Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Teladoc as part of the Mom It Forward Influencer Network. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Supermom, superwoman, doer of all things … whatever you call it, my friend was tired of it. All of it.
A friend of mine was this way: busy, working part-time outside of the home, helping her children when she was home, being the room mom for her child’s 5th grade class, volunteering in the preschool for her son, tutoring in the elementary school for her daughter, running her kids to soccer and dance. She cooked a fantastic meal every night and went out on dates with her husband every weekend. She called me often and made time for friends. She was superwoman.
Perfection … right?
We went out one afternoon, with our children and her new baby, to a local park. She asked if she could share something with me and I agreed (she also agreed that I could write about it today). We sat there, just the two of us talking, as our seven children played around us.
That’s when I saw it… tears in her eyes. I could see them begin to fall and I could feel the stress in her hands as she reached out to mine.
“I can’t do it anymore. I am burnt out. I’m tired. I don’t even know if it is worth it. I’ve lost my joy. I feel like I’m asleep on the job.”
She was ready to take off her cape and JUST BE MOM. Not super mom, not room mom, not car-pool mom, just mom.
There wasn’t a specific time that she noticed it happening, it just happened slowly, over time. She was still waking up with her baby; she was helping her older kids, she was helping friends. She was doing it ALL.
” I just started to lose my joy with every carpool, every night-time feeding, every workday, every request.”
“Time to head to soccer!”
“Did everyone get their lunches?
“Where is my other shoe?”
“I need to change the baby.”
“Do you have my bow?”
“Can Jake eat over for dinner?”
“Can Katie go with us to the movies?”
“Did you make dinner yet?”
“Can we have a snack?”
“Can you get me a glass of milk?”
“The baby is awake, mom. It is waking me up.”
“In the middle of all of it, I just lost my joy. I suppose that it was that I wanted to do everything 100% and because of that I just got burnt out. I kept adding more & more to my plate because I knew that I could handle it, but I didn’t think about HOW I would handle it.”
We talked about this for quite some time before we came to a few conclusions… doing too much for everyone leaves little for anyone. It had turned from just “overwhelmed” to true anxiety. She’s not alone. 18.1 percent (42 million) of American adults live with anxiety disorders – this includes busy moms who are juggling babies and young children; being a wife; working; the many stresses of this role. Overwhelmed by many responsibilities and lack of time to herself
She and I had talked about some actionable things that helped her, things that I could share here:
Seek Help. I understand that this can be a struggle at first, finding help. Again, she isn’t alone on this. Approximately 96.5 Million Americans live in areas where there are shortages of mental health providers. (According to the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services estimates). Visits with a therapist often require regular appointments that can take up a lot of time, traveling to and from, when moms are already struggling with busy schedules and not enough time.
Telebehavioral health (virtual care visits via phone and web / downloadable app) can address all of these issues and help mom feel better. Teladoc is a service that offers this, with trust and safety being cornerstones of the Teladoc service. All visits are confidential and can be done from any location you feel most comfortable vs. having to go to a therapist’s office.
Images courtesy of Teladoc
Seeking help is deeply personal and one size does not fit all. Teladoc is a way to go that helps you find a therapist you are most comfortable with, and makes it possible to speak to the same person throughout your course of care. Through Teladoc, you will find quality behavioral health care, whenever, wherever… 7 days a week. Plus, you stay home (or wherever you are most comfortable). Telehealth is especially valuable for moms like my friend, moms being pulled in multiple directions and rarely leaving time for herself.
All visits are confidential and can be done from any location you feel most comfortable vs. having to go to a therapist’s office. Go to Teladoc.com/therapy to learn more and to see if your employer or health plan provides this service for you and your family. Appointments can be on-demand or scheduled, which is why it worked for her & other busy moms.
She now has her family helping her with planning (we do this, too!). She even took my advice to order her groceries online, which was huge for her! I didn’t think she’d every do this & it is just so easy. 🙂
She cooks 3 crock-pot meals a week.
Her entire family cleans together.
She volunteers once a month in the classroom, instead of weekly or daily.
She doesn’t feel the need to cook elaborate meals nightly, but does simple meals or crockpot meals through the week and then does one big meal on Sunday.
She has limited her kids to one sport per season.
She and her husband go out for breakfast once a week instead of a date-night. Her kids are in school and she uses one of her volunteering days for this. She drives to his work and they go for an hour.
She puts her kids to bed 20 minutes earlier (and on a consistent M-F 8:00 bedtime schedule) and takes that time to read a novel that she loves, as a way to decompress each day.
I wanted to share a few quotes about stress with you, because stress can feel like a million bricks on your shoulders if you don’t handle it well.
“One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was from a horse master. He told me to go slow to go fast. I think that applies to everything in life. We live as though there aren’t enough hours in the day, but if we do each thing calmly and carefully, we will get it done quicker and with much less stress.” ~Viggo Mortensen
“Much of the stress that people feel doesn’t come from having too much to do. It comes from not finishing what they’ve started.” ~David Allen.
“We can easily manage if we only take each day, the burden appointed to it. But the load will be too heavy for us if we carry yesterday’s burden over again today, and then add the burden of the morrow before we are required to bear it.” ~ unknown
Today, take your day and do what you can. Then stop doing that and look at those little faces that look up at you. Look at those little eyes watching you. Look at them and smile and enjoy them. If you listen to your children and love them, you will come out ahead, and they will be better for it.
They will not remember how much you did in their classroom, how much you cooked for dinner, how much you drove them around… they will remember how you talked to them, how you played with them, how you listened to them.
Fast forward three months→> My friend is refreshed and renewed. She has taken on the attitude of “love those that you love and don’t sweat the small stuff”.
You can’t do it all. No one can. BUT… you can do some things well. You can take care of your family and yourself.
Don’t be SUPERmom… just be THEIR mom.