I’ve realized some things since bringing home Eudora. The biggest thing that I’ve learned is that it’s so much harder to go from one to two than to go from none to one. Even with the husband using a lot of vacation time to work part time-ish so that he can help out, I frequently find that I am a completely overwhelmed mom. I know that the biggest reason for the overwhelmed mom feelings is how many things I want to do and think that I should do versus how many things I can realistically do.
I keep trying to figure out how to do an arts and crafts thing daily with Norton, get my house back to immaculate and keep it that way, cook a big breakfast and dinner, get a postpartum workout routine going and do it every day, take the kids to the park, and do the weekly activities on Norton’s roster. I’d fretted to one of my friends about this, and… well, this is why I love K so much. She told me that anyone who tells me that she is doing all of these things is either “pulling your leg or on meth.”
I felt better about what all I’m not getting done, though I still want to do those things. And of course, I’m a bit of a perfectionist, so I keep fretting about these things. Then there are those days when anyone would be an overwhelmed mom: at least one kid crying at all times, putting the dogs downstairs because the toddler is being too rough with them, bringing the dogs back up because the dogs are crying over being segregated, the house is a disaster, and the upstairs toilet is backed up. (Yeah, I called the husband and told him to come home when that happened, otherwise I couldn’t guarantee that all children and animals would survive the day.) Still, every day isn’t a complete and total disaster.
The things that have helped me get things sort of on track are Hoarders, FlyLady, Backwood Housewife, and Hands On As We Grow.
1.) Hoarders. We’ve all seen that show, right? It’s a bit of a motivational tool for me. I watch it as I fold laundry (recorded episodes on the PVR, so I can pause it), and then pause at scene changes and clean another room for five to ten minutes.
2.) FlyLady. She’s quite the motivator in her own gentle way. The biggest thing that has stuck from her system is using the timer. Reading her book Sink Reflections can help, too, even if I never really have gotten the draw of the shiny sink. Her constant reminders that my house didn’t get trashed in a day and that perfectionism can hold me back helps.
3.) Backwoods Housewife. She’s another blogger who wrote a wonderful post on when things fall apart. She’s got twelve things that she focuses on getting done, and it helps. Granted, all twelve of her tasks don’t apply in my house, but that simple little list helps put things in perspective when I’m an overwhelmed mom.
4.) Hands on As We Grow. This is another blog that I love, and it’s got absolutely nothing to do with managing my house. It’s a great blog filled with activities that one can do with her own child. Okay, sometimes I look at that blog and feel like I suck because I don’t do those things, but recently she put out a blog post about the things that hold us back from being a hands on parent who does those cool things. She looks at the top excuses that we have for ourselves and debunks them. The biggest is my fear over lack of time. She points out that it doesn’t take anywhere near as long as I think. That one post motivates me to get brave and try something with Norton. Sometimes the activity doesn’t work out (like he just was not really interested in coloring with me today), but that’s okay, too. What’s important is that I made the effort, and I know to scrap an idea in favor of something else the next time.
Of course, I also couldn’t let go of the idea that maybe there’s some super secret time management tip that I’ve been failing in (and I was the time management queen when I worked outside of the home), so I Googled for ideas on how to do it all. And then I found one of my own blog posts about how there are things that can help out with getting things done, but the biggest and best things to remember are that I can’t do everything and that I’m home to be a mom to my kids, not to be a maid.
At this point, maybe we’ll get a cleaning lady to help out. Then maybe I can enjoy my kids more instead of being an overwhelmed mom all the time. Or maybe just a Roomba to help with the floors.
How do you cope with being an overwhelmed mom?