Slow It Down

I have a problem!  And it ends now!  Or, well, at least my journey to end it begins now.  😉  I’m not sure if this is something that I can quit cold turkey.  But I’m sure going to try, that’s for sure!

I overbook myself.

I overcommit.  I have too many goals, and projects, and tasks.

And once upon a time, I could balance it all (barely, but – you know – it’s amazing how much you can squeeze into a day, as long as you keep yourself caffeinated enough).  So I baked cookies for the neighbor who just moved in.  And I cooked casseroles for the family going through a tough time.  I made sure my house was spotless, I volunteered for outreaches in the community, I exercised, I blogged, I read, and I hung out with friends.

If someone came to visit, I had to serve a freshly baked banana bread with their coffee.  If I was making someone a casserole, I needed to prepare a dessert – from scratch – to go with it.  Dinner each night had to be healthy and homemade.  Grandparents had to be visited every week, a lonely acquaintance needed regular phonecalls, and church needed volunteers for events.

I was superwoman…

And then I had a baby.

And then my perfectly organized life was shaken a few times before being tipped upside down.  In a good way!  But in a way that doesn’t leave time for all those things, unless I’m willing to sacrifice time spent with my little guy.  And I’m not willing to do that.

Just last week, I found myself asking my hubby Nate to watch the baby for me. Just one more time. Just for one more hour. This would be quick.

Then something happened… When I handed Brady over, he began to cry. Now he loves his daddy, and Nate can make him smile like no one else can. But at only four months old, Brady was reaching a chubby fist in my direction as if to say, “I miss you mommy.”

I died a little inside, when I realized just how busy I had been… and just how little quality time I had spent with my boy.

I realized that I had been SO busy that week trying to be there for others that I hadn’t been there for Brady.  (At least not in the way I should have been there for him). I thought that I could do it all, but I couldn’t. I can’t. I’m only human, and I have to make choices sometimes.

My friend Liz, knowing how much I struggle with this, sent me this amazing Pin the other night. It’s SO me. It needs to be hung up in my house, where I see it every morning. Because I let myself feel guilty whenever I say ‘no’. I feel as though I need to always help out when there’s a need, as though everything rests on my shoulders.  I feel as though everything needs to be ‘perfect’ all the time.

And guess what, the world doesn’t rest on my shoulders. Quite frankly, I’m not that important. The world will keep on spinning if I can’t bake a sweet bread for every visitor or if I’m unable to volunteer for every event.  The sun will come out if I have to serve something frozen for dinner!   Sure, I was doing really great things sometimes, but – at the end of the day – at what expense? I had convinced myself that I should feel guilty and ashamed if I couldn’t keep up, when it really should be about finding that balance.

Finding a balance that allows me to still give of my time but that won’t stretch me so thin that I find myself too busy to play with my precious tater tot. 🙂 I can’t juggle what I once did, because I’m a mommy now. So things have changed… And that’s okay.

Needless to say, I know full well that things need to change. So I promised Nate that things would change this month…  He and the baby will be my first priority. And then I’ll even make a little time for me, making sure that I can blog sometimes (because it’s crazy important to me) and hang out with friends who refresh me. And then I’ll budget out time to also give back and to help others in need.

But it’s true… As a mom – and as a human – I can’t do everything. And there’s no need to feel guilty about that! 🙂

Does anyone else struggle with this?

HAVE done much better this week, and Brady is a happy boy because of it!  🙂


10 thoughts on “Slow It Down

  1. I am totally like that. It is not natural to many, but comes natural to few. It is natural for me to think of someone else first, at the expense of the ones closest to me. It is wise that you have begun working on this while your baby is young (he really won’t remember)…but as they grow up they do. Now I tell my children what I am doing (I’m making this meal for our neighbor, want to help?). You will be giving Brady a gift that may not come natural to him..putting others first. You will show him through your actions what it means to love others as Christ loves us. So, don’t beat yourself up completely. God made you this way for a reason! This gift does not come natural to so many and you have it!! Consider limiting your ‘gifts’ or ‘blessings’ right now..maybe send a card, instead of a visit. Maybe pick up something at the grocery store rather than a homemade item. One thing I do, is double a recipe that I am making for my family, and give the second batch away. I was planning on baking for my family anyway, so nothing is taken away from them. You can even include Brady (get some paint, put his chubby foot in it, and let him sign a card!).
    Just some thoughts on ways that you can foster this gift you have, rather than stifle it. Believe me, it will begin to frustrate you. You were made this way…with a natural desire to help and give others. Love you!!

    1. Thank you, Tracy! Those are some really good points and tips! I like what you said about doubling recipes that you planned to make anyway! Or sending a card… Or even being okay with picking up something from the store.
      Nate is CONSTANTLY telling me that i’s okay to pick up muffins from a bakery… Or reminding me that a cup of coffee doesn’t always require a homemade bread.
      Sometimes I get carried away and think that I need to do ‘everything’ when maybe the person in need really just needs ‘something’. Sometimes people just need to know that someone cares.
      Thank you for that! What you said really meant a lot!
      Love YOU!

  2. I can definitely relate to this!! It’s hard to balance everything with a little guy around… It can be so stressful, but then seeing him smile when he sees you and it puts everything into perspective. 🙂

  3. Oh gosh Nicole, you are such an amazing person. You have the absolute biggest heart! I appreciate and admire that so much!

    I feel the exact same way as you, even without having a baby. When I start to feel resentful of others, that’s when I know I’ve given too much without taking care of myself.

    Thank you for sharing what’s going on “behind the scenes.” If you figure out some tips for curing the do-everything disease, please share those too!

  4. Oh girl, I live this. Not the part with the baby, but the rest of it. I know exactly what you mean. I’m going to miss my teens, but I am really looking forward to when they go off to college this fall and our time frees up more. We are really trying to be more intentional and better about prioritizing so we don’t get crazy busy again. Anyway, I’m so glad that you realized this before you blinked and Brady was a teenager. He needs his momma right now for sure. *hugs*

  5. First of all, I love that you called Brady your tater tot. That just melted my heart!!

    I know exactly what you mean about being way too busy and over committed. I keep doing it again and again… especially with pet sitting. And I act like owners can’t find another pet sitter if I can’t help them. Yeah right! I’m not that important either! It’s so hard to say no, but so worth it when you’re saying it for the right reasons!

    Have you ever read the book “The Best Yes” by Lysa Terkurst? I think you would love it! It has to do with saying yes to the right things for you within God’s plan for you!

    1. One day, I was baking up some tater tots (because I was craving them)… And as I popped them in the oven, Nate came by carrying Brady. And Brady was all compact in Nate’s arms, like a short, stubby tater tot. And the name just stuck! Ha, ha. 🙂
      And YES! Exactly! I feel as though if I say ‘no’ to the person, they will not be able to find anyone else to take my place. I’m learning about finding balance, for sure!
      And I haven’t read ‘The Best Yes’, but I think I really need to!!

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