When we moved from Tampa to Manhattan, I was so excited because I was going to be able to stay at home with Harlan and wouldn’t have to miss the day-to-day with her. I’d finally be able to be that stay-at-home mom that I’d dreamed of being since the day she was born.
Little did I know that my stay-at-home gig would soon turn into work-at-home when I started blogging and consulting. I told myself that no matter how much I took on, I’d still be able to be with the kids when I needed it. As time went on, I started to take on more clients and more writing opportunities. I also added two more little ones to our family. All of these meant that my schedule was full and I was busier than ever.
But despite all of it, I still vowed to take care of it all on my own. MacKay kept telling me that I could hire someone to help and take care of the kids for a couple of hours a day so I could get work done (rather than stay up in the early morning hours like I usually do to write,) but I always denied the offer.
In my mind I had this idea that I was supposed to be able to do it all. I needed to be a “supermom” if you will. And to be honest, I was able to do it all. But I sacrificed so much in the process. Too much.
I was staying up until 1am to meet deadlines. Most of it was done laying in bed with Macks nursing because he’s still hasn’t mastered the art of sleeping through the night. The girls are my alarm clock in the morning and would often wake me up around 6:30, which meant that I got around four hours of (spotty) sleep.
The day continued with me running the girls to school, coming home to let Macks nap while I attempted to get work done, stuff done around the house. The only thing I was able to do solely for me thoughout the day was the gym. It’s something that quickly became therapy for me. One hour in the gym while the kids played in the child watch area. But even after the gym, we’d rush home to eat dinner and get through our bedtime routine. Then it was time for work again. I was able to get it all done, but my life was turning into a mess. And so was I. I wasn’t happy. What was the fun in doing it all if I wasn’t able to enjoy it in the process?
A couple of weeks ago I hired a sitter on a Friday morning. It was only because I had to travel out of town for work and needed to get my hair done before I left. The only appointment I could get was on a Friday morning, which meant that it was impossible for me to take Macks and I had to hire someone. Our sitter was available and came over before I had to drop the girls off at school.
That morning I was able to get my hair done, nails done, grab a bite to eat, and do a little bit of shopping. All in the span of about three hours. I couldn’t believe how much I got done in such a short amount of time. It was the first time in ages that I actually did something for me, kid-free, and I was elated and fulfilled because I felt so accomplished with just that little bit of time.
I picked up Avery from school and went home to find Macks as happy as could be with the sitter. And me? I was relieved without an ounce of guilt for doing it. I loved it so much that I started to make it a part of my weekly routine.
Last week I didn’t have much to do, but went to a local coffee shop and worked. Same thing I usually do at home, but this time with nothing else on my mind or to distract me. In those three hours, it’s all about me. And again, I went home feeling refreshed and with a huge smile on my face. It’s a feeling I haven’t had in such a long time. I’ve missed it.
As moms, we put so much pressure on ourselves. Too much. We want to be able to do everything. Work, take care of the kids, chores, and anything else in between. And while sometimes that’s attainable for us, it’s not practical. We think that’s whats going to make us happy or to feel better about ourselves because we are able to accomplishment without the help of others. But it’s not. It takes a village. And enlisting the help from that village doesn’t make you any less of a mom. It makes you a better one. And a better you.