Like many stay at home moms, I have a hard time not filling my schedule, daily.
I have 3 children, 5 and under. I just had my third in August.
I convinced myself throughout my pregnancy and after, that I could continue with all my activities. Somehow I forgot how utterly exhausting it is to have a newborn.
Less than a month after my baby was born, the homeschool co-op at our church began. Fine, except that I taught a preschool class for 2 year olds once a week.
Also, less than one month later, our parish moms group began meeting again for the year. Great, except that I was a leader and had to plan it.
Homeschooling for my kids started back up in September as well.
In between all this, I said yes to every outing and play date and continued to run errands and carry on as if everything was fine.
It wasn’t though.
I could barely keep it together in order to plan any activities for my homeschool co-op and I’m embarrassed to say that every email I sent to my moms group was filled with wrong dates and spelling errors. It was awful.
My 5 year old started acting out when it came to school and it was a daily fight between us. I was feeling like a failure as a mother.
I was so overwhelmed I didn’t know what to do.
Then Thanksgiving came. My husband and I decided at the last minute to drive to Florida to see family. He knew how overwhelmed I had been and I miss family during this time. Here’s the kicker though. It takes two days to get there and two days to get back and he only had 5 days off.
I was in such a slump though, I would have done anything to get away.
While in Florida, my mother-in-law told me to stay. She would fly my husband home and he would come back and drive us home the next weekend. I was hesitant. I had appointments and my daughter had an Advent retreat (that I of course volunteered to help out at).
But I said yes.
And I have to tell you, it was such a great decision for myself and kids. I didn’t have chores, errands or appointments. We took a week off of homeschool. We did nothing. I took care of my kids, chatted with my mother in law, went to the beach, drank wine.
I think as a mom, we do this to ourselves. We set such high standards and forget what our real vocation is; being a mother.
All those days so stressed out that I couldn’t bring myself to smile. Feeling so burnt out and not asking for help. I needed to regroup.
When Christmas came around I took more time out, I spent 3 weeks with my own family in Arizona. Reconnecting with family, watching my nieces and nephews with my kids, just being there. It was awesome.
Now that holidays are over and I have had to get back to the real world, I have decided to slow down. I am still teaching a co-op class. Still leading the moms group, still homeschooling. But, I’m not stressing out about it as much. If I need help I will ask. If my house isn’t perfectly clean at the end of the day, I won’t lose sleep over it.
My New Years resolution was to simply use a daily planner, something I have never successfully done in my life. It’s going well so far. I’m also reading from Danielle Bean and Elizabeth Foss’ Small Steps for Catholic Moms, a book that has short daily prayers and reflections.
I’m still going to have a lot of days when I am frustrated and feeling overwhelmed. I will be flighty and have moments when I do ridiculous things (like put my coffee in the microwave to warm up…for 5 minutes…).
But now, I will remember to step back and breathe. Nobody is expecting perfection from me, and I shouldn’t either.