For the last few months I’ve been going through a mental rollercoaster, really struggling with how to spend my time every day and how those decisions determine my worth. I think it must be linked the start of school and this new chapter in my life of still being home every day, but not having any kids to take care of between 7:30am and 3:15pm. Trust me, nobody is challenging this decision, least of all Greg. But I feel like I need to justify to myself day in and day out that the only way this lifestyle makes sense is if I stay busy, busy, busy. And it’s not like I’m searching out new things to do! Just simple household maintenance seems to take up almost all of my time. And when I finally feel like I’m caught up enough, then I actually work on Heartstring Annie stuff. Funny how I thought I’d be able to work at least a solid six hours every single day once my kids were in school. I think in the last three months I’ve put in less time than ever toward my business. It’s disheartening.
While my weekdays fly by in a flurry of grocery shopping, laundry, cooking, and cleaning, I really struggle with nights and weekends. I find myself lately feeling very envious of the rest of my family who are truly on break during those times. They have their solid work/school hours of the week and the rest of their time is for fun and relaxation. They have no problem spending an entire Saturday playing video games and watching movies together. And I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that. The problem arises because I feel like I can’t afford to take those breaks. Ever. Meals always need to be made, laundry always needs to be done, dishes are always next to the sink, groceries always need to be bought, the kitchen table always needs to be cleaned off, the floors always need to be swept, the litter boxes always need to be cleaned. And at this time of the year, everything Christmas related falls entirely on me. The planning, the shopping, the wrapping, the baking, the executing of each and every tiny detail. It’s so completely overwhelming.
I know I sound like I’m complaining. But honestly the problem is where I stand in my head. I’m so jealous of the fact that the other members of my family have a very clear cut balance in their lives. I feel like I’m surrounded by work ALL THE TIME and I don’t know how to not see it. I’ve always been a perfectionist and I’ve always had a really good work ethic. I hate to see things undone and I seriously cannot turn off my brain to stop thinking about my to do list. Ever, at any point, day or night. I have a problem!
When school started this year I was so excited about my plans. I would sew a lot – and only during the day. I’d set it aside at 3:00 and not think about it again until the following morning. I’d have my nights completely free to make dinner, help with homework, and just be with my kids and not be stressed about the half finished dolls all over the place. I also fully intended on having friend dates. Clearly nobody will be inviting me for playdates anymore, but I didn’t want to lose my friends because of it. I wanted to go to coffee or lunch or just hang out at a park with at least one friend every week. I wanted to better plan and condense my grocery shopping to only one morning a week so I’m not constantly running out for things I forgot. I wanted weekends to be centered on family time. Finding fun things we could do all together, since doing special activities during the week was no longer an option. You know what happened to all those plans? By about the third week of September when I was crazily working on Caden’s birthday and parties, all my best intentions just went out the window. And with one big event after another I haven’t been able to get on track since. I’m so tired, stressed out, and still constantly feel guilty and inadequate.
I’ve read a lot of books, heard a lot of speakers, and know on an intellectual level that my worth is not determined by what I DO. If I measure myself by how much I accomplish every day, I’m basically never going to be enough. I realize that one day my kids are going to grown and gone. My list of chores will shrink significantly. And I’ll probably look back on this time in my life and hate myself for how much time I wasted worrying about things that truly didn’t matter. I want to be the kind of person that puts people first, no matter what. I want it to be blatantly obvious that my husband and kids are my first priority in life. I want them to realize that. Right now I just feel like this invisible person that does all the behind the scenes work to make sure their lives run smoothly, but I’m not really an active participant in their lives. And it’s been this way for so long that they don’t even notice or care. It makes me really sad. But I also – still – do not know how to change things. Who is going to make meals and do laundry if I don’t? Who is going to make birthday parties and holidays happen if I’m not constantly working on them? I can’t figure out how to let things go. I really can’t figure out how to properly balance my life. And I can’t stop linking check marks off the to do list with my worth at the end of a day.
I have no solutions for myself or anybody else that feels this way too. Other than to just keep trying. Look at those little faces and realize they don’t care about clean houses. They probably don’t even care about clean clothes! They just want ME. And that is where I should feel my worth. In what I can be to them, not what I do. If I can remember that, then maybe things will be better.