I hold so many titles and wear many hats. Balancing time for each of these and prioritizing things is not always easy and can often be downright exhausting. I’m constantly thinking about doing the dishes, while I’m doing homework. I’m making grocery lists in my mind while I’m giving the baby a bath and trying to shift my schedule to fit in a workout while answering work emails. There are always ten things in my brain and even more on my plate.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed and doubt myself when the to do list never ends and often seems to keep growing. Check one thing off and add three more. Before having a baby, I was the type of person who could juggle ten things and thrive. I performed at my best when I was busy and scheduled pretty tightly. However, with the variability in a one year old’s daily schedule and the unpredictability of his temperament any given day, hour, minute…it’s really difficult to run such a tight ship anymore. On more than one occasion, I have told my husband that I feel like the only role in my life I am performing my best in, is being a mom.
That’s not to say that I’m dropping the ball at work or I’m turning all my assignments in past the due date. But, I might not be volunteering to take on extra duties at work that would help me gain responsibility and I might not be finding more than the minimum number of required sources for the papers I’m writing for class. Basically I’m no longer an overachiever…which my Type A personality does not like.
Dealing with these changes did a number on me for a while. I was on the verge of panic attacks once a week, I would let housework pile up until it was too overwhelming for me to start, and I wasn’t feeling anything like my old, go-get-’em self. Notice I didn’t even mention trying to balance anything with friends, because I let myself fall so far off the deep end, one of my friends told me she might need to “break up with me.” By the time work, momming, laundry, and homework were done, I did well to make it to the couch before collapsing. Forget going for drinks with friends or enjoying a minute alone with my husband. I was barely surviving and drowning in sea of panic.
So. I did something about it and I made an appointment with Ana at Momology to talk about postpartum anxiety.
Ana helped me make a plan. We talked about ways to build in time for self-care, something I am always preaching to the parents and students I serve at work. We talked about how to rearrange my schedule and feel more in control of the day instead of letting the day run me. We registered for daycare two days a week, so I can give work 100% of my attention during the day and Jack 100% after pick up. And, if all else fails, we talked about approaching my doctor to ask for an increased dose of anxiety medication.
Taking care of myself is something I was always able to do before I let motherhood consume a little too much of my identity. It was hard not to let it, when we are literally trapped in the house together all day because of the pandemic. But, I’m stepping up to the plate for myself, going on a run every now and then, and asking for help when I need it.
I’m determined to be more than just a good mom. Sometimes, it’s ok to ask for help.