At work a few weeks ago I was on my lunch break writing down a list of all the things that needed to be taken care of at home. I ticked off your basic things such as laundry, dishes, mop the floors and clean out the fridge. Next I logged onto my email to compile a list of homework that needed to be completed before the end of the week. After I had written down all the necessary due dates in my planner, I thought about what time I needed to pick my kids up, what activities they had planned, if my eldest had completed his homework and wondered whether or not my youngest needed diapers and wipes taken to his daycare.My brain felt like it was going to explode. It was enough to make me want to absolutely curl up in a ball and die.
I lay awake at night and silently wonder to myself if I have gotten everything done that day that I could possibly get finished. Sometimes I sit straight up in bed with anxiety when I remember something that I’ve forgotten, or remember something that needs special attention.
A few months ago all of my worry and anxiety came to a head. While at my job, sitting and eating my lunch and thinking of all of the things I needed to get accomplished that week, I had a complete freak out moment. I collapsed. The stress got the best of me. My anxiety turned into panic and the panic overtook me in a wave so strong that it caused me to pass out completely. After being hospitalized for three days and undergoing a thousand tests, enough was enough. I had had it. No more.
I just want to say, for others out there like me, IT’S OKAY. Calm down. Breathe. We’re all just trying to make it.
The term “not enough hours in the day” is one that comes to mind when I think of my schedule. A 40 hour work week, raising two small children, keeping house, finishing up my bachelors degree (after three years as a SAHM) fitting in time to be a good wife, and managing time for myself is a major feat for me. Some weeks are better than others, while some weeks can be counted as complete nightmares. Most times I feel like I am failing more than I am accomplishing anything, but there is hope.
Let me tell you this. I’ve got dirty dishes in my sink too. I’ve went weeks without mopping my floors. I’ve got a laundry room that would both horrify you and send you into fits of laughter. You know why? Because sometimes I feel it’s okay to neglect your chores to just hang out with your kids. The time with my children while they are still children is very limited. I would rather them remember life with me as being a loving, and present environment than one where I’m always stressed about the house, or work.
I get that we are constantly reminded of the pressure to be perfect. We are constantly told that our homes should look like something out of Southern Living, that our children shouldn’t watch television and that if they aren’t writing novels by aged 7 we are failing as parents. Everywhere you turn it seems like someone is force feeding us a different set of expectations for Moms everywhere. It’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of having the perfect life, especially when the constant comparison is there.
I promise you, behind every beautiful Instagram photo is a meticulously carved image of untrue perfection. I promise you that even women who have the most beautiful and perfect outside image have chaos going on at home. I promise you that most Moms are tired, out of breath, caffeinated crazy women who want nothing more than a bath alone and time to watch what they want on television after a long day of pleasing everyone else.
To all the women like me who are battling a constant mound of dirty dishes, who get annoyed with all the toys laying around the house and who have dug dirty clothes out of the laundry and sprayed them with fabric freshener, this one’s for you. It’s fine that you haven’t read your children a bedtime story in a few days, they will live. It’s okay that your rug has cookie crumbs on it, or that you have sticky hardwood floors. It’s okay that you push that homework until the night before and then panic. WE are all doing fine. WE are all getting it done on our own terms. WE CAN DO IT. WE WILL DO IT.
Because we are Mothers and that’s what we do.
So if you’re not mod-podging your child’s pictures on to wooden blocks, or hand making their own hypoallergenic soap, don’t feel bad. Most of us aren’t either. Remember, most of us still have last night’s dirty dishes in the sink. A small price to pay for happy children.