After 8 weeks of summer break, playing and having adventures with Lucas, I wasn’t quite prepared for the chaos I was being catapulted into, once I returned to work in the fall. Not only is the beginning of school a busy and eventful time for teachers, but we were also putting Lucas in daycare for the first time since he was born. I had no way to anticipate the guilt and sadness I would feel during this transition. While he quickly adjusted and enjoyed the other babies, interaction and stimulus, it took me quite a bit longer to accept this new stage.
I also wasn’t expecting the daily daycare ritual—going in and out the door, cleaning bottles, preparing food, etc.—to take such a toll, in addition to my full-time job. On top of all this, I was still trying to meet up with moms for play dates and teach a night class. Not only did I not want to be away from Lucas in the evening, I was exhausted, and I quickly learned that I could not do everything I could before I had a child.
Who did I think I was, Supermom? After sleepless nights, a pesky cold, and what seemed like constant anxiety, I crashed and burned hard. I suddenly felt overwhelmed by everything, and with some help from great friends and family, I realized I had to put on the brakes. I couldn’t, nor should I have expected myself, to reset my brain and remind myself that my number-one priority is my son and family, and that I have to be careful not to take on too much.
I have talked to many moms who have experienced the same thing. The pressure to be a career woman, mother, wife and friend puts an immense weight on our shoulders. Not only do we feel expected to do all this, but also put dinner on the table, clean, cook dinner, do laundry and, oh, yeah, exercise and eat right, so we look like a supermodel.
This Supermom syndrome, to be and do it all, is undoable and unrealistic. Women trying to juggle careers, family, friends and more are wearing themselves ragged experiencing some serious stress, depression, weight issues and much more.
As a dear and seasoned mama friend advised, “You have to cut everything in half—everything.” So, I have stepped back. I have cut out the night class, learned to say “No” to some invitations, made playtime with Lucas and dad a priority, and I am really working on carving out time for myself to exercise and not feel guilty about it.
Again, I realize as women and moms, we have to cut ourselves some slack. We don’t have to do it all, the world will go on. After all, I don’t have to possess superpowers to be a great mom; I can nurture and love my little man just as I am.
Dear Baby Lucas,
You are over 7 months now, sitting up a lot, and grasping and touching everything in sight. The world seems to become bigger every day for you. Your wonder and awe continue to grow as you take in new sights, sounds, colors, people and more.
You started daycare for the first time this month. You are such a big boy. You adjusted so well. You look forward every day to seeing your baby friends, and playing and learning from your teachers. I am still adjusting, but I know you love it. I just have to stop feeling guilty about leaving you.
You are eating so many big-boy foods now. Dad does the best job feeding you—buzzing, humming and getting you to eat like big boy!
My love for you compounds daily. You are the best adventure yet! I really love learning from you, as I grow as a parent.