Wearing Many Hats As A Mother Can Feel Impossible Some Days

Wearing lots of hatsLast week I froze. I froze and my brain couldn’t seem to process simple tasks. I stood there in my kitchen, with my hands on the counter while my four kids were asking for “more snacks” and “what’s for dinner?”

The dishes were still piled up beside the sink from breakfast, the house looked like a tornado had gone through it, and I couldn’t seem to process what I should do next.

I walked from room to room without completing one a simple task.

Each day I wear many hats. I am a blogger, writer, entrepreneur, business woman, story teller, daughter, sister, friend, mother, wife, caretaker, nurse, janitor, chauffeur, chef, and a therapist, just to name a few.

Throughout the day my brain has to shift into different gears; planning meals, dressing, cleaning and feeding kids, then switch into a momprenuer for different segments throughout the day, before switching gears back into a mom and then often back into a business woman/wife in the evening.

On that particular day last week, my brain couldn’t seem to make the switch. The gears got stuck and I froze in neutral.

Deadlines, ideas, pitches and to-do lists still filled my head while I was supposed to be thinking about dinner, snacks, baths, homework, and spending quality time with my kids.

Working mom

But on this day it all felt like too much.

My four-year-old daughter began screaming, yelling that her throat hurt and she felt so sick. She needed me to shift into nurse mode. I momentarily snapped out of it, assessed that my three other kids were safe and secure, then scooped her up, carried her to her room, tucked her into bed, took her temperature and gave her medicine.

I told her I’d be up in a bit with her dinner and retreated back downstairs. Downstairs to all of my other responsibilities.

It all felt like too much. After another long pause I was able to get a few basic tasks done.

It was time to make the decision on how I would process this feeling of being overwhelmed. Do I  just let the tears flow like I did the previous week? Did I have the energy to snap out of it and take charge? Or do I just numb myself and let all of the extra stuff go?

I made the decision to walk away. Walk away from the mess. Walk away from the to-do list, the emails, the unfolded laundry and focus on my family and my time-sensitive work deadlines.

I had to shelf a bunch of my hats, and focus on one task at a time.

That’s the thing. You can have it all, but never at the exact same time. Something always has to take a back seat. Something always has to wait.

I am learning that if I am going to follow my two dreams: being a mother and a successful entrepreneur, I am going to have to learn that sometimes the extra noise can wait.

The Historic Mommies’ Night Out, A Mom’s Identity Found

IMG_5105From Left: Shelley, Amanda, Jennine and Myself.

Last week I set out to plan an evening with my mommy-friends.  One of them emailed the rest of us suggesting a night out of town with dinner, drinks and if we were feeling a little crazy, maybe even some dancing!  After careful plotting with our husbands and many more exchanged emails, my friends and I finally planned a REAL ladies night out.  Not a quick meal in town where one of us gets called home because of a screaming child, or an evening at one of our houses with a couple of diapered tag-alongs.  But a real, makeup and heels night out!

After removing the carseats in my van and vacuuming up all of the cheerios I was ready to pick up the ladies and head out on the town; maybe we should pitch a show called “Mommy Vans After Dark”?  My friend Amanda was too cute, she must have said how excited she was about every two minutes during the car ride which continued on in the restaurant.  I just had to snap a picture of her excitement!

IMG_5106We had many laughs and learned a lot more about each other (which we didn’t think was possible).

One underlying theme that has been paramount when I have been chatting with other moms at the same stage as me lately is the feeling of a lost identity.   Many of us have been so immersed in the baby and then toddler stage that we have left ourselves behind.  Now that the dust has settled and we are able to start venturing out again, we are finding it hard to see exactly where our place in the world is other than being a mom and a wife.  We are not quite the person we were before having kids, so who are we now?

About a year and a half ago I had already been home with my kids for three years and was fighting increasing depression.  My whole life I had wanted to be a stay-at-home mom like my mother.  She had always made it looks so fulfilling.  But when it was my turn it was not at all what I thought it would be.  My son Holden was extremely moody and anxious for the first couple of years which kept me fairly isolated.  When our adventurous and happy daughter Beau came along I was so burnt out that I barely had the energy to enjoy the simple pleasures of being a mom.

I found myself resenting my husband Mike leaving to work everyday and not having a reason to get out of my sweats.  I finally came to a breaking point where I decided I needed to get back into the working world.  I had to remind myself that even my mother, an incredible stay-at-home mom was also pursuing her dreams of singing on stage in the evenings with community theatre.  So I joined an Interior Design firm and started to re-discover myself. After a year of working I realized that this too was not the perfect fit.  I did not feel very supported by my work about the fact that I was a mom and I could also see the toll that the long days in daycare were taking on my kids, especially my son.  I needed to find a happy medium.

It was time to start a new journey.  I would do what I had always wanted to do: run my own business.  With a lot of support from Mike we pulled our kids out of daycare and put a halt on our spending (which wasn’t easy because we had just moved).  It has been a balancing act but so far so good!

There are days when my house looks like a bomb went off or I have to remind myself that I am still working and to be careful to protect my “working” time but I find myself excited and fulfilled everyday.  I still get out of my sweats, put some makeup on and style my hair even if I am just heading out to a playdate.

The biggest piece of advice I can give other moms is this: motherhood may not be exactly what you thought it was going to be or you may not have everything as clean or as organized as you would like, but that doesn’t mean you are failing as a mother.  Every woman’s path as a mother and a wife or partner is different and you have to carve out your own that doesn’t just include your kids and your husband/partner but yourself as well.  Whether you are working or at home, single or with a partner, make sure you are doing something that is also for you.  Something that is yours and that you are in control of.  If you are worried you might be putting too much on your husband/ partner for an evening here or a day there, they might shock you (and also pick up a bit more of the housework along the way).  Trust me, you will be a better mother and wife/partner for it!  We wear many hats and are trying to take care of a lot of other people.  But before we can happily give so much to our family we must give to ourselves first.