The happiest mothers are mothers who don’t think they can do it all. That’s what some author of some study about the myth of the supermom told me last year when I was writing about the topic. They have clear boundaries of how much they can do and they’re okay with letting go of the things they can’t do. “I’m that kind of mom,” I kept saying, to myself, of course, in my head, as I typed notes from her findings. I would like to say that I do just enough and let things go.
I would like to say that I have a have a good and healthy idea of balance and know, clearly, that the version of “having it all” that most think of when they think of “having it all” is not possible, at least not in this society. But usually…I’m not. I’m a perfectionist in recovering. It’s normal for me to do a lot because I usually convince myself that if I don’t do it all, it all won’t get done. Oh, and “it all,” and what it means to “have it all,” I’m still working to beat that engrained myth out of my brain. It’s been living there in my mind, after all, since college or since my first class in Women’s Studies.
I sleep late and wake early to find “balance” and eat, usually bad things, when I’m really sleepy just to get it all done. I talk about balance because to not talk about it, as a woman with children, seems like a pity.
I ignore my body and run on empty because running on empty feels normal when you do it so often.
I’m a blogging mom, so this is what we all do!” I would tell my husband in the same breath that I would complain about being and looking tired all the time.
But…then when I got sick with the Flu, then, Strep, two weeks ago, this all changed. I’ve been sick in my life, but this time with two children, it just felt so hard. And in it being so hard, I was given reason to reflect on my priorities and on “having it all.”
My priorities. My blog, this blog, has been a priority of mine for two years. I realized in sitting on my bed reading Thomas the Steam Engine for the 20th time many a mornings because my body ached too much for me to stand, that this blog has, for better and worse, defined my journey in motherhood almost as much as my journey in motherhood has defined this blog. That sounds horrible. But let me explain. For the past two years, I’ve stayed up late for this blog. I’ve worried about stats and thought about my life in shareable moments. “Hmmm. This would be good on my blog.” Until this past year when I discovered the joy of books and doing nothing again, I would use my free time on this blog and doing other writing elsewhere. “It’s for the greater good!” I said to myself, often through tears about how hard it’s been to do this all the time, to care all the time.
But when I got sick and couldn’t write here. I went to bed when my girls did. I took naps.
I listened to my body and my children. I didn’t do it all or think of doing it all. I just did my essential.
My essential is being a mother,a wife, a woman, and a human.
And this? It felt so human, so adult.
I didn’t miss here, but I did miss you and the act of writing here. And that’s why I’m here now.
I am human who needs to sleep and eat. I am a parent who needs to parent.
I am a mother who accepts her limitations.
Moving forward, I want to prioritize these sides of me. Moving forward, I’ve let go of “it all.” I will, moving forward, stick to my essentials and let everything else come and fall where they may. I want to write when I can and be okay with when I can’t. I want to listen to my body and parent in the moment…and be happy. That’s all.