Every minute of the day I generally, really always, have something running through my head. I am constantly adding to my to-do list. I am thinking of things we need, groceries to buy, my son needs shoes, my daughter needs more pull-ups, my husband wants me to run his check to the bank. It’s endless.
The mental load of motherhood was definitely something I underestimated when I was young.
I grew up in a large family, became an aunt when I was nine, nine nieces and nephews before I had my first child. I thought “I know what I’m doing,” “I’ve changed diapers, I’ve fed babies, I’ve put babies to sleep, I’ve got this.” Boy, was I wrong.
Don’t get me wrong, all of that experience definitely helped me, I cannot imagine going into motherhood without ANY experience with kids. I cannot imagine having your own child without having every changed a diaper before. I was lucky, I wasn’t completely lost, but I definitely underestimated the work of motherhood.
It’s not just the lack of sleep, though that definitely is a huge part of why it’s hard, it’s the constant responsibility. You are now responsible for a tiny human life. This life relies completely on you.
There is no break, there is no vacation, there is no backing out. You are now a mother 24/7.
The job is so all consuming that often times you lose yourself. Before becoming a mother, I was a dancer (I love to tap dance and have since I was 6). I was an artist, I love to draw, I loved to read (which of course I still do but finding the time when I’m not utterly exhausted is hard), I loved to volunteer for our local live theater. I choreographed musicals, I directed plays, I stage managed, I painted sets, I did it all.
Since having kids all of that has gone to the wayside.
Why? Because I do not have time or the logistics of getting my husband home so I can go is hard. Or the fact that my husband would rather see his wife every once in a while, rather than have her down at the theater every night for a couple months.
For a while I did not know who I was anymore. Motherhood took over. I was nothing other than a maid, cook, and life giver to two beautiful little toddlers. For many that’s enough. It wasn’t for me. I have and always will have some ambition to be more.
Having ambition however adds to the load.
Not only am I mother now, I’m an entrepreneur, I’m a blogger, I’m a virtual assistant. I’m actually trying to become the top earner for a while in our family so my husband can quit his salaried job and work contractor work as well (ultimately getting more money but inconsistently).
The house is a mess, the dishes are piled in the sink, the laundry is…. Done but ignore the large pile of clean laundry in the pack n play that just never quite makes it to the closet.
Then you add on any anxiety and stress over having a kid with special needs. My daughter is very high functioning however she is three years old and still does not talk. She has words but she does not have sentences. By three she should be able to say so much more to me. This causes stress for her, and me, it causes frustration, and guilt.
Help is there, true, it really is, but the load of having to ask is to. It’s the dream to just have dishes be done by your husband or kids without asking, it doesn’t happen often though. It’d be amazing if the toys picked themselves up on their own (yes, I’ll be teaching my kids to do so but so far, they’re so young it works for a minute and then they’ve lost all attention). It’d be nice to have someone just offer to come play with the kids so I could take a nap. It’s a bit of a dream world though.
I haven’t even gotten to the point, with older kids, where soccer games, dance classes, and piano lessons all get thrown in the mix.
So how do you deal with this mental load?
The single most relieving thing I’ve done is to create this blog. It can be stress, especially when I truly want it to grow, but ultimately it is a relaxing way for me to write.
I just deal with having to ask.
It still can bug me when I am always having to ask for help but if I want help, I may just have to deal with asking. If the laundry needs to be put away, my husband just digs in it for clothes everyday rather than helping by putting it away, I just have to ask.
I do whatever I can for a creative outlet.
Often times this is the blog alone, but I also am a virtual assistant, creating content and social media posts for others is fun for me, it appeals to my creative side.
Relax and be mindful.
Taking a moment to just relax and not worry is so relieving. It can be hard. It’s not easy to just put aside the anxiety and worry. It’s hard to just NOT THINK, but sometimes it is definitely necessary.
How do you try to relax and relieve the mental load of motherhood?
What helps you?
Join Sarah’s Sage Advice’s Facebook Group for moms, Finding Sanity in Motherhood.