When You Feel Like You Owe Everyone Everything (And Have Nothing Left for Yourself)
This post originally appeared on our old blog, Born to be a Bride.
This is the longest we’ve gone without a new post in months. March has been rough, I really can’t lie. Mama has so much piled on top of so much else, that life feels heavy and complicated at times. As any mother will tell you, staying positive in front of our children when things are tough is sometimes the hardest part. I don’t want to be fake with Willow, but she’s a baby and she has a right to a secure, confident home life. So, I save (most of) my panic about work or stifled tears about writer’s block for when she’s sleeping.
A dear friend of mine calmed me down when I was pregnant and terrified about what life would be like with a newborn. She told me that when she’d been in it with her first, there would be nights when she would be rocking her over and over. So tired and so ready to just push past the moment into something more relaxing and less exhausting. And she would tell herself in those moments, “It’s only a season.”
These poignant words have remained with me ever since. Each challenging, joyful, fulfilling time — they’re all individual seasons. It’s comforting and terribly sad to think about it that way, of course. Lately, I’ve felt pressured much of the time. A lot of it’s self-inflicted. I know this. I could conceivably take on less, or close the shop, but I don’t really want to. I want to be successful. I want to do things to earn my “own” money. I want to show Willow what it is like to push to yourself. Sometimes, I think I just push myself too far.
And in these moments, I have to create breaks. I have to turn off the computer, pack the baby in the stroller, and go get an ice cream together for no reason other than we’re alive. I don’t want to spend so much of my time working, living out that ever-loathed and sometimes-celebrated hustle we aspire to, at the expense of a good home life and a happy kid. I can be a work from home mom, but I have to find a way to be happy about it in practice, as much as I am in theory.
I’m learning with each passing month that you can have it all, or you can kind of fake your way through most of it, but you have to also find a way to have grace. Grace for others, sure. But mostly grace for yourself. Last night I was up until 2 in the morning trying to solve a work problem that couldn’t be solved. Or, well, it was solved eventually, but it couldn’t be solved at that hour. That was ridiculous.
And this isn’t to say that you shouldn’t work hard, or you should give up when it gets challenging. But you should try to also remember that there is a person at the center of your hustle, and that person is you. You! Remember you? You are the one who’s doing it all, anyway. Don’t you deserve to create for yourself a break whenever you can? How on earth are you going to continue to steamroll over your heartache and stress and get right on to the next goal if you haven’t even paused for a moment to catch your breath?
I don’t have all the answers, clearly. I’m a work in progress as are we all. But I’m learning in a slow and not always steady manner, that I do matter as much as my daughter and as much as my job. I matter differently, of course. But I am at the center of it. I have to do some things, little things even, to take care of me, too. Or there won’t be a job, and there certainly won’t be a happy daughter.
When the chaos dies down I hope to be able to devote the type of dedication and joy to the writing of this blog as I have in the past. It remains the center point of my creative life. But as you all know, if the writing can’t be natural and real, it doesn’t happen. Hopefully we’ll be back in our normal rhythm soon. Until then don’t worry, because we’re taking plenty of breaks for walks. And ice cream. Lots of that, too…