Putting myself last...
Awe, I think we can all feel where you're coming from! As a Life Coach for Working Moms, I hear this all the time. In fact, I was in a working mom's group yesterday and this is something that came up over and over again! So please know, you aren't alone in this.
My first thought is are you married? I know when I am feeling stressed and overwhelmed, I just tell my hubby I need to go out for a bit, or I know it's time to get a babysitter and go out on a date.
If not, I would say really squeeze everything you can out of your time when your DS is in daycare. I used to take my time picking my kids up from school after work or head to do some shopping during my lunch breaks.
Some other things I do:
- Go outside at night and look at the stars with a cup of tea
- Take an extra long bath and REALLY enjoy it - like turn off the lights, get some candles, and get some great music on Pandora through your laptop or phone
- Start a journal. I know this seems silly, but first thing in the morning or last thing at night, write down all the things you are thankful for, or things you are excited are happening today.
I hope you get some relief soon. Join a face-to-face group if you can. Women can feel much better after some face-to-face interaction with like-minded women to feel bonding and support (a release of dopamine and prolactin).
I would also suggest finding yourself a coach who can understand your needs. I'd love to chat with you, and there are also TONS of other working mom coaches out there. :)
Sabrina Williams, CPC, ELI-MP
OP, this is my life, too. My DD is 4, I work full time, it's usually 9pm before I have time to myself each day. I have a supportive partner and we share the load as much as we can. But it's easy to feel overwhelmed and to not feel like I have enough "me" time.
Some things that have helped me:
--Figuring out how to use my work commute to get things that I need. I ride my bike to/from work during good weather (and it's amazing how much my definition of 'good weather' has expanded since I started riding!). It's my exercise time, my psyche-up-for-work/decompress-from-work time, sometimes my have-a-good-cry time, but I love that time and it has helped me a lot. On bad weather days, I ride the bus and read a book.
--Both my partner and I have a time each week when we our own creative pursuits are given top priority. For me, it's a Sunday afternoon dance jam, for her, it's a Wednesday night drumming group. We go to great lengths to make sure that each of us gets that time each week.
--Frankly, I use work time to connect with friends. Luckily, many of them work on the campus where I work, and I can (sort of) justify it by considering it "networking with colleagues" time. Because if I didn't do it during work time, it wouldn't happen at all. I usually take one lunch hour a week to hang with a friend.
--Also, I've built a meditation practice into my work schedule as well. On Wednesday mornings, I do a 25 minute standing meditation at the start of my work day. It has done wonders for me, on all kinds of levels.
--I have given up on keeping a clean house. I do the absolutely necessary stuff...cooking food, doing laundry, keeping the kitchen & bathroom from becoming totally disgusting...but basically no other cleaning gets done. Which as a practical matter means that my basement & upstairs are completely out of control & unlivable. But I figure, I'd rather spend time with my kid and/or re-charge my batteries.
I just keep telling myself that as DD gets older, things will ease up, and I'll find more ways to take care of myself (and my house). For example, she's starting to get old enough for "play dates" and that's a glorious thing.
I hope you find the time/space/stamina that you need!
I am married, but my husband has been having ups and downs with his health, and I haven't been able to lean on him when it comes to splitting the responsibility.
My DS stays with my MIL while I am at work, so I feel guilty making her stay any longer than my work hours.
I like the idea of making sure my husband and I have time once a week to do something on our own. I really just need time for a yoga class, or to read, or meditate. I was thinking of maybe leaving a little earlier so I can steal some time before work to just drink my coffee and maybe read. I am usually catching up on things before work but this makes me even more stressed!
Hi there. One of the analogies I've always enjoyed, and helps me to feel less guilty, is the one about the airplane oxygen--they insist that parents put their own mask on before assisting their child. That act goes so against the grain of mothers, and I have always wondered how I would really respond in an airplane emergency. And yet, it is so true! What good are we to our kids if we pass out!?
I surely felt the same way as you when my kids were little and needed me so much. From where I now sit, I have the benefit of knowing that my kids are turning out all right, and did turn out all right, even if I took an extra hour after work to go to a yoga class. My kids are now 18, 15, and 8 and they are thriving. I have not always been great at taking care of myself, but somewhere along the line I realized I had to model taking care of myself, or they wouldn't take care of themselves. And I didn't want that. So I took time to fit in a Nia class or a dinner with a friend, and realized how beneficial it is. Then I got better at it because I saw the benefits. I was less resentful in my role as a mom as a result of taking care of myself.
Regarding housework, like CI Mom, I have let a lot go! There were times in the last 18 years when things were better in my house. Right now is not one of them. My only method of survival has been the strategies of Flylady.net, but right now things are not in order. We are in chaos. Oh well!
Keep getting support here. There are some great mamas here!
As a working mom and newlywed, I totally get it. My DS is 4 and I swear he has enough energy for 5 kids. I've learned to use my lunchtime at work to get personal stuff done and I have a standing Mommy-free Sunday plan. I call a friend, cousin, neighbor - someone who can watch my little guy for about 3-4 hours so that I can nap, clean house, prep for the week and all that good stuff.
I get all our clothes for the week ready on Sundays, plan meals (I use my crockpot ALOT) so that I don't have to do anything when I get home and call on help if I need it. Have you thought of hiring a teen looking for summer work who can watch your son for about 4 hours on Saturdays and maybe two hours twice during the work week?
Another thing that helps me is taking my son to the park. While he plays on the equipment, I walk laps around it with my headphones on so can I fully see him and get some mental health time in.
Hang in there. Oh! and on a final note, you can always hire a teen looking to make extra cash to help out with housecleaning. I pay my college-age brother to do that for me.