Some days I feel like I’m not going to make it to the end of the day without crumbling. Some days, I honestly feel like I am going to have to pack the kids in the car and load it up with our stuff and drive north or south. North to Vermont where help from my in-laws awaits or south to New York where my parents’ capable hands are. Because most days I feel like I can’t do this on my own during the day.
I can’t power through to the hours of 6:30 or 7:30 pm when my husband walks through the door when I can finally get a break. Or rather, not even a break, but some focused time to finish my work.
I can’t nurse a newborn over and over and over while I entertain my toddler who thinks I am the bees knees who says, “Mama watch this!”, “Mommy, picka me uppa!” and “Come play!” throughout the course of the day.
I can’t teach my 4-year-old everything I want to because I need to change directions and focus my attention on the millions of other things calling to me—all seemingly at the same time.
I can’t get quality alone time with each of my children because I am always trying to make everyone happy and “balance” all of my responsibilities while also balancing my feelings of exhaustion mixed with busyness and overwhelm.
I can’t get all the edits done that I need to because I have children calling for me or a meal that needs to be cooked or a nose that needs to be wiped or a flooded basement that needs tending to.
I can’t shower, get myself dressed, put makeup on, have a clean house, get all my work done, make sure everyone is fed three perfect meals, make sure everyone is happy as a clam every second of the day, make sure all fights are properly talked through and everyone feels good about them and lessons have been learned, make sure I have the calendar scheduled and planned out perfectly while I also make sure to remember to set alerts for everything that I need to remember while also connecting with my husband and not just shuffling past each other like ships in the night while also going on work trips while figuring out childcare, etc. etc. etc. repeat, repeat, repeat, to the moon and back, etc.
I. can’t. do. it. all. by. myself.
I recently said to my sister, “I feel like I am drowning. I am completely in over my head.”
And in that moment, as I said those words through tears of sadness, overwhelm and failure—I realized something.
I actually felt better.
I felt better in letting someone know that I was drowning in, well, everything. That after welcoming my third child and an added work project that I’m treating like my fourth child means that with limited childcare and a husband who works long hours—I kind of amdrowning. I have taken on a lot. I am in the true thick of it with three little kids. And I need some help.
I knew I needed help—and I was already asking my in-laws and anyone else I could for help—but I knew I needed to figure out a more sustainable model of help.
Because I don’t want to give up anything in my life. I love my job—and want more of it. I love my children—and I want more quality time with them. I love my husband—I want more date nights. I love my friends—I want to see them more. I love feeling sane—I need more time to work out or to find ways to fill up my cup.
I love this life I lead and I need to figure out how to enjoy all that I can, all the beauty that’s around me—without all of the stress every single day.
How can I feel grateful for what I have going on when the good is clouded with my anxiety?
How can I be happy with what’s happening in my life when the stress is stealing my joy?
How can I feel love in my heart when I am sinking into a hole?
Well, I simply asked for help.
I reached out to loved ones to talk about how I’ve been feeling. I have overly communicated with my husband about what I need from him. I have accepted the help my in-laws have been able to provide for us with a grateful heart instead of an apology. I’ve told my mom more about what I’ve been going through. I’ve hired a wonderful babysitter to start coming to our house regularly during the week so I can have more focused work time.
These things may sound small, or, may sound normal—normal ways to cope with a busy schedule, a maxed-out mind, and a full plate.
But they haven’t felt small to me, because I wasn’t actually doing all of them. I was just trying and trying and trying to figure things out—all of these things out—on my own.
I’ve realized that you can’t, or rather, you shouldn’t, do that.
You should set your pride aside. You should ask for help. And, mama, you shouldn’t apologize for it. Because you don’t need to do it alone.
Colleen is a wife and mom to three awesome girls. She is the Motherly Stories Editor at Motherly. Follow her adventures on Instagram.