There are lots of reasons to love being a mom: gorgeous little faces that light up when they see you, snuggling on the couch, watching them sleep .... But anyone who's being honest with themselves would admit it's sometimes a tough gig.
And that's before the insane expectations society puts on us, or that we put on ourselves. We're expected to be beautiful, successful, well-dressed (or risk getting mocked for looking like a mom), be up for awesome sex all the time, feel completely comfortable rocking stilettos as we chase our kids around the playground, never yell, love nothing more than amusing and educating little people 24-7, and stack up favorably against images like Sainted Mother Angelina Jolie (but without her money or phalanx of nannies).
And that, my friends, is BS ... and can lead to a raging case of mothering burnout, described as "when family life leaves you frazzled" in this brilliant Daily Mail piece. See if any of these sound familiar:
- An ill-timed dirty diaper (because aren't they all) makes you burst into tears.
- You discover that you, too, can use your "outside voice" inside.
- Your partner casually asks you to call the cable people to ask a question and you feel like he's placed the weight of the world on your shoulders.
- Your fantasies involve being in a hotel room with a huge bed and cool, crisp sheets ... alone. For at least 24 hours.
- You begrudge your husband an overnight stay at a sleep testing center because he gets to have an uninterrupted night of sleep.
- Your roots are now longer than your hair was the last time you got it cut.
- Your kids, however, look great.
- You draw armpit hair and a mustache on a picture of Angelina Jolie on a magazine cover at the Y. Just to.
- A Facebook friend sees you at the park and says, "When I get stressed out, I just read your status updates and am glad I'm not you."
- Your dog thinks her name is Dammit Bailey.
- People have started suggesting you switch to decaf.
- You're so exhausted you drive for awhile with the baby in the car seat ... but without the straps fastened.
- Your kids have every well-child visit right on time; your doctor has to go get your chart out of storage when you show up.
- Your kid spills something on their last clean outfit and you send them to school in it anyway.
- Planning a grocery trip feels like planning a military invasion.
- You go to kiss your husband on the cheek and make the same nom-nom-nom noises you do with your kid.
- You find yourself envying Betty Draper's ability to be such a crappy mom and not care.
- Your fuse gets Herve Villechaize-short.
- Your first response to your children's drama is to choke back the impulse to say, "Here's a quarter ..."
- You aren't sure if it's Tuesday or Sunday ... or March ... because every day starts feeling the same.
- You spend so much time in the car shuttling your kids places that people describe you thusly: "Blond, three kids, blue minivan ..."
- Your partner makes a move on you as you're stumbling toward your bedtime, and all you can say is "are you kidding me?"
- You feel like everyone has it all together ... except you.
Fun, huh? But you can get your swing back. First of all, get some help, so you can take a break. Whether it's your partner, friends, or family, even that nice mom at the preschool, most people would be willing to watch your kids for an hour or two while you chill out. If that's not an option, find a sitter. Yes, it can be expensive, but they're cheaper than therapy.
I know a lot of women feel guilty asking their partner for the time ... which leads into the next idea: give up guilt. Your kids will not suffer, and will probably get into a decent college and everything, if you say no to the third evening activity every week in order to slow the pace a little.
And most importantly, try to get off the competimommy merry-go-round. Tell yourself that everyone is doing the best they can, because they are. And that includes you.
Image via Evil Erin/Flickr