Responding to Emails with Spit-Up in Your Hair: How to Get it all Done as a New Mom without Losing Your Cool

**okay, sometimes you lose your cool. And that’s okay.

By Kate Daigle, MA, LPC

I’m not going to lie. Sometimes I am burping my daughter while I am responding to work emails. And sometimes I get spit up in my hair.

I try to make sure I have a clean shirt on when I arrive at my office (and have a few on hand in case I forget), but hey, I’m a working mom and no one is perfect. My goal at the end of the day is to make sure everyone is taken care of (including myself!) and still be somewhat alert. Some days are better than others.

My daughter is just over five months old and I have Never. Been. This. Exhausted. Like the kind of tired where you are thinking about something and then the next moment it is completely lost and you have NO idea where that train of thought went. Yes, I have written on my hand (no joke): “remember to wash your hair”.   ….What was I saying? Oh, right. How tired I am.

 

I am also the most happy I have ever been. After two devastating losses in 2014, we finally welcomed our Rainbow Baby in March and kissing her sweet face makes my heart swell with love and joy. I routinely remind myself of my gratitude for her, even on the hard days (especially then).

But here’s the reality – how does a working (in the home and outside the home) woman get it all done? I have an amazing husband, family, and support system (including my Wheaten terrier, Marley), and yet it feels like the jobs never end.

Feeding the baby, cleaning up after the baby, trying to take care of myself and my relationships, nurturing my garden, cleaning the house, and something that is very important to me: taking care of my counseling practice and my clients. My private practice is a child of mine, one I have tended to, grown with, sweated for, and fallen in love with over the past six years.

 

Getting It All Done

With all of these people, animals, and entities depending on me, how do I get it all done?

I try to be selfish.

What? How could I be selfish as a new mom?

Well here’s what we all know but never say: ALL new moms need to be selfish.

The word “selfish” gets a bad rap, in my opinion.  When I say “new moms need to be selfish”, I use the word to mean “to take care of oneself”.  And you do that NOT by neglecting others, but SO THAT you can take care of others.

In my world, the way that’s working for me right now, “selfish” boils down to:

 

  • ASKING FOR HELP
  • VOICING MY NEEDS AND FEELINGS EVEN IF THEY ARE UNCOMFORTABLE
  • LETTING GO OF CONTROL AND LOWERING MY EXPECTATIONS
  • WRITING EVERYTHING DOWN –and PRIORITIZING
  • NOT SWEATING THE SMALL STUFF (*unless I really want to)
  • And most importantly: HAVING STRONG BOUNDARIES

*(want to know HOW I do these things? Send me an email or leave a comment below!)

 

Working Out the Balancing Act

I have found that it’s healthy for me to be at work and to nurture my professional self as I have done for the past 9 years. However, there is a little one who depends on me and the guilt I feel being away from her is REAL.

Mommy guilt is a true experience and one that can grow and infest itself in your life …if you allow it.

This is one of the essential places to create boundaries. Being a mother is an incredibly tough job. We feel guilt because we are invested: in our child’s happiness, health, success. In our relationships: our marriage, our family relationships, our friendships. I have struggled with feeling guilt for saying no and also for asking for help. I also realize this is a sure road to self-sabotage and can just lead to more suffering.

 

Creating a Space for Safety and Love

If I look at the world through my daughter’s eyes, I see a place where everything is continually new and exciting…and at times scary. I want her to feel safe. Realistically, I know there will be times where she won’t feel safe.

I don’t know it all, and I don’t think I ever will, but what I do know is this: my daughter learns about love and safety from me and from others who are close to her.

I want her to love HERSELF. And that starts with me. So, I profess to be selfish (within reason ;)) and to teach her how to be as well.

 

 

Want to learn more about how I get it all done? Come to my talk Finding the Time: How to Balance Motivation and Perfectionism While Still Getting the Important Stuff Done which I will be presenting at the Building Brilliance While Remaining Whole Conference on September 19.  Learn more and Sign Up HERE!

Photo credit: torbakhopper via Foter.com / CC BY-ND

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