There are mornings that seem promising, and then there are mornings that seem off. For anyone who suffers from self doubt and feelings of being inadequate, the mornings that seem “off” far outnumber the promising days. I have always struggled with being enough, which has meant that I try way too hard to be someone I am not. I am a very capable woman, but lately, I have realized that I truly cannot do it all. I have been so wrapped up with trying to prove that I am capable, that I have proven the very opposite. I have only shown others, especially my children that I can be overwhelmed, hurried, angry that I am not getting it all done. I hurry them, and say harsh things, just so I can get somewhere on time. Is this really “getting it all done”? What is it that I really need to do that is so important that my kids and husband see disappointment in myself and frustration with them?
In November, I became so sick that the doctors put me on 5 powerful antibiotics, which in turn caused problems of there own. It was a long month for me. I could not do any of the tasks that I usually do. I would start something, then end up in bed because of the pain and fatigue. I could not just get better like I have in the past. This resulted in me having to stay home while the rest of my family travelled back east to visit family for Thanksgiving. I felt awful, and down about myself. I said things out loud about how I did not like myself, that I always let people down. I am so unhealthy, such a burden. What I did not know, was that my children were listening so intently. Fast forward to the end of December, and our son, who was down, opened up that he felt the same way about himself. It hit me like a ton of bricks. First of all, that my rushing to “get it all done”, was putting pressure on my kids. In my attempt to get them where they all needed to go, I was not listening to how they were feeling. But this was not the first time I realized it. I did realize this back in November, when I was alone and had time to think. During my alone time, which I realized I never had in 15 years, I decided to read, craft and look at how I ended up so sick. I wrote down what I do in an entire week and it literally took up two sides of a poster board! But the main thing that stood out was not the amount, but what was not on it. Quality, unrushed time with my husband and kids, as well as by myself. I was thinking I was doing all things for God and in reality, I was doing it all so that I could look like I am a woman who can do it all.
I am not beating myself up! Truly, I needed this sickness to show me the state of my life. We are all busy, but what is it that is driving us? Appearances, money, accomplishing our goals? None of those are bad, but when they become the number one reason, we can exhaust ourselves.
I have made small but big changes. The main one being to pray in the mornings, in the afternoons and in the evenings. I constantly pray that I can live in the moment given. That I am not distracted when my kids talk to me, that my mind doesn’t drift to what has been left undone when my husband tells me about his day. To absorb each and every moment with whomever I am with. Another is to have at least one day completely free to spend with the kids. Even though I homeschool, I schedule so much that I cannot devote my time to what my kids are really in need of. Since doing this, my kids have said thank you! This was the biggest surprise of all! This day helps me to take care of myself as well, and has also led to more days of just being. Not pressuring myself to be someone more, but to just be. Lastly, I have really begun to listen to my feelings, and how I express how I feel about myself. I desire that my kids know that there are people they can talk with, that they do not need to compare themselves to others. Be proud of who they are. Most importantly, I want to be an example to my kids that I can be a mother who does make mistakes, but it is not the end of the world. I want them to realize one can change, it does take work and lots of mistakes, but it can be done. I don’t have to talk down to myself when I do make a mistake, but I can instead acknowledge it and move on.
Old habits die hard, and the awful feelings creep back in. But, truly with therapy, forgiveness of myself and not taking things so seriously, I have begun to grow. Little baby steps, but ones that have made huge impacts.
Please, go easier on yourselves. No one is perfect. Not one person can do it all. When you are easier on yourself, others will see the changes and respond. Besides, asking for help and doing things together builds a stronger world.
Love to you all and thanks for reading,