I'm going to be really honest here...lately, I've been struggling.
Juggling all the responsibilities I have: being a doting wife, an ever-present stay-at-home-mom, active volunteer with kids at church and school, an in-touch friend, caring family member, etc.
And before I go any further, let me say that I consider every facet of my life a blessing - my family, children, friends, talents. I am lucky to have such a rich, full life.
But let's be honest, these "blessings" can easily create some "wear and tear." And I'm mostly referring to "stay-at-home-mom" part of the equation.
A few times a year, I'd say, I get to a point where I know I'm struggling. If you're like me, when you feel that coming on, you can often push it aside, just push through. But, inevitably, at some point, it will pile up, until you find yourself loosing it over small things, thoughts that you usually just think come pouring out of your mouth, like, "Lucy, just go to your room for a minute, mommy's LOSING it!!!"
And that's where I am. I can't push it aside any longer. I need a little break.
So, instead of joining my family and in-laws at the Auburn A-Day game this weekend (as was originally the plan), I decided to stay behind. And my sweet, very understanding husband did not object too strongly when I suggested the idea. I'm sure it was no surprise to him I had been slipping a little lately. He said that he'd miss me greatly, but to stay home and do whatever I wanted all weekend.
Ahhhhhhh, consider it done! ;-)
One of the hardest parts, in my opinion, of being a S.A.H.M (stay-at-home-mom) is that you never get to leave your place of work. I know Jason has a difficult job, but it's like there's a clock-in and a clock-out. At the end of the day, he gets to get in his car, and leave his place of work - a place that often presents stress and challenges- but which he also gets to leave behind, every day, at the end of the day. SAHM's don't have that chance. We eat, sleep, and breathe where we work.
When I was a teacher, I enjoyed that time at the end of the day where I got in my car and drove away from school. No matter how great or bad the day might have been, I could release a huge breath, and head to the security and comfort of home.
And before you might object, "But SAHM's get to have breaks when the kids sleep!" let me fill you in on some of the "To-Do" lists that are likely on any mom's list to take care of when the blessed little angels are sleeping:
clean up from lunch
call the babysitter
fold the clothes
iron the clothes
pay the pest control man
call friend about her family's sick grandfather
call hospital to check in with friend who just had baby
send out bunco email
reschedule tutoring session
retrieve old sippy cups from the car
check and refill diaper bag
mail birthday card
make list for grocery store shopping
cut out costco coupons to use on next trip
fill up car with gas
pick up toys strewn all around the house
find someone to come as a princess to kid's bday party
check calendar to be aware of upcoming important dates
collect random shoes around the house and find match
figure out dinner
make list for husband of things he's responsible for doing
put random portable phones back on base units
find portable phones
take down and put up new kids' artwork
plan date night
check up on friends' blogs
get birthday gift for friend
finish scrapbook page
work on quilt
disinfect toys with lysol
clean up toys from driveway
and it goes on and on...
And I'm not sure if anyone would view my staying behind from the family outing as selfish, but to them I would say that I think it's far better to take a "mental health day" (as I used to call them in middle school, although that was usually just when I had a huge zit and would beg my mom to let me stay home from school ;-), and collect yourself because I will be a much less frazzled mom, and surely a more attentive wife, when my family gets back home on Sunday.
Think of it as I'm taking two days vacation from "work." That's what people who work for a business get to do, right? Nope, mom's don't get "sick days," and only if they're really lucky like I am and have a husband who would take a "sick day" from their work to be able to come home and watch the kids, can they actually be sick and lay in bed, rather than be sick and struggle to get through the day.
I hope this doesn't sound dramatic, I'm not intending to be, rather, just shedding a little light on a subject which is on my mind.
I LOVE being a SAHM, and I would move heaven and earth before I had to be away from my kids to go to work. I'm very fortunate to be able to stay home; it's important to me; we make it work, but that doesn't mean that it's rainbows and roses every day. And it doesn't mean that I don't need to use "vacation days" every so often.
I read this quote on another blog I follow, and it really inspired this post for today.
"Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling five balls in the air. You name them - work, family, health, friends, and spirit - and you're keeping all of these in the air. You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four balls - family, health, friends, and spirit are made of glass. If you drop one of these, they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged, or even shattered. They will never be the same. You must understand that and strive for balance in your life."
-Brian Dyson, CEO of Coca Cola EnterpriseMy two cents is that, sometimes, in order to make sure you don't "drop the important ball," you have to make sure you don't have slippery hands. When you feel like you're slipping, find your footing. It's not selfish, it's smart.