So, there’s this girl. Let me tell you about her because frankly, I don’t know what to think of her and I would love your opinion. She wakes up and makes the green smoothie that you see in magazines. She’s at work before 7am and at least until 5:30pm every day. She goes home, cleans, and cooks all her meals. She works out three times a week. She reads books, magazines, and even research papers. She attends formals and parties, and needless to say, she has no stains on her dry-cleaned clothes.
Just kidding. She was me. Three years ago. BEFORE babies.
This is me now: wake up. After that, my day is a blur of nursing, diapers, more nursing, and if I’m lucky, I find a clean shirt. Today … was not my lucky day. On my good days, I make a load of laundry. On my awesome days, I get to fold that load. This is my stay-at-home life with a toddler and a two-week-old infant. Pretty pathetic to the self I was three years ago. A disgrace to feminists?
When my first daughter was born, I wanted to continue doing it all. After all, I was at home! Every time my baby fell asleep, I was cleaning, cooking, picking up trash, making photo albums for the grandparents, washing the dog, you name it. By the time my daughter reached four months old, I was exhausted, both mentally and physically. Things got better with time (I learned how to manage and cope), and that’s when I got pregnant again. When I was in my fourth month of pregnancy, I started “acting up” again. Determined not to be overwhelmed this time around, I cooked meals that I froze, I washed all the baby clothes, I made lists of to-do lists. I told my husband that he would have to help more so I could get more done myself. My pet-peeve? Cleaning. My house has to be clean. I gave the poor man lecture after lecture about the importance of cleanliness with children. And one night, it happened. He came home and before I could open my mouth, he said: ” I will help you with the cleaning. No worries. I’m going to take care of it.” Wow. So, the lectures DID work. Then, he added: “I hired a cleaning lady. She starts on Monday.”
Seriously? I could not believe it! I was perfectly able to clean!
I went on and on about I did not want to be one of these people who cannot do anything for themselves, and how I did not want my kids to grow up watching other people take care of our chores, and blah blah blah. Later that night, after lots of thinking, it hit me. What was I trying to prove here? And to whom? That I was superwoman? That I could do it all? Well, I can. I can do it all. I can raise intelligent kids, cook delicious meals, clean, do laundry and fold it, iron, plan vacations, raise hermit crabs (don’t ask), teach French to my daughters, look spotless, stay fit, etc. Just not all at the same time, and that’s just fine. I need some time for myself too, and so do you. It does not have to take hours or cost lots of money. It can be to get your hair done. Or read a gossip magazine. Or paint. One of my guilty pleasures? Every day, when I take out the trash, I linger for about a minute outside. I look at the trees and the sky; I soak in the sun. Then, I look at my front door, watch the light inside my house, and listen to the familiar voices of my daughters and my husband. I can see the life I created. I smile, take a deep breath, and walk back in.
We live in a country where self-worthiness and success are measured by our productivity and how much we can accomplish. Sometimes, let’s just forget about what we can do and who we are trying to impress – our own selves. Take a step back to rejuvenate, refuel, or refocus. It will pay off. So go ahead. Take a bath, drink some wine, or have some chocolates. Sing out loud in the car, do a happy dance, or take a walk. Whatever you do, do it for yourself.