This momma is recovering from a tough week.
I know I am a new mom and trying to figure it all out, everyday. But last week really sent me one big, giant signal. It was the week am now calling "the something's gotta give" week.
Balance. What is it, anyway? Is it real? Is it something that can actually be achieved? Or, perhaps, is it this golden moment in the distance - never reachable, never realized? *insert sparkly, new age music here*
After a long and stressful week of full-time work, a very sick baby, a daycare cancellation, a evening work event, and a food blogger Sundance party, my worst fears were realized. Balance is a facade. It isn't real. What we are forced to do, especially as parents, is make choices every day about which "thing" is more important.
This can be incredibly difficult, stressful, and at times, feel completely impossible. Sometimes, the requirement to make a judgement call about what is most important in your life can just be another "thing" in the laundry list of "things" you already are stressing about.
We all know, our kids come first. I mean, that is what we all have to say, right? And I think I can speak for every parent when I say that our children are number one in our hearts and therefore, should be number one in our list of life priorities. But, it's more complicated than that.
The complication comes when a job, to provide for that child, also has to come first. The compilation comes when you haven't had alone time with your partner for weeks. The complication comes when you just REALLY need to get out and do something fun, for your own sanity.
So, what happens when your baby spends the night in the ER and work the next day is completely taken off the table?
What happens when your daycare provider gets sick (as we all do) and tells you she can't watch your baby today and you are left to figure it out, in your suit and heels, defeated behind the wheel of your car - baby bundled in the back seat ready to go?
What happens when you commit yourself to multiple people to attend a REALLY COOL event you want to go to, that will help you network and help build your personal brand...but leaving your kid while literally your whole family is sick is probably not the best idea?
What about when an after-hours work event lands on a night you really just want to be home to regroup, get your mom brain working, and spend some much needed one-on-one time with your partner?
I didn't say no to ANYTHING. I tried to do it all. I ended up with my baby in the ER at 2:00 a.m. after leaving her to "network" and have some "me" time - and I felt like the worst mom in the world. Did I know we would end up in the ER because she was so sick? I had no idea. But I FELT LIKE I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN and I beat myself up for it the entire week (let's be honest, I am still beating myself up for it).
I tried to balance. I tried to be the best mom, employee, wife, and PERSON that I could. And I did a half-assed job at all of it. I felt guilty for every decision I made. I stretched myself SO thin, I became nearly invisible to everyone, including myself.
We feel guilty enough as parents. That is par for the course - but I learned something this week. I am not going to strive for that elusive "balance" ever again. I am going to learn to say no, remember my priorities, and trust in myself to make decisions about what I can give, and what I can't. I would rather be 100% at being a mom one day, than try to give 30% to all of it at once - mom/employee/wife/friend/individual (the one we forget about most).
So, moms out there! That is my call to action for you today.
LEARN TO SAY NO.
You don't have to do it all.
You don't have to be everywhere at once.
You don't have to give it all away.
Reel it in - own your decisions - take on what you can.
Leave the rest for someone else.
Or just simply, LEAVE IT.
We are doing this! WE CAN DO THIS.