It often seems, we live in a world that tells women to be either successful career women or blissful stay-at-home moms who have Pinterest craftiness down and meal prepping complete, all while having a house in constant order.
It is impossible to ignore the invisible weights that flank our shoulders. Pressure and guilt take up residence like an uninvited guest at a party.
Pressure to keep up with a 40-50 hour work schedule while still being on time to attend awards assemblies and soccer games. Pressure to remember whose birthday party is when, and who needs a check for picture orders, let alone dressed in their favorite outfit for picture day. Pressure to make sure that the laundry doesn’t pile up, that the bathrooms and kitchens stay clean and remember who is taking a lunch tomorrow along with remembering to cut cute shapes and leave lunch notes. Pressure to make sure each birthday party exceeds the last, and Christmas magic never dies. It’s part of being a mom, but it is also getting old.
When did we start caring so much what everyone else thought?
Guilt is my newest friend these days. Since taking on a new job in a new industry, I am away from home more than usual. If its not written on the family calendar I won’t remember, because these days I would forget my head if it weren’t attached. There is just too much going on. I feel guilty when my child is the last child left at Latchkey, or when my son has to walk home from soccer practice because he doesn’t want to wait for me to pick him up when I run late because of a meeting. I feel guilty that my husband gets the short end of my attention span some days and that our usually frequent date nights have dwindled recently. I feel guilty when I loose my temper with my kids, not because they have done something wrong, but because my nerves are frazzled and I just took it out on them out of sheer fatigue.
Guilt, it’s like the stuff you step on outside and track into your house. It stinks.
While I was feeling down about these thoughts someone recently reminded me about all of the positives that outweigh the negatives right now, some wisdom was shared. It helped me tremendously. And I hope this helps some of you moms learn to tell guilt and pressure to take a hike!
You Don’t Owe Anything to Anyone
So why do you care what anyone thinks about you or your family? What works for you is all that matters. Quit reading articles about how you are ruining your child because you didn’t breastfeed them until they were 14, or because you allow them to drink soda once in a while. Your family, your rules. Simple as that.
Talk It Out!
Your spouse is most likely feeling the same pressures. Open up and share. Confiding your worries and fears is what strengthens a marriage. Take that time together even if it’s a few minutes before bed sharing a pint of ice cream while you laugh about the pitfalls of your day.
Tag, You’re It!
Tag team with your spouse or partner. Go through the month’s activities and plan out who can attend what and who is taking who so the guess work is done. I can credit my husband for this level of organization and it keeps the ship sailing smoothly that’s for sure.
Keep Your Sense of Humor Sister!!!
Life is loud, messy and really, really funny if you look for it. The women in my life gave me the gift of humor and my goodness, if you can’t laugh at yourself, then find someone to laugh at you, because it makes your heart happy and mood lighter. As Sally Field says in Steel Magnolias, “Smile, it increases your face value!” Lighten up, and laugh it up and you will feel ten times better! So what if your cupcakes flopped or you had a Hot N Ready Pizza three times this week. Did your kids eat? Did they laugh and share their days with you? Then you are winning, Mom.
Be Present When You are Present
I admit, this is hard for me and I am really trying to change, but with cell phones at the ready, it is really easy to be plugged in to that and not the people who really matter. Make sure the phones are no where near the dinner table. Talk, laugh, and share. When your spouse or children are speaking to you, look at them and place the device down. Give them your full attention and you will be rewarded.
Take Time for You
Do things that you love to feed your soul and you will be rewarded in all aspects of your life. Read a little before bed, knit, write, or all three if you’ve got the time. When your children see that you are passionate about your hobbies, they will develop their own, or follow in your passions. This is a bonding opportunity for sure. Teach them the things you love and you might be surprised.
Make Your Spouse a Priority
Show your spouse that despite the craziness of the day you love them. Maybe that means you send a flirty text or put a sweet note in their car for them to find in the morning. Get a sitter and go have a date. It doesn’t matter what it is, just some alone time to talk about non -bill or child related things will enforce your bond and help you both keep your sanity.
There are some great guided meditations on YouTube for relaxation and stress relief that I have really found helpful. Plug in your earbuds before falling asleep and wake refreshed and ready to tackle the day.
Cut yourself some slack!!! You are great! You are enough! You ROCK!