Last night I went to bed with the same feeling that I often have. That I am failing as a mom, a spouse, a housekeeper, a chef, an employee… It often feels that no matter how hard you try to be all of these things to everyone that it is impossible to satisfyingly fulfill all of the roles on our plates. The house never seems to be clean, laundry never seems to be caught up, there is a constant pile of dirty dishes, dinner gets burned from multi-tasking… There are just never enough hours in the day to get everything accomplished on our to do lists. And even if we do, it is often at the sacrifice of something else.
As I reflected on the busyness of my day, the small amount of minutes that I had to relax, the chores left undone, and the small amount of quality time I actually had with my children, I felt like a failure. I find that there is so much to do I feel like I can barely keep my head above water, let alone spend quality time with my children. Every day I wonder how I can possibly be this busy just keeping up with life, not even working full time, and frustrated that I am not able to be the mother I truly want to be for my children, or have any time for myself.
I used to do all of the fun craft projects, play games, bake fun things with the kids. Now it seems that I barely have time to talk with them let alone spend quality time with them. And I know that I am not alone in feeling this way, but it still doesn’t feel good.
I woke up this morning to the continued reality of failing with the discovery that my husbands dress slacks got ruined in the washing machine from a color bleeding on them, not making him very happy. Sigh. Seems like no matter how hard I try, I just can’t get it all right.
What has happened to us as a society that life has become so busy? What has caused us to evolve into a “can’t get enough or get it fast enough” society? Work expectations and commitments have drastically increased. Youth activities have changed in the level of competitiveness and amount of time required to participate. We can’t have too many things and gadgets. We are all living life in the fast lane. At what point do we as a society say enough is enough?
As parents we set unrealistic expectations for ourselves and our children, teaching them that this is the way of life. I don’t want to look back years from now and regret that I didn’t stop, slow down, and enjoy more moments with my children. I don’t want them remembering a stressed mom that could never find enough time. But how, in this generation, do we slow things down? What happened to life when it was simpler and less chaotic? It saddens me to think that this will only continue to worsen as our children grow up.
I know that “there’s always tomorrow” and chores can wait, but then they just seem to pile up. But the alternative is missing out on important moments with my children. Moments that we can’t get back once they are lost.
I see the toll that this “life in the fast lane” has on children. Many are tired from being over involved, staying up late, feeling pressured to keep up. To what extent will this way of life have a negative impact during their important developmental years? I see it to some degree in my own children although I try hard to not allow them to take on too many activities at once. For their sake, and my sanity!
I wish I could press pause on real life, and slow it down a little. Enjoy more moments with my children, and take a few moments for myself. Not feel like so much of a failure. Unfortunately, that is easier said than done. This is real life. And you can’t press pause.