I’d like to write a piece bursting with never-before-heard life-hacks for balancing your job, your spouse, your kids and all of the million and one things that go along with them. I am a person who plans and makes to-do lists and is typically pretty organized. I put my winter clothes into storage during the summer and vice-versa, I rarely have to run to the store for a cooking or baking ingredient because I’ve realized we’re out in the middle of preparation, and I only occasionally have to do a load of laundry ASAP because my kids run out of clean undies.
I don’t like being caught off-guard or ill-prepared. I’m not perfect, but I think I’m pretty good at this job. But right now, I simply do not have my stuff together. Right now, there is a half-emptied plastic bin of summer clothes sitting on my bedroom floor even though it’s been summer weather for over a month. I haven’t gotten my husband an anniversary gift even though our anniversary was last week. And there are more weeds than flowers in many of our flower-pots.
We’ve been dealing with a lot around here including a job change for my husband and the death of a family member who was a big and beloved presence in our lives. I’m trying to help my husband turn our finished basement into an office and prepare for him to be away for a week for training. We have doctor’s appointments four out of five days this week due to our imminent change in insurance. My mother’s health is in serious decline and she lives almost four hours away. And it’s so hot outside I feel like I might burst into flames every time I walk outside. There’s a lot going on. Oh, and the baby doesn’t sleep so well, either.
Lately, it feels like life is swirling around me in some crazy, colossal vortex. I don’t want to get sucked down into it, so I have to do what AA has been recommending for decades—take it one day at a time.
Right now, it’s not possible for me to plan too far ahead. I’m a little overwhelmed and a lot tired. I can’t really worry about where were going to stay for a friend’s wedding in September—we can figure that out later. Today, it’s enough that the baby is fed and clean and happy, that our kindergartner has her bathing suit and sunscreen on before camp, that there’s food in the fridge, and that we are chipping away at the office-project. Tomorrow I will worry about the next few items on my list.
Life does get really hectic sometimes, especially for mothers. We are often expected to take care of more than should be reasonably expected, and sometimes we are going to get overwhelmed. The work is rewarding, but the days can be really long. We should allow ourselves to say Today, I am going to pay all of the bills, but I’m NOT going to grocery-shop. Or Today, I am NOT going to wash any clothes, but I will put away the clean laundry that’s been sitting in the family room for three days. Today, I did laundry, and I vacuumed, and I took my daughter to the dentist, but we had leftovers for dinner. And that’s ok. I did what I could handle.
Most days, I try and do it all, and I have an extra cup of coffee at two p.m. so I can fit it all in, but not today. I’m taking today in bite-sized chunks that I’ll actually be able to swallow. Today is not going to be Instagram or Pinterest-worthy at my house. And that’s fine. Tonight, I’ll hope for a good night’s sleep, and tomorrow I can go back to trying to be The Stay-At-Home-Mom-Champ.