I had a lot things planned this week. I was getting my butt back to the gym after an injury. I was back to meal planning and was determined to carry out my plans whether my family threw fits about what we were eating or not. I was participating in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) so I needed to write 1,667 words a day. I wanted to catch up on my blogging (I’m trying to reach 10,000 views for the year, so feel free to share any of my blogs and help a girl out). I was getting caught up on laundry, cleaning, dishes…all the stuff I’ve been neglecting. Oh, and I was working at my job that pays the bills every day, of course. I was determined to be Supermom this week. Supermom, Superwife, Superwriter, Supernurse. I was gonna do it all. I bet you can guess that hings didn’t go as planned.
Before you jump to conclusions, let me just say that nothing catastrophic happened this week. What happened this week was what happens in everyone’s lives week after week after week…sick kids, computer glitches, forgetting to take meat out to defrost, broken appliances, gimpy husbands, missing homework, and so on and so forth. Nothing that couldn’t be solved in a 23 minute episode of a sitcom. I realize my “problems” are not unique—if anything, that’s why you read my blog—because my life is the same as many of yours. But nevertheless, my carefully outlined to-do lists (Hubby isn’t the only one with to do lists), did not get completed. To do lists for me have become like a competition with myself. How much can I get done? How fast can I get it done? Can I check off stuff on tomorrow’s to do list today???
The lists didn’t get done and I fell behind. Monday’s list didn’t get done till Tuesday and Tuesday’s list got pushed to Wednesday, and by Friday, I was two days behind because of…life. Life got in the way. Life gets in the way of everyone’s plans and we survive. I survived. Yet, when Friday rolled around, did I shrug my shoulders and say oh well, because you can’t stop life from rolling at you full steam? No. I did not. What I did do is beat myself up for not getting it done. (not literally—my family would definitely have me committed if I started punching myself. It’s bad enough I felt so crazed this week that I started talking to my clothes—hmmm, maybe I could use a vacation in the looney bin). I didn’t blame the technology that failed me or the family members that needed my help this week. I blamed it on me. In my eyes, I was the one who failed to be Superwoman. And it made me feel crappy. I didn’t see what I had accomplished this week (I’m a day ahead of my writing schedule for NaNoWriMo), instead I focused on what I hadn’t done (this blog, the dishes, the dusting…oh my God all the dog fur in the house). I downed half a bottle of Santa’s Little Helper wine and went to bed feeling like a loser, with a headache to boot.
This morning, though, I woke up and decided that I was NOT going to beat myself up anymore. I was going to accept the fact that I was human and just one human, at that. I need to give myself a break when I don’t meet my insane expectations. Because I realize I set myself up to fail by making my lists unobtainable—as if it says something about my character if I push myself to the brink of exhaustion. But for what, though? And at what expense? My sanity? My health? Aren’t Type A personalities more likely to drop dead of a heart attack or a stroke? Shouldn’t that alone make me rethink my expectations?
I blame the internet for my stress…Pinterest and Facebook and Instagram. With the dawn of this social media, we can see that Suzy Sunshine has just made her entire family’s Christmas gifts from reclaimed wood and her newborn baby’s umbilical cord blood. She’s created Christmas cards from recycled newspaper and her children’s footprints. We are constantly reminded that someone out there is doing it better than us. But what we don’t see is Suzy Sunshine chewing Valium like tic tacs and her hair falling out from stress.
Suzy Sunshine needs to give herself and break and so do we. I know…easier said than done. Maybe what stops me from giving myself a break is the fear that if I let myself slide this week, what’s to stop me from sliding next week? And the next? And the next? Until I don’t hold myself accountable to anything any more. I mean, no one at home seems to really hold me accountable. They do their own clothes and they don’t really care if their pillows are covered in dog fur. They don’t care if we eat at a restaurant every night of the week or I gain twenty pounds from eating tater tots instead of real food. Everyone gets to school and work on time and they always have food to eat and beds to sleep in. I’m not really a bad mommy…I just think that I am. But what if I slip so far that I really do become the bad mommy I think I am?
So, I can’t let myself slip too far. But I also can’t stress myself out. Motherhood is a balancing act. Hell, LIFE is a balancing act. We’ve all got to figure out the point where we are comfortable with less stress and where our breaking point is. We’ve got to acknowledge our shortcomings, but stop letting them define us and make us ignore all the good things we do and all the positives in our life. FELLOW MOMS…WE CANNOT BURN OURSELVES OUT! Life isn’t like a box of chocolates as Forrest Gump said it was. Life more like a diet. We need to eat salad and go low carb sometimes, but damn, we need that box of chocolates every once in awhile, too. And maybe a bottle of wine.