The notion of the can-do woman has permeated our culture so deeply that women, and mothers in particular, are terribly hard on themselves. We aim to be the SuperMom, to “do it all,” and inevitably, we realize that we have too many balls in the air and at least one of them is bound to come crashing down.
When I first left my career in financial planning to become a Stay-At-Home Mom, I had awful feelings of self-doubt. I thought that since I wasn’t “working” I needed to fill that space with loads of others things to make myself seem “useful.” I loaded up my plate with numerous activities that I thought a Stay-At-Home mom should or needed to do. It’s been 2 years now as a Stay-At-Home parent and my “work” resume has certainly grown.
Although I’m sure that I’m culturally influenced, it’s not only that I feel the need to “do it all,” but I actually want to do it all. It’s the “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” mentality that keeps me moving, dreaming, and improving myself and my family. Yet sometimes, amidst the hustle and bustle of motherhood and life in general, a ball gets dropped. But I don’t let it stop me – I keep trying.
You can stumble and you can fall, but you can also pick yourself up again and keep going. Let the hobbies and the career goals and the volunteer work take turns with family priorities. Life is a revolving door of opportunities coming and going; sometimes you catch them and sometimes you don’t.
Each time I seem to make progress toward reaching one of my personal goals, life steps in and said, “Hey, wait a minute….don’t you need to fold the laundry or pay the bills or pick up the kids”…or do some other mundane task? I hate to admit that, but it’s just reality, folks.
In the moments that I find myself thinking too much about what I haven’t done yet in my life (usually I think about this when I’m folding laundry oddly enough), I try to step back and realize that I have done a lot already – maybe not in the timeline I expected, but I have achieved goals. For instance, I can now put on my resume that I volunteered as a Room Parent – even if it was only for a year. I can say that I have coached a team sport for one of my daughters – and found great happiness in doing it. I can say that I have tried new classes at my gym and challenged myself physically over the past 2 years. I can say that I’ve maintained my writing skills through this blog and other outlets. I can say that I’ve expressed myself creatively through painting, created a website to house my gallery of work (www.thepurplehayes.gallery), and have even had a few paying customers in the mix.
And I can say that I have helped to create a semblance of sanity and order in a house full of small children. I can’t say I’ve done all of these things at once, but with patience and time, I still believe that you can do it all, or at least try. It’s the trying that keeps me going.