My breakdown in the preschool parking lot

I like to think I’m a pretty positive person. I don’t complain very often. I don’t dwell in the negatives. I live by an additude that focusing on the things that overwhelm you only pulls you further down. I started this blog because I wanted a space for women to be encouraged.

But at the same time, I try and keep this space as real and honest as I can. So, here it is: I’m struggling. Honestly, that’s really hard to write. It’s not that I’m embarrassed. I just don’t want people feeling sorry for me. Before I delve into it, in the grand scheme of things, my problems are minimal. But I also think it’s important for other women and moms to know that we don’t always have our lives together.

Last week, I had a breakdown. Friday night, sitting in my car outside a restaurant in Raleigh, North Carolina bawling to my husband over FaceTime. I don’t even know what triggered it. But here’s how I would describe it- I felt so overwhelmed by everything I needed to do that I felt paralyzed. My list of obligations was so long, I didn’t know where to begin, so I just didn’t do anything. I sat there and cried. That was the first breakdown.

Let me back up and explain the day before. I left on a work trip, and as I was leaving for the airport, my son was wrapped around my legs screaming “mommy don’t go!”. It’s the most upset he’s ever been when I left. He’s in a stage where he understands mom is leaving, but he doesn’t understand time. Sometimes mom is gone for two sleeps. Sometimes mom is gone for two weeks. But even two sleeps seems like forever to a 3-year-old.

That triggered this feeling of there is never enough time. The moments I’m home with my kids, I try to spend as much time as possible with them. But then I do that, and I get behind on my work. When it was just Jace, I would get a lot of work done after he went to bed. But then we introduced another human to the mix. I’m getting a lot less sleep. I’m on my feet from six in the morning to eight at night, and by the time both kids are down to bed, I’m mentally and physically exhausted. I try to make time for my husband and friends, but when I do, all I think about is all the other things I “should” be doing. I should be working. I should be playing with my kids. I should be finishing the laundry, getting the groceries, paying the bills, making the dentist appointment, and the 800 other things that just sit on my to-do list. I realized I wasn’t enjoying anything I was doing, because I felt like I “should” be doing something else.

The only way I can describe it is I felt like a ball rolling down a hill, picking up speed, and I couldn’t stop it. The list of things to do was getting more and more. The guilt was getting heavier and heavier. So I had a breakdown. Not one, but two. What triggered the second one? Forgetting Jace’s show-and-tell for school. Seriously. I sat in the preschool parking lot and sobbed because I didn’t bring his Spider-Man toy to show his friends. I know it sounds ridiculous. I even knew it was ridiculous at the time. But it was just a reminder of one more than I forgot to do.

At the heart of it all, I felt like a fraud. I get on this blog, and I talk about how women can do it all. You can have kids and still achieve your dreams. I’ve spoke to rooms of hundreds of people on the exact topic. And here I was crying in the preschool parking lot because I couldn’t do it all. I was a fraud. Which is why I decided to write this post.

We can’t be everyone and everything at the same time. We are asked to be so many things throughout the day- we’re moms, wives, chefs, dry cleaners, therapist, not-licensed doctors, housekeepers, schedule-keepers, chauffeurs, dish washers. It’s ok if we fail at them sometimes. I needed that reminder this week.

Here’s my solution.

1. I need to say no to things. As much as I’d like to be at all the places, and do all the things, sometimes I need to “lean out”.

2. I need to reevaluate what was important. I have an endless list of all the things I need to do. But a good portion of those things can wait. I also bought an old school planner. Like a pen and paper planner. I was keeping my to-do list on my phone, but I noticed that only caused more distraction. I’d go on the app to put more crap on the list, and oh, while I’m on the phone, let’s look at Facebook.

3. Delegate. During one of my breakdowns, my husband asked me how he could help. My first thing out of my mouth, “don’t worry, I can handle it.” Oh wait, you can’t. That’s why you’re crying in the preschool parking lot. Duh. So I said dinners. This past week he’s cooked dinner for the family. I know that doesn’t sound like a lot, but man, dinners can be stressful and time-consuming.

Again, please do not feel sorry for me. We live a wonderful life, and these problems are so small in comparison to actual, real-life problems. My point in sharing this is wanting you to know that we don’t all have our s*** together. It may look like it on Instagram, but that is just a snap shot of someone’s day. By 7 AM this morning, my son was already in timeout, and I was throwing away every piece of candy and dessert in the house. Today was a s***show. Tomorrow may be too. That’s ok. Life is made up of a bunch of seasons. This is a challenging season right now.

I try to live by the motto “Be where your feet are”. I haven’t been very good about that lately. I’m going to change that.

Thank you all for listening!

4 thoughts on “My breakdown in the preschool parking lot

  1. I understand how you feel 100%! Moms really can do it all, but like you said, you have to say no to things at times. That doesn’t mean you’re NOT doing it all, but at times we need breaks and time for ourselves. Keep your head up, mama! You’re doing great.

  2. I don’t feel sorry for you. You ARE doing it all, except for one thing. Doing it all MUST include taking care of you, also. Whatever that looks like. Be it saying no to everything for one day a month and pampering yourself, or scaling back on everything a little every day. You can only take care of everyone else if there is enough of you left give.

  3. One: you are a bad ass mom
    Two. We are all hot messes most
    Of the time
    Three: (taking this from some other post) let’s Arsinio Hall style support one another through these tough years!
    Four: I am amazed at working moms! You are true hero’s and deserve so many naps!

  4. I completely understand! The honest truth that I have discovered; the saying, “you can have it all” is CRAP!!! I felt your same emotional paralyzing crash, more than one time.

    I lived in a constant feeling of letting someone or something down. Never able to give fully to anything. There was no balance no matter how hard I tried; either my mind, heart, desires or obligations were constantly pulling me in different directions. My desire to be a great: mother, wife, employee, daughter, friend became overwhelming to me.

    As a women; a mom, I do not think our motherly instincts allow us to fully engage in other things without feeling guilty, pulled. I know there are many that can/could, I was not one of them. Once I had my precious girls; all my professional career goals changed within me. I still wanted the success and money the corporate world had but I did not want it at the cost of not being with my family. This is where we may be different from men. My husband wanted to make sure our girls were cared for but never felt the internal pull I did that it should be me there making the cupcakes, wiping their tears. My husband was wonderful but as you stated, I often felt if I had to tell him what to do; I should just get it done myself. I was/am horrible at delegating. Even if I delegated, it was not about him doing the task. It was my guilt for not being able to do it myself. I did not delegate because I never wanted to overwhelm him. Lol, I always felt I was better at being overwhelmed. Stupid lol, there is no price for being overwhelmed or being better at it.

    For years I tried and tried but I lived with a constant feeling of failing endlessly. My career was still going well, even excelling at times which meant, more but I knew deep in me; I could not stay on this crazy non-sleeping exhausted path for too long. My lack of sleep was making me mentally spiral. But, I had no idea how to even stop the express train. I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to jump off because once you do; it changes everything. Then similar to you; I crashed. I knew changes needed to be made.

    The only thing I can tell you; you are not alone in your feelings. One thing I learned and still struggle with; I give grace to everyone around me but fail to give Grace to Myself. It has been my New Year’s Resolution for the past two years. Be kind to yourself!!! As for time, time is my enemy. Time is the one thing you cannot buy and I am afraid if I could; I would not be able to afford it. The more I think about time; the more it slips away.

    Sending you lots of love. You are awesome, keep fighting the fight – you’ve got this!!!

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