In our lives, whether we are parents or not, grieving or not, experiencing change or not, we all have times when our ‘bags’ feel full. Our head is full to overwhelm and we feel restricted by demands and expectations.
What if we simply emptied our bags?
It’s almost February. Which I am sure for some people means they are well-established and well-underway taking action toward achieving their plans and goals for this year.
But, I’d hazard a guess that for a good proportion of working mothers, this is not the case. Yes, really.
As women, whether we are working or not, mothers or not, grieving or not, we can often find ourselves with a sense of overwhelm. Generally, our society expects us to be wonder-women; to do everything with style and grace, and of course, with a smile.
But so often this sense of expectation leads to overwhelm, burnout and resentment.
What if it was Okay for us to simply say no?
Yes, it’s nearly the end of the year again. And as busy mothers, we know that the holidays at this time of year bring great joy but also potential overwhelm.
With the school year wrapping up (here in the Australia anyway), the working year heading into end-of-year party time, plus the holiday season rapidly approaching, many of us are rushed off our feet for these last few weeks of the year. We have multiple things to do on our to-do list, places to be and people to see. Plus, as mothers, we tend to have a huge list of things to get done that don’t even make it onto our to-do list!
Avoiding feeling overwhelmed is even more important if you are experiencing grief or a heightened emotional state.
But how do we find calm in this space? How do we avoid feeling overwhelmed?
As adults, we know that there will be days when things go wrong. The bus is late, the kids are naughty, you spill your coffee, the dog vomits on the carpet and so on. Knowing this and accepting that these days (or nights) will occur is part of life.
But we can protect ourselves from further challenges by being prepared. Not prepared to fail, but prepared to be successful even when things are not going so well.
And the key? Being organised.
How many of us have said we wish we had more hours in the day? Or, we wish that time would slow down a little?
As we get older, and have more to do it feels like the years slip past. I know I feel this way. As a child the school terms felt so long, but as a parent, they fly past!
I’ve been called a perfectionist much of my life. Attempting to achieve perfection meant I often wouldn’t try new things or finish things I started; in case they were not perfect! Despite these fairly major drawbacks, at times I have worn the perfectionist label with pride, but not anymore. Now it’s all about ‘good enough’.
In our day to day lives we are so busy with juggling paid-work, our kids, our partner, unpaid work and other commitments and demands upon our time that we run out of time for ourselves. We often find we have unwittingly put ourselves last, again. I’m not alone in this, right?!
If we have a rare moment for ourselves we feel guilty.
It’s Okay to … protect your time by not answering the phone
Yes, it certainly is. I don’t mean indefinitely, although that might suit some of you, rather I mean not responding to the call right now. Respond in your own time, when you are ready.
Clearly there are times when you need to answer the phone, for example if it’s your child’s school or childcare and they are currently AT that school or childcare. That should be pretty self-evident!
Rather, I am referring to the times of your day or life when you are either feeling overwhelmed, stressed or emotional. Always your time is precious, and you can choose how you spend it, but even more so when you are feeling overwhelmed.
“Argh, I feel so stressed out! I have no time to get everything done today.”
This is me most days. I am always running a to-do list in my head, constantly monitoring and juggling what’s next, and focusing on the next task or activity that needs to be ‘checked off’.
The constant noise in my head as a result of this endless list chatter is pretty annoying actually. But I think it’s also pretty common for working mums. We perform so many roles (mother, wife/partner, employee, employer, friend, daughter to name but a few) that the number of things we expect of ourselves, including the number of things we expect to complete or achieve in a day, ends up bordering on the ridiculous. Tell me I’m not alone on this?!