When you think of the holidays, what images come to mind? Cold weather, great deals, crazy traffic, crazier family gatherings? (Just kidding about that last one.) All of these are familiar to me, but my overall feeling is that the holidays are a time of giving. Giving help, giving gifts, giving cheer, giving advice. It’s the advice giving that gave me the idea for today’s post.
Who needs help more than a Mom? We are constantly juggling kids, work, household issues, community commitments, friendships, and our own health and well being – throw a major holiday or two into the mix, and you have a recipe for burn out. Who, besides me, has been here before?
In my experience, Moms especially have a need to do it all and do it well. We want to bake the prettiest cupcakes, volunteer for the classroom holiday party, get a promotion at work, keep our husbands healthy, and attend yoga class at least three times a week for both the Zen and fitness benefits. Outside, all looks perfect. Clean kids, completed projects, touched-up highlights…but inside, I bet most of us are like ducks – looking calm on the surface, but paddling like hell under the water.
So, what is the solution? I don’t think I can solve the problem of being over-committed, but I do have two suggestions that will help: Admit to fellow Mom friends that we are in the same boat AND Accept this realization when someone offers it to you!
Think about it: When you see a friend who, from your perspective, has it all together, it makes you feel just a tiny bit inadequate, right? How does she get her kids to each kale, maintain a constantly full plate at work effortlessly, and still have a regular date night with her husband? Clearly, there is something wrong with you because you could never live up to this standard. Wrong!
I guarantee that this seeming easily-achieved charmed life is, in reality, pretty much the same as yours. Do yourself a favor – ask her how she does it all. You will be surprised to know that she feels as overburdened as you! Maybe her hair is highlighted, but it hasn’t been washed in a week! That kale achievement? Perhaps it came at the end of a fight/bargaining match with her toddler. Sound familiar? We are all in the same boat. I have been on both sides of this equation, both thinking that I can’t measure up and having a friend say that my life seemed charmed and that it was hard to believe I had a problem. Ouch.
That’s how I know that both of my suggestions are important. Personal experience. Let’s be quick to correct this assumption, whether it is us or someone else doing the assuming. We have enough on our plates without also trying to compete with our friends for Mom of the Year.
Ahhh. Doesn’t that feel better? Now, I am off to bake those cupcakes. After all, the class holiday party is tomorrow!