Dear Therapist • By Charlotte Davies
Exploring the first-world problems of a working mum
As the hectic festive season approaches can we talk about unnecessary guilt? Mum guilt, work/life balance guilt, being a good enough friend/daughter/spouse. Life is so busy. It can be overwhelming, keeping all those plates spinning. In fact, I think we can become addicted to spinning all the plates. If we don’t keep the plates spinning, who will? If we relax for a second, they will crash to the ground and break, and we can’t allow that.
Must. Keep. Everything. Spinning.
I get stressed about being stressed! I know I need more sleep. All the beauty blogs tell me so. I need to increase my water intake, my daily steps, my fruit and veg intake. Generally decrease my daily calorific intake. Cut down on processed food. I need to accept it’s okay to leave the shoes out of the cupboard, and the dishwasher really can be emptied in the morning. The dog won’t keel over because he didn’t have a three mile walk today and it’s okay not to pick up all the dinosaurs, Hot Wheels toy cars and Lego scattered all over the playroom floor. Those work emails can probably wait until tomorrow, but damn, tomorrow is the deadline for filling in that school form. Where the hell did it disappear to? The Santa brunch WILL be fully booked unless I sort it tonight.
Did I confirm with the plumber that, “yes, tomorrow will work”, and did I order the Morrisons delivery? Otherwise there will be nothing in for tea. I should really arrange to see mum: it’s been a while since I saw her, apart from collecting the kids after work, but if I meet her for a ‘quality time coffee’ after-school drop-off then I’ll only need more childcare as there won’t be enough hours to work and I’ll feel guilty for not being productive enough. Did I remember to send my best friend’s child a birthday card? The irony being, all these things prevent my mind from switching to sleep mode, which in turn makes me eat more. Usually junk food.
Do you ever end the day feeling like you underachieved at work, your children didn’t receive the undivided
attention they deserved, your house isn’t as sparkling as it could be, and you’ve accepted another invite because you really do need to see that friend you love dearly, even though you’re exhausted and want to put on your pj’s at 7.30pm? This often-dizzying anxiety of trying to do all the things (and do them well), be all the places and please all the people can be attributed to being an over achiever, having imposter syndrome and being a perfectionist.
But none of us are perfect. Inevitably a few plates with fall and smash into smithereens every now and again,
but sometimes, it’s the imperfections that make us who we are. You’re doing better than you think. Remember to breathe. Remember, it’s OK to take some time for yourselves, it’s okay to delegate, to let a plate drop. It’s not
selfish, it’s a necessity. The fact you’re worried already means you care. We WILL make it through whatever
challenge comes our way.
Your best really is good enough!