I see acquaintances on Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp making elaborate plans for weekends. Afterall, they are meant to be two days of pleasure, of not having to do anything you don’t fancy. Right?
Wrong. Weekends for me meant 2x times more pressure – social, parental, personal and domestic – to do something “fun.” I actively dread these two off days. Why? Beacuse, the mommy and wife in me, tried doing it all with military precision and ended up frustrated, angry, guilty, confused, super-tired and demotivated. I was annoyed with my husband. I was angry at everyone around me.
I am a Leo mom (zodiac sign) and suffer from a very bad habit of trying to do everything by myself with all my heart and with my head high in the sky. Motherhood is my biggest project (ongoing one) till date and I constantly battle with its growing ‘to-do’ list. To ease the chaos in my life, I tried creating a highly detailed and concise schedule for everything. I crashed and burned, again.
So, what’s different now?
Do a lifestyle audit on your schedule. Are there too many things being jammed into a short period of time — so much so that it’s practically unavoidable for you to go crazy?
I have redefined the term ‘Good Mom’ in my head. I think, a good mother isn’t necessarily a person who gets the most activities done in the least amount of time. Many moms, like me, get over-scheduled because they feel they have to be the most efficient, most giving, most sacrificing, highest achieving, “best” mother they can possibly be. (Anyways, I sucked at all of these) But moms don’t give themselves any downtime and that does no one any good. We want to excel in everything – including socializing, child rearing, domesticity and the works but it also stresses us to our roots.
My weekend stress sprang from my conflicting needs i.e. wanting a social life and a tidy house at the same time. Conflicting, right? So, last several weekends, I have tried to delegate my set of ‘to-dos’ or overlook the ‘cleanliness issues’ in order to spend some quality time with family and my toddler while giving myself an opportunity to relax. This also includes the accepting help — as humbly as possible, to manage miscellaneous mundane chores and a squirming toddler — without feeling guilty. I also had to control myself from hovering or micro-managing a task, once delegated to another family member.
My biggest struggle (even today) is finding time on weekends – the number one issue that I believe all working moms need to tackle. In past, whenever I found time to do any non-child-related activities, I ended up feeling super guilty while doing so. In my heart, weekends were meant to be dedicated to my toddler and family since on working weekdays, I had little energy to spare. Any minute I spent on my own led me to the Mommy Guilt Land. Today, I do not allow guilt to take over. I learnt to mitigate it.
On Weekdays, my “being mom time” and “me time” go hand in hand. I take my boy out for a walk every evening (after I’m back from work). I make it a point to listen to my selected collection of audiobooks, music, or anything that will help me unwind, on my smartphone. Once at the park, its playtime for both boy and me.
On Weekends, I HAVE to have my time outs. Be it watching a movie in solitude, or tucking in a relaxed dinner with spouse fussing over the toddler, or walking all around the city, or perhaps just being out with family/friends & letting all those bath-nap schedules go to hell. I had to cross some things off my schedule permanently because I CAN’T DO IT ALL and it helped a good deal in cutting back my weekend stress. Occasionally, I also make an appointment with myself, get out of the house, away from everyone and do what makes me happy.
What on earth was I trying to prove by being a dedicated mother on weekends, a zealous house cleaner and family schedule organiser? Was I trying to prove to myself or to the world that I could be a Supermom, with Red Bull energy levels?
I don’t know.