When I talk to other women – especially other Moms – we seem to be speaking a common language. I say it often – I’m a tired, overwhelmed, working Mother. It’s a state of being that I don’t enjoy, but it’s my reality at this stage in the game. I commute nearly four hours a day, I have too much stuff (which leaves me constantly trying to deal with it), two small boys, two big hairy dogs, a yard that needs a great deal of work, a half finished reno, a new active lifestyle and a job that can sometimes be a challenge as I deal with people in conflict. Each piece of my life is manageable on its own and some of it is down right pleasurable (wee hugs make a lot of things better!) Yet when you throw it all together, it’s easy to see why I feel I am slowly getting further behind.
I know it’s not fair to me to compare what I accomplish at home, how I have a hard time keeping up, with the traditional stay at home Mother of the past. In today’s world, we are pulled in so many more directions. Where once women kept the home fires burning – leading a very insular life that revolved around home and family first, and then community – today’s women are not only active in their home and with their families, they work outside the home, they volunteer, they home school, do their own home renos run the carpool, and oh, so much more. All of those gadgets that were invented to make our lives easier – the dishwasher, the washing machine, the microwave – didn’t lessen the load, they simply made it possible to add more lines on the ‘to do’ list with an expectation we actually complete them. It’s an insanity that just keeps on building, faster, bigger, more. And one day we just have to step back and say “Enough!”
We’ve grown up in a world that makes us feel we have to do it all and we have to do it perfectly. If we don’t we’re failures. When we get overwhelmed, rather than let anyone know it, we hide. We don’t invite people over in case they see the mess, we don’t go out because we don’t feel good about how we look, and we don’t embrace an active lifestyle because we are ashamed that we don’t have a perfect body. It’s crazy – we know it is – but it’s the life so many of us lead. When I commented to a friend that she needed to give herself a break – do you know what she said to me? With tears in her eyes, she said “I don’t know how”. Another fabulous woman (one of my fellow Mommyfit contestants) wrote a whole blog post about that well known word – Guilt. These are but two examples of so very many.
Dear God, if this is what we’ve done to ourselves, it’s gone too far! We deserve better. We deserve to love our self no matter what we look like, no matter what we are physically capable of and no matter how our home looks. We deserve to give ourselves credit for the amazing things we do – loving our family, learning to care for our self, and the thousand things we do at home, work and for our friends.
We will never be perfect. At least not in the way that we think we should be. We will never ever, be ‘caught up’. That’s an illusion we chase. If you doubt me, after a day of doing laundry, look in the hamper after everyone goes to bed.
We need to commit to giving ourselves a break. To love ourselves for the incredible things we do, for the amazing women we are. We need to see us through the eyes of our children. I know mine only see me as their Mommy – the person who heals with a kiss, plays with them, comforts them, loves them with all my heart, and makes their world complete. We must see ourselves as amazing just the way we are, with the potential to grow and learn. We must give ourselves a break. Only then will we be able to take a good hard look at our lives in order to figure out what we need to do to feel whole, instead of scattered.
As part of my journey, this has to happen. One cannot live a healthier life without loving oneself just as they are. If you can relate, won’t you join me?