Earlier this year, I was drowning. Not overwhelmed. Not in need of a break.
And like many other Moms who wear all of the hats and are too worried about disappointing someone, letting someone down, or saying no – I waited too long to ask for help. It left me in a place where I was not only unable to reliably take care of my responsibilities, but I wasn’t even taking care of myself. And I don’t mean I wasn’t able to take an extra long shower or get a facial. Like I wasn’t eating. Couldn’t sleep. Ill for several weeks and couldn’t seem to get better.
I raised the flag. First to myself, next to my spouse.
I needed to do something. Or nothing? Something had to change. But what? I was in that state where I was so jammed up inside my own head that I couldn’t begin to come up with solutions. We brainstormed together. What was the main cause of my distress and where was the trickle down landing most often? I knew I needed to speak with my employer, but I wanted to go in with a plan. I leaned on a tried and true Motherhood resource, an online community called ‘The Matrescence’ owned by two Moms in Kansas City, for help. With their support, I was able to present my situation to my employer professionally and offer an actionable plan for what changes I needed to fit my needs and still fulfill my responsibilities. It took some negotiation, but it worked.
It took some work and negotiation, but I got exactly what I asked for – doesn’t that sound like a fairy tale ending? If only I didn’t love a good self-sabotage story!
You see, during the time I was spilling my heart out to my spouse I found myself coming up with all the ways less time in the office could mean increased “productivity” at home.
I could get the grocery list done during the week now. I could get the shopping done. I could get the laundry done so it’s not all piled up by the time the weekend rolls around. I could meal prep. I could become an extreme coupon-er! I could save us thousands of dollars.
I was already starting to fill the time that didn’t even really exist with more tasks I could do. He never asked or expected those things of me. No one complained when they were at my house about the mess. No one was complaining about a meal on the table that filled their bellies. Never once was I made to feel that in order to deserve reprieve, I needed to commit to supplementing in another way that benefited everyone else – at least not by anyone but myself.
I was drowning.
And the changes I advocated for were not so I could do more of something else, it was just so I could exist in my day-to-day life without feeling like I was constantly on fire.
I hope you take this story of mine and see how it relates to you going into this new year and all the “new year, new me” that comes with it. Maybe set something down and not pick something up in its place. Happy New Year, STL Moms.
*If you are looking for more community in Motherhood, I highly recommend becoming a subscribing member to The Matrescence – an online based community for motherhood founded by two moms in Kansas City whose goal is to support Moms throughout all stages of Motherhood. They offer memberships that come with a variety of supports including access to experts like lactation consultants, pharmacists, child therapists, nutritionists, actionable ways to recognize and navigate postpartum mood disorders, and access to a community of supportive mothers on this motherhood ride with you. They have topics for moms in all stages, not just pregnancy/postpartum, but for those with older kiddos, too!