I can not tell you the last time I had a real day off. One where I could walk away, not worry about an email coming in, a problem needing solved or an opportunity I might miss. I suppose it is the nature of owning your own business. Walking away could be detrimental to your income and growth. Most of the time I can handle it just fine. I am pretty good about keeping things in perspective. But, at this moment, I am overwhelmed to tears. Not just because of work, but because in addition to work, I have three kids who insist on having clean clothes, food on the table, help on their homework, undivided attention from mom and the hugs and kisses they all deserve. Add to that a house in constant need of something, people making promises on all fronts that they can not keep and my struggle to put myself into the mix as someone to take care of too, and I am beyond overwhelmed with motherhood and work and life.
It has been a while since I have been this way. A very long time. Most of the time I am pretty even keeled, trucking along handling what I can, using my free time to catch up on what’s behind. Maybe it is because my brand new Keurig broke this morning and I have not had my coffee, maybe it is because I try to schedule fun things to do to relax with my kids but they always seem to tie back to work, maybe it is because despite all of my efforts, I still feel unsuccessful… I don’t know. I just know that I can not be alone. I can not be the only woman out there with no real complaints in life that still gets overwhelmed and stressed out balancing work and kids.
The sad fact is, I feel guilty for feeling overwhelmed and like I am drowning. I am so so blessed and I know it. I know that it is rare that single moms get to work from home. I know I am so blessed to have healthy kids and a house to raise them in. I know that I am one of the lucky ones who has friends and family that love me. Knowing all of this and still being near tears as the ‘you have to do this now’s pile up makes me feel very selfish and self centered. Yet, it is how I feel.
Motherhood in general is a full time job, as any mom knows. There is never enough time in the day. I had dinner with a married friend this week who takes care of three kids and a successful husband and feels great guilt that she can not find the time to get everything done that she thinks she ‘should’ get done. She openly admits that when her kids go to school, she has so many things to do from errands to laundry to managing the home that she never seems to be caught up. She beats herself up over it, thinking that she should have the perfect house and the perfect meals and never be behind. So I know I am not alone. I think any mother feels like she dances on the edge of the tide coming in and if one toe slips, she will drown in the responsibility of her life.
Add to motherhood work – in or out of the home – chores that are never, ever done, demanding people that think because you woke up this morning, you are at their beckoned call and the stress of trying to remain healthy, confident and sure about who you are and I don’t think it is unrealistic to see the cracks widening with each passing day.
But it still bothers me. It bothers me and makes me feel guilty because I know people who have it so much harder than me. I am friends with the mom who has to work out of the home and has never been to her child’s school for a simple lunch. I know the mom who’s washing machine broke and is washing clothes by hand because she can not afford another one. I know the mom who is trekking back and forth to the hospital with her child who is battling an illness no child should have. I know the mom who seems perfect on the outside but is crumbling on the inside.
I know those moms. I love those moms. I understand those moms. Yet I won’t give myself a break. I won’t just allow myself to feel overwhelmed and like I deserve to cry under the pressure of the day. I won’t allow that moment of complete breakdown that could be a start at putting it all back together. Feeling the stress of feeling guilty for feeling stressed adds to the stress.
Maybe if I did, the tears would not drown me but release me. Maybe if I did, if I could admit I am human, I could understand that all of our plates get full, if I could succumb to the truth… I would not be drowning. I don’t know.
I’ll just keep going and see what happens…