I messed up today.
I yelled at my kids this morning because I was frustrated over ten thousand stupid things but also not really one thing in particular at all. Raised my voice because I was trying to get the baby down for a nap while the toddler played her toy pots and pans like drums. What I really needed to be doing was the million other things that were waiting for me. But instead I was stuck in a loop of getting the baby almost down and having her awoken by her sister. Rinse and repeat.
This morning I even found myself pissed off at the baby, whose only crime is that she is in full blown separation anxiety/cling mode. Her chunky cheeks jiggled as she began to cry when I tried to sneak off to the bathroom alone.
My toddler chastised me after I snapped at her drum playing, saying, “Don’t talk like that, mommy!” I apologized then escaped to the bathroom (baby in tow this time) to take a deep breath and reassess. When a 3-year-old insinuates that you have an attitude problem, it’s time to freaking reassess your life.
This weekend I told my husband that I never expected things to be so hard. I thought by staying at home and not trying to juggle the long hours of my career, parenthood, and everything else, I would be doing myself a favor. Cutting my stress and workload in half or some horseshit that we tell ourselves to try and stave off the terror that comes with making these huge leaps. Leaps into parenthood, new careers, pursuing our dreams or deciding to let a dream go. I told myself life would be easier this way, and now I’m left to wonder if I was a liar or just stupid.
I am struggling, just like everyone else.
Also, I thought deciding to pursue my passion, my lifelong goal of becoming a writer, would somehow make me happier. That life would be such a breeze if I could be physically at home while still earning a paycheck.
That theory was just stupid.
You can’t actually give everything you’ve got more than once. You’ve got it, then you give it away. There has to be a regeneration period before you can give it all again.
I can either be the best mom I can be, and literally get nothing else done, or I can finish writing my book or hit my deadline or maybe get some laundry done and run the vacuum, but I can’t possibly do all of those things, not well at least.
I can’t possibly do all of those things.
Even as I type it I nod my head and say, “Yasss.” Because I know that to be true, but I still try to do all of those things.
Everyday I try and do it all. Be the best mom and housekeeper and writer. I try and teach my toddler how to write letters and help my baby learn to walk and finish dusting and scrub the toilet and turn in assignments and by the end of the day I am a stressed out mess wondering what’s so wrong with me that I can’t do it all?!
What is wrong with me?!
I’m not going to lie to you, or myself (apparently I am just stupid, and not a liar, thank god), and say there’s nothing wrong with me, because there is most definitely something wrong with me. But it’s not the fact that I can’t do it all with a smile. That I can’t be the best mom/wife/writer in the world (and oh god, I made it this far before I remembered how much I suck at being a wife. How often my husband asks if I’m mad, add this to the list, add sucking at being a wife to my mounting list of failures please).
It’s the fact that I think that it’s possible. That I believe there are people out there who manage to do it all, people who get it done with a smile on their face and a song in their heart.
Nobody really does that. Not without help or medication or some seriously intense zen spirituality that they found while backpacking across Europe during their gap year. I am not an Eat, Pray, Love type. I am a caffeinate, scramble, and hope for the best type.
But what I do know is that these people — the ones who get it all done perfectly, happily, and confidently — don’t exist. And I need to stop pretending they do.
This house has gone zero days without me freaking out over something that doesn’t matter and I am done.
I messed up today, and I’ll mess up again tomorrow and probably at least once a day, every day, for the rest of my hopefully long life. And that’s okay.
I’m going to stop thinking I am the only one who does it.
And I am going to stop being the only one who cares when it happens. Because my husband thinks I’m doing a great job (he told me so, because he’s the best). My mom thinks I’m doing a great job. My best friend thinks I’m doing a great job. I’m the only one with the problem with what I’m doing.
I’m done creating my own stress. This is my promise to my children, my husband, and myself. Hold me accountable.
I’ll even hold you accountable too, if you’d like. And I won’t tell you that you’re wrong for trying to do it all. I won’t tell you that you have to just sit back and enjoy these days because they’re short or because someday you’ll miss them. I’ll just tell you that you’re not alone. We all try and do it all and then feel badly when we can’t.
Let’s just stop.