I’m exhausted. Most of the time. I don’t mind too much–its to be expected as a (new) parent. And, we have so much fun with Sam. We love being parents. Lately though, I’ve been struggling with exhaustion a little more. Maybe because Sam is in a clingy phase and is speed crawling everywhere. Things I usually enjoy doing have been really difficult. I love cooking. I love finding new recipes to try. I even love weekly menu planning. But lately I can’t seem to muster up enough energy to get my creative juices flowing. I stare blankly at the calendar and the grocery list. Once I somehow carve out a plan and one of us goes shopping, but I can barely follow through and actually cook.
When I get home from work and sit down, its over. All I want to do is either sit or play with Sam. So, we’ve had quite a few, “Honey, can you just pick up a $5 Hot-N-Ready?” These nights have been especially hard for me because I’m a big believer in vegetables. So when we don’t have a vegetable with dinner, a part of me dies and I feel like a failure. (Sam doesn’t get pizza–he usually gets steamed veggies or something healthier than take-out pizza).
So, I got to thinking, How do people do this with more than one kid? We can barely keep all the pieces from tumbling down.
And then my wonderful friend, in beautiful honesty and transparency, helped me to breathe a little easier. My friend and her husband are my parent role models. They are several years older than us and have two kids, one of whom is Sam’s age. They are always doing fun things, and they enter every room with big smiles and contagious laughs. And their kids are adorable (and quite well dressed). They make parenting look so easy. I’ve often thought, How do they have so much energy? With two kids. And, they’re like six years older than us.
“We have a real problem with over-committing. We are exhausted and barely making it. You should have seen us trying to get out of the door today.”
Her words resonated with me, still weeks later. In the South, particularly, we have a habit of putting on our “everything is perfect” face, when in reality, everything is not perfect. But when everyone always says everything is fine or good, its easy to compare ourselves to others. We think that we must be doing a terrible job or something is wrong with us, especially when it looks like everyone else is doing way better than we are.
I’m lucky to be a part of a community who strives to be honest and raw with each other. And, it really helps me put my life in perspective. The truth is that most parents are barely making it. Sure, they have their good seasons and hit their stride, but most of us have been in the season of I think I’m drowning.
Perspective is a funny thing. Here I am in a season of exhaustion and feeling overwhelmed when someone at work tells me, “You make being a working mom look easy.” I laughed out loud. Seriously? I sure don’t feel like it. I told my friend she is the inspiration for this post she laughed and said, “We have a poopy diaper every time we try to leave the house. I keep deodorant, toothpaste, and a toothbrush at work because I usually forget to do all that in the morning.” (Why haven’t I thought of this yet?)
Now I’m breathing a little easier, letting myself off the hook. I don’t have to have everything together. Its okay to have piles of clean laundry scattered around the house. Or a sink full of day-old dirty dishes. Its good to know that other moms are feeling the same way I am–even the ones I look up to.