I feel overwhelmed all the time. And exhausted. Surely, three kids is challenging, but does it really have to be this hard? My mother had twice as many of us, she survived. I'm not saying it wasn't hard at times & I imagine she was twice as overwhelmed as me at times, but somehow I can't help but think that we (my generation) have created this recipe for failure, social media being the main culprit...
Since the birth of my 3rd child I have attempted to eliminate what I thought were causing this overwhelming sense. Simplifying my social responsibilities - stepping down from the Moose Jaw Camera Club Executive, leaving the Business Women of Moose Jaw, & taking a hiatus from my business - was supposed to be the answer. These decisions are supposed to allow me to maximize my potential as a mother & enjoy it while my children are young. But since, I feel I have done quite the opposite. By ridding of these other responsibilities I have put my role as a mother on a pedestal, a self-proclaimed status quo I have been unable to achieve. My stress levels are more often than not though the roof, & despite every good intention in my busy little brain, I can't seem to break the cycle.
Just last week, I was reading this blog post (which, ironically - or not - I came across on my phone while at home with my kids...) by Hands Free Mama on yelling at your kid. It couldn't have come across my feed at a better time. It was a particularly hard day, & felt as if my reactions had no effect on my children whatsoever & I was easily frustrated. In fact, I may or may not have snapped the head off a barbie in front of my kids out of frustration because her boot wouldn't fit... I had also been struggling with the fact that my oldest, who has always been a very kind person, was developing an attitude & I didn't like the person she was becoming.
Upon reading the blog post, & with further investigation into the author, I discovered her theory on how we create distractions that are taking away from our quality of life. That's when things started to really become clear. I was causing the problem. I am responsible for my actions. Not my kids. My daughter was mimicking me, my attitude toward life, toward the people around me & treating them like I was treating her. I was so distracted, that I reacted without intention, yelled all the time, & constantly felt a general sense of failure in all areas of my life. The next day I pledged to stop yelling at my children. I lasted almost a day. My 3 year old even called me on it when I hollered at my 9 month old to get something out of his mouth. Sheesh!
Since intentions only get you so far, this realization has sent me on a mission. I have since looked into ways to lessen these inhibiting distractions that are getting in the way of my happiness. I have often thought about leaving Facebook & removing all the apps on my phone. Maybe I will yet. But for now I have been using an app called Moment (highly recommended) which keeps track of your cell phone usage, making you accountable for all the time you spend perusing on your phone, when you could be doing something more conducive to your well-being. Turning off notifications & resisting checking the phone every 5 minutes (if you text me & I don't reply right away, now you know why!) Creating no-phone zones, such as the kitchen table, bedroom & while I am holding the baby. Adopting 3 item per day to do lists, so that my goals are more achievable. Also, I've been collecting things around the house for a garage sale, less stuff = less organizing/cleaning = less stress, right?
Wanting to know more, I ordered the blog author's book, Hands Free Mama: A Guide to Putting Down the Phone, Burning the To-Do List, and Letting Go of Perfection to Grasp what Really Matters!, which arrived today, highly anticipated. I am really looking forward to delving into this book more, finding ways to reconnect with my children, & enjoy the things I used to. Lowering my unrealistic expectations of myself & of my children, so to feel like a success again. Being present. This is going to take a lot of work, but I am determined to make this shift in my life. Stay tuned for my progression on this journey, and do join me if you feel the need to do so!