I'm pleased to welcome you to one of my newest friends, Katie Bickell. Katie (along with several others) have welcomed me into Canada with a gracious smile and kind heart. Katie and I met at Daybreak, a women's group at our church this past fall. I was going through so many struggles as a new mom and with Anna's reflux. Katie and so many others in that group were there for me in support, comfort, and prayer (lots of prayer). Katie even put her (very busy) Saturday aside and watched Anna for me. Even just a few hours to myself was enough to do wonders on my soul. I admire Katie for many different reasons I could probably write a whole blog post just on them. One of her biggest is her way with words. Where I struggle to get across exactly what I am thinking she can pinpoint a thought right on its head. Her contribution to rockstar mom hits very close to home today. I hope you are able to relate as much as I do.
Enjoy meeting my friend, Katie!
One day I woke up
and couldn’t get out of bed. My daughters pulled clothing out of my closet while
I pretended to sleep. My reluctance to take on the day was due to what waited
for me: dirty dishes, sticky floors, stale breakfast cereal, and lonely
children - the knowledge that despite my desire for harmony, deadlines were too
tight to achieve it. While the girls spilled my jewelry box’s contents, I
admitted I was failing. It was time to find balance.
1. Acknowledge the
responsibilities and changes
that may have tipped your scales.
In my case, I am
the work-at-home mother of two children (ages 18 months and 4.5 years), and the
wife of a shift-worker who balances three jobs (one full time, one part time,
and one casual position). My
professional writing service, Young Mum Freelance Writing Services, has been
experiencing its busiest year, and I am building my literary portfolio as well
as editing my first novel. We live three hours away from extended family
members, and very rarely use babysitters.
Two months prior
to getting stuck in bed, I became the executive editor of BeautyBliss Magazine.
2. Recognize the damage caused by taking on too much
Because of the success of my work and our busy
schedules, I was no longer able to focus on my kids, my husband spent evenings alone,
I missed my friends, we were eating frozen pizza far too often, and the house
was filthy. I am prone to anxiety when things are not orderly, and the chaos
was sucking the life out of me. I was doing too much - and none of it well.
3. Accept that saying yes to
something means saying no to another
my workload, I had failed to abdicate any minor responsibilities. I imagined my
responsibilities as food on a plate: as well as loading up on potatoes, I had
dug into fried rice, supersized the fries, and added a big ol’ bun. I can’t
have that much starch! No wonder I was such a stress mess; why didn’t I put
some of those carbs back?
I listed areas in
which I would not compromise: my marriage, my children, my creative writing, or
my health. Then I listed areas which could be sacrificed: my home business, my
role as magazine editor, and the cleanliness of my house. I soon realized the easiest
and most sensible solution to my problem was to delegate the housekeeping.
5. Make a plan
I called a few
cleaners and hired someone to clean the house for two hours each week. The cost
is affordable considering that my YMF Writing Services income is extra to our
budget, and has become consistent. Really, the help should be part of my
6. Let go of the guilt
My house in tidier
and I feel happier and more energetic. Now I have more time to spend with my daughters,
and because we spend higher quality time together more often, I feel less
guilty enforcing office hours in the afternoon while my youngest naps. When my
husband is home I don’t push the kids onto him so I can clean or cry in
guilt-ridden anxiety – everybody wins!
Still, the choice
to hire a house cleaning service came with a lot of guilt. Here I was, at home,
and hiring another woman to do my chores. Words like lazy, slob, stupid, and wasteful,
ran through my head; Come on, Katie! You
have a dishwasher and a front-load washer; it’s not like you’re plowing fields
Then the kinder me
piped up, and reminded me that it is not a crime to ask for help. It is not a
crime to sleep at night, or to play with the kids. It’s not wrong to spend $40
a week to calm a sense of panic, or to willingly forfeit the title of wonder woman.
Remember, it only took a straw to break the camel’s
back, when he could carry no more.
you saw yourself in the opening sentences of this blog post, whether you’re a
work-at-home mom, the mother of a new baby, or dealing with an illness,
acknowledge that you can’t continue accepting duties without abdicating others.
Think of how your load could be lightened– it may be as simple as dropping a
child’s extracurricular activity, paying a neighborhood kid to walk the dog
three times a week, or arranging an afternoon of childcare with your
mother-in-law every second Tuesday.
The solutions may be long-term, short term,
or even “just this once,” but let go of the guilt, and know you are precious
and that your wellbeing is important. Accept your limits, and love yourself.
Labels: BeautyBliss, rockstar mom, SPAC