The weekend is over and I barely spent time with my kids. Unless you count running errands together or the times when I’d look into their pleading eyes and say “I’ll be there in 5 minutes,” and then get caught up for another 50.
This isn’t the mom I want to be.
But how does anyone do it all? How do you wash and fold three loads of laundry, clean the house, take down the holiday stuff, store it, reorganize the attic so new things fit, stop to make meals, clean that up, grocery shop, prep for the week ahead AND play with your kids?
Not to mention that I’m exhausted. So when I finally DO have time, I’m playing My Little Pony and can barely keep my eyes open. Fluttershy is seriously slurring her words. And my daughter literally says “you don’t have any time for me.” It’s a knife to my heart. My kids deserve better. I work all week — why won’t I give myself a break on the weekends?
So I’m lying there on Sunday thinking: What is the price I would pay to be the mom I want to be?
Last winter my husband spent six hours in one day snow-blowing our ridiculously long driveway. I was pregnant and had two cooped up kids inside. And when he finally came in, exhausted, drenched with snow and sweat, reeking of gasoline, I told him I’d reached a tipping point – we were hiring a plow guy. We should be playing in the snow, not losing Dad all day to a shovel.
I made the decision for him — yet I have a hard time doing this for myself. Why?
I’m not alone. A recent Care.com study revealed that 29% of working moms feel guilty hiring help. So they have the money, but they won’t allow themselves to spend it on hiring extra hands. It’s like we punish ourselves for not being supermom.
That’s exactly how we’re going to lose our $%&!
We’re not taking care of ourselves, Moms. We take too much on, have super high expectations for getting it all done, and miss out on the fun of our children’s childhood.
I say screw it. This isn’t right. My time with my kids is worth something. Get the groceries delivered for $5 extra. Hire a house cleaner for $15 per hour. Hand off a few projects to an organizer-type ($50 every season). This would be money very, very well spent. Would I feel it? Yes, but I’d also feel the freedom of being able to play and have uninterrupted time with my children.
I know what you’re thinking – I work at Care.com and I’m clearly plugging their services. You’re right. But I’m also a real mom of three small kids. And I know how painful it is to leave those beautiful faces every day – and then to be forced to miss them on the weekend too. I know how hard we are on ourselves, pushing ourselves to do more for the house, for our partners, our kids, our jobs, our parents, our friends. And then we come last. We invest so much in everyone else, and feel we don’t have a dime to spend on taking care of our needs. And then we miss out on the important stuff because we’re home taking care of other important stuff. Dance practice, a hockey game, lunch “dates” as a family. We tell ourselves there’ll be another time. But it doesn’t really come.
I know this. I live this.
There are workarounds. No, we can’t afford to outsource everything and some things we NEED to do with a personal touch. But we can take a few things off our plates. We can download apps that deliver groceries, we can ask a date night sitter to do the laundry, we can hire a house cleaner a few times a month (or year), we can ask a nanny to cook some meals – and when there’s a big project, we can pass it off to a handy pro who will do it in a quarter of the time it takes us. Just look at these specialized people who want to be your “personal assistant” – whatever that might mean!
One thing. Taking one thing off our plates – whether it’s laundry, errands, meals, cleaning, organizing, pet care – it would open up a lot of time. So let’s give ourselves permission to ask for help – and put the time back with our family.
What do you think? Have you hit a breaking point lately? What would you outsource first?