I can’t tell if I’m the only one, or if everyone else is just better at covering it up, but sometimes I feel like I’m drowning in responsibilities. A messy house, a growing to-do list, forever forgetting just about everything. Throw in procrastination and a lack of motivation, and I feel just plain defeated.
Sometimes, life feels like a hamster wheel. Like I’m running and running and running all day long. Laundry, meltdowns, dishes, repeat. Over and over and over again, and yet nothing ever seems to be done, or stay done. Yesterday, I was like the energizer bunny working away all day long, but do I have anything to show for it? NOPE! Even my most productive days don’t seem to cut it. It’s never enough!
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It’s hard on days like this to crawl out of the deep pit of defeat. My mountain of laundry seems insurmountable, and when the kids yell “Mom! Mom!! MOM!!!” my patience is low. For someone who battles feelings of inadequacy and failure. I feel like I’ve lost.
I spoke to someone today about our mutual struggle with procrastination, and she mentioned how she stalls on the big tasks of mopping, doing dishes, and folding laundry. Sigh. What I wouldn’t give to have her kind of procrastination skills. To be a productive procrastinator. Unfortunately, I’m the not today, I choose Netflix procrastinator and that really puts a wrench in productivity of any sort.
I think a large part of my problem is that keeping up with everything seems like an impossible task.
Maybe it is (mom of four here), but the more I think about it, the problem may be my expectations. I have this gold standard in my head of mothers who get the job done. You know Leave It to Beaver style, keeping a spotless home, greeting her kids after school with freshly baked, low-sugar, organic cookies. The mom who always knows what to say and never loses her cool. The mom who is always organized and put together and never, ever late for the bus stop.
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In my head, those are the other moms on the block. They’ve got their act together. They’ve got “a place for everything, and everything in its place” and I’ve got piles of school papers and one too many junk drawers. I envision the other moms with pristine houses, organized toy bins, and Pinterest-worthy meals on the table every night. I want so badly to be that mom who’s got it all together, but sadly I’m not. Who knows, maybe the truth is that mom doesn’t exist.
My mother-in-law has a sign in her house that reads, “This house is clean enough to be healthy, and dirty enough to be happy.” I’ve read it for years and just never let in sink in. I think a large part of why I am so overwhelmed is my expectations are so unattainable. Frankly, I’m not even sure they’re healthy.
I tried to be the “that mom” once . . . and I was exhausted.
The floors were spotless, the laundry bins empty, and the food was always from scratch, but our family suffered for it. See, though the house was immaculate, I was cranky, high-strung, and barely spent any time with my kids. It wasn’t good for anyone!
Somewhere along the way, we women have learned to determine our worth and how good of a mother we are by the state of our homes. Don’t get me wrong, we have a responsibility to take care of our homes and kids, but we’re not measured by it.
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My kids aren’t going to grow up and reminisce about how mom was so tidy, and who cares if Karen down the street has a cleaner house than mine? Not me! Well, maybe a little bit, but I’m working on it.
So, maybe the new standard should go something like this. The mom whose house is lived in but not too chaotic. The mom who always loves on her kids more than she yells at them, and the mom who has it mostly together, and is sometimes still late for the bus stop. I think that’s doable, and maybe just one more, the woman who isn’t too hard on herself and not only sees her losses but celebrates her wins.
Previously published on the author’s blog