Late night thoughts of a physically, mentally, emotionally tired working-mom

Just to be clear… it’s honestly not that late, but it’s mom late. If you know, you know. Also, I’m a working mom, but I know plenty of non-working and working from home moms that can relate. Lastly, I used the roles and genders that I grew up with and have seen most often, but I think this is relevant to all blended and non-traditional families.

It’s very easy as a mom to feel unimportant; even if you’re appreciated. You’re still only relevant in the context of the issue that you solve or manage. Sometimes when I don’t have to struggle with my dishwasher or my deadbolt key and I mentally thank it for working, I wonder… am I this same thing? Am I needed, involved, guarded, and appreciated in THIS way?

I remember the feeling when I upgraded my car to meet my family’s needs for space and I thought, “I love this car, it’s perfect and I’ll never get rid of it”. The sense of relief and security that it gave me; like a good, deep breath. Is that all that keeps me here? The sense of security that comes with the purposes I serve. If I were gone, would it be as simple as finding a better fit for the family to make my absence easier to deal with? If I didn’t perform some of my roles (or didn’t perform them well enough) would it be enough for my family to no longer need/want me? Surely I would be less important because of the amount of responsibility I had would decrease.

Stereotype alert: Why is it when a dad does his “dad things” all the time by himself and for himself with much less general family responsibilities, is he still such a vital person? Like, patriarchy and head of the table imagine in mind… but chances are that man hasn’t set up kids doctors appointments (or even gone), haircuts, attended kid birthday parties (unless his friend is there), teacher conference, or ANY number of things that moms do… and they are still “the man of the house”. Obviously not all men are the “man of the house” IN the house. But he definitely doesn’t feel the pressure and guilt that a mom does when it comes to the family, home, and/or kids. Those are the only things that matter, and they’re all under mom’s responsibility.

Mom’s don’t matter in the big picture of things. Or do only the things that mom’s do for the family matter? For example, having friends, hobbies, work, self-care, etc. If I skip or stop any of those, usually my family will be happy to have my full attention… unless I complain about it or show in any way that I’m anything less than ecstatic. Then I go back to being a problem. But if I skip or stop the right combination of family things, there’s usually very little wiggle room for reasons that it would be acceptable. So the moral is: be a mom, do your responsibilities to the max and be overjoyed about it. If you get overwhelmed or overstimulated, try NOT to let anyone else know… since you may ruin their day and not just yours.

Think maybe you just need a break? Rest assure, their daily lives will come to a complete halt with you. That way, by the time you’ve been guilted enough into getting back in the saddle, everything you’ve been struggling with will be right there waiting on you. Get an hour or two to have the house to yourself? Better use that to get a head start on all of the things you’ve been needing to do, or else you’ll continue to feel guilty about not having them done. But if guilt isn’t your thing, rethink taking time to yourself at all. Because there’s a large window of time until it’s acceptable for you to even suggest that your tired or overwhelmed or overstimulated. The reason: “you just had a break” and the aftertaste of… you guessed it: guilt.

I don’t have any advice for this one. I’m tired.

My Top 5 Self-Help Books

I’m not sure if it’s because I’m a mom, or a Virgo, or just generally a person fascinated with personal development; but I have a whole arsenal of books from this genre. Usually if I can find a way to suggest a book to someone looking to me for advice, you can bet I’m going to do it… and also give them a full summary of the book while I’m at it. So I figured what better way to get this information out there to someone looking for it, than on this blog?

Number One

Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About the People We Don’t Know

Synopsis: “Talking to Strangers” looks at the ways we do harm by failing to understand one another, a problem he investigates through the child-abuse scandal involving Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, the trial of Amanda Knox, the suicide of Sylvia Plath, the deceptions of financier Bernie Madoff and the TV sitcom “Friends.”

‘Talking to Strangers’: Malcom Gladwell’s new TED Talk-worthy book – Los Angeles Times (latimes.com)

My Thoughts: If you feel like you’ve been casually just interacting with anyone, ever… think again. The author of this book dives into not only how we perceive other people (and they perceive us), but also how unseen systems and societal forces play into our understanding of the world around us. This has EASILY held the title of one of my favorite self-development books for a long time. Not only is it informative, thought-provoking, and fun (especially given some of the tough content), but it was so easy to get wrapped up in! A top-notch page-turner and I can’t wait to read it again.

Number Two

The Power of Habit

Synopsis: “In The Power of Habit, award-winning business reporter Charles Duhigg takes us to the thrilling edge of scientific discoveries that explain why habits exist and how they can be changed. Distilling vast amounts of information into engrossing narratives that take us from the boardrooms of Procter & Gamble to the sidelines of the NFL to the front lines of the civil rights movement, Duhigg presents a whole new understanding of human nature and its potential. At its core, The Power of Habit contains an exhilarating argument: The key to exercising regularly, losing weight, being more productive, and achieving success is understanding how habits work. As Duhigg shows, by harnessing this new science, we can transform our businesses, our communities, and our lives.”

The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg | Penguin Random House Audio

My Thoughts: Surprisingly (or maybe not), it was pretty hard to find a summary of this book that did it justice. It’s such a range of information that the author delivers in a casual, story-telling, but still informative, format. You get historical examples of relatable and ways that you can harness your habit loops to your advantage. All I can say for this book is: it’s not far from being my number one pick and you will definitely grow from reading it.

Number Three

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

Synopsis: “Finding something important and meaningful in your life is the most productive use of your time and energy. This is true because every life has problems associated with it and finding meaning in your life will help you sustain the effort needed to overcome the particular problems you face. Thus, we can say that the key to living a good life is not giving a fuck about more things, but rather, giving a fuck only about the things that align with your personal values.”

Book Summary: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson (jamesclear.com)

My Thoughts: Mark Manson’s style of writing is already an easy sell. Just from the title, you know what to expect in this tough-love-from-your-favorite-cousin type of book. Not only does the author break down techniques and the ‘why’ of your life, but he also dismantles the reasons that you feel like you need to do things in the first place. This book calls out (pretty much) all of the other self-help books on the shelf and I love it!

Number Four

Girl, Wash Your Face

Synopsis: “With painful honesty and fearless humor, Rachel unpacks and examines the falsehoods that once left her feeling overwhelmed and unworthy, and reveals the specific practical strategies that helped her move past them. In the process, she encourages, entertains, and even kicks a little butt, all to convince you to do whatever it takes to get real and become the joyous, confident woman you were meant to be. Girl, Wash Your Face shows you how to live with passion and hustle–and how to give yourself grace without giving up. The author has shared her own personal stories so that she can help other women grow as much as she has.”

Girl Wash Your Face Summary – SeeKen

My Thoughts: I read this one a little after it was trending… almost in a rebellious reading-it-to-tell-people-I-hate-it way if I’m being honest. But I was wrong and first impressions went right out the window. This one is different than my usual type of personal development library. The author is very relatable and doesn’t overwhelm you with information or stats. Instead, it’s more of story-telling and advice from a close friend and I ended up learning things about myself by the end.

Number Five

Everything is F*cked

Synopsis: “You don’t need to read the book to know that the world is fucked. I mean, social media, Trump, and terrorism are enough proof. But you do need to read the book if you want to understand how you can make your presence in the current world a far better stay. In times where people are wondering what to hope for and how they can reduce the amount of pain they experience, the only way to upgrade your life is to live a better life. To anticipate problems, not to avoid them. Mr. Manson gives us a systematic way to handle our emotions and prevent us from doing stupid things that can eventually destroy the world around us.”

Everything is F*cked by Mark Manson [Summary] | Durmonski.com

My Thoughts: Again, Mark Manson’s writing style is a win by itself. This one is similar to his other book (which I love), but the message you take away from it is different. You can read either book first as they both build on the message of the other in the most entertaining, easy-to-read way.

These are just some of my favorites, but obviously not ALL of them. For more recommendations, or if you have some you think I should read, reach out!