down and start re-prioritizing everything else. Because here’s the thing: you are Wonder Woman, but even Wonder Woman needs help. Even Wonder Woman has the Justice League to back her up (gosh I love metaphors). As much as we want to do it all ourselves, we need help. You know the saying, “It takes a village”? I realized a year or two into motherhood that the village isn’t just for our kids. It’s for us, too. We need the help and support of those around us, to be the best US we can be. You don’t mention how involved your partner is, but it might be time to have the Jesus Take the Wheel conversation with them, to get them on your page. Figure out what you can handle (and by handle, I don’t mean what you can do while sacrificing your own mental health, but actually handle), and move everything else off your plate. It’s going to require you to relinquish some control, which is hard for a lot of people (hi, it’s me!). But asking for help can be so incredibly empowering, and it’s going to give you some of your time and sanity back. And a happy healthy mama is the best mama, regardless of how many balls she can keep in the air. There is light at the end of your tunnel, but right now, you might need someone to hold your flashlight while you journey toward it.
Your Fellow Working Mom in Arms,
Is This Normal