Raise your hand if you feel like you’re making it up everyday. I know I do. I feel like an Imposter Adult, like I’m just pretending as hard as I can, and hoping no one will notice me trying to blend in. In my head everyone else knows exactly what they’re doing, and I’m the only phony in the crowd. It’s hard to stay positive with a mentality like this, where you’re constantly fighting to suppress an inner voice telling you you’re a loser.
But occasionally the clouds in my mind part and I get a glimpse of someone else struggling with the same things I do.
I see another mom scrap her plans for the day because the baby is fussy and the older kids are belligerent.
Maybe it’s one of those days where you have so many things to get done, like taking care of the house, making tedious but important phone calls, running errands, whatever. And for once you wake up with plenty of energy or maybe you just had the right amount of coffee. Then it turns out somebody has a fever, or someone throws up. And all your mojo is gone, just like that.
Or maybe you didn’t wake up ready to kill it, maybe you got up on the wrong side of the bed. And you can’t quite seem to quit being short with everybody. You’re crabby and irritable, and spending the day taking care of your babies only exacerbates it. And you know you should do better — you know you have to do better — but some days you don’t have it in you.
Or maybe it’s just that dull part of the afternoon where it’s not quite dinnertime but all of your people (and you as well, or maybe you most of all) are just done. And you make some popcorn and park everybody in front of the tv for a bit just to catch your breath before the next wave hits.
When I’m being more honest and rational, I recognize it’s not just me. I believe most of us struggle with these kinds of days, some of us more than others. Being a parent is straight up exhausting. As rewarding as it is, it does sap you of a certain kind of energy. I think the wiser women and men among us remain aware of that, but we would all do well to remember it.
For me personally, I have found in the nine years since I embarked on this parenting journey that I need to make time to be alone. I’m deeply introverted, and being with people, especially my kids — even though they’re my favorite people — drains me; physically, mentally, emotionally most of all maybe. My husband is super helpful and I love that he looks out for me, and never minds hanging out with the kids while I go out. But that said, my favorite way to recharge is when they leave, and I get to be by myself in my house. It almost never happens, and I find myself often teetering on the edge of burnout.
I put a lot of pressure on myself to live in a way that is (at least relatively) balanced. And rarely do I feel as though I’ve achieved that. I feel a sense of failure haunting me pretty much all of the time. I can remember my mom telling me years ago that ever since she became a mother she felt like guilt was always with her — she had a mental image of a giant ‘G’ for guilt just hanging out over her head, sometimes shrinking, sometimes growing, but always there. I can relate. I don’t think that’s a great way to live, but it probably is unavoidable to a certain degree. I wonder if maybe a healthier path is to try to make peace with the fact that we will never be exactly balanced. It might be inevitable to feel sometimes like you’re giving more than you even have to your people, and other times worry that you’re neglecting them by doing something that nourishes yourself.
There are seasons in life, and I feel like I would do well if I could internalize an acceptance of the ebb and flow of life, instead of trying to be everything to everyone always.
If you’re like me, and you constantly struggle with balancing and prioritizing your life, I want you to know you’re not alone! Chime in below in the comments and share some of the ways you look for balance in your life. Take care of yourselves out there fellow mamas. Until next time.