As I stood in the kitchen pouring cheerios with one arm and loading the dishwasher with my foot, I ignored the doorbell that had now been ringing for 2 minutes. I thought, “I will get to it when I can!” Meanwhile, I had barely checked off my morning to do list of flipping the laundry, taking out the trash, paying my Target bill, packing up the school bags, turning on my work computer, and oh yeah…I need to get dressed for school drop off.
Then it hit me, why am I doing all of this alone? Feelings of resentment flooded in as my automatic thoughts suggested that my husband doesn’t do enough. I realized that I am operating at max capacity. I am red lined and there is no room for anything else. Burn out is looming. I’m in trouble!
When we are feeling overwhelmed it is sometimes easier to place the blame on someone else. It’s the blame game. This allows us to avoid dealing with our emotions. It also prevents us from coming up with potential solutions. Often times when we play the blame game, we become the victim. We do not consider how the person at “blame” is feeling. We never consider that he may also be operating at max capacity.
We are a two physician household. Our jobs alone are stressful. We have limited time. We want to be outstanding parents. We want to continue to strengthen our relationship. Playing the victim and assigning blame will not help us achieve our goals.
We may be required to operate at max capacity, but how can he make it a positive part of reality? How can we shift from feeling overwhelmed to feeling calm and composed? It all starts with giving up the victim role, taking away blame, acknowledging that we are all trying our best, and now discussing solutions.
We can start to consider solutions by first having the difficult conversation. Difficult conversations can cause some uneasy feelings, but taking on the challenge will only build self confidence simply because you will have had experience. In my situation, the difficult conversation began by me admitting to my husband that I was feeling overwhelmed. I also had to admit that I felt resentful because I was doing more than he was to make our life work. He then shared, that he too felt overwhelmed. We then agreed that our max capacities may be completely different. To move forward, we must honor our differences.
So where do we go from here? How do we make our life more enjoyable and alleviate the stress? The answer is different for everyone. In our situation, we identified the top 5 duties that could be lifted from our plate and delegated to others. Our top 5 included the infamous laundry assignment. The washing, drying, folding and then putting away took hours every week. Often times laundry baskets of clean clothes would decorate the house.
Our solution was one amazing woman. Her name is Miss Alex. Mama Miss Alex was the answer to our prayers. She comes on friday and completes all of the laundry from start to finish. She changes the sheets and straightens the house. This alone has freed up hours each week. She is a beautiful soul who absolutely enriches our life. In fact, my max capacity is even higher because of her. Now, I am not wasting time perseverating on how I’m working harder than everyone else.
Solutions are amazing- we would all agree. I now have free time and more head space. My resentment has turned into appreciation. My clear mind can now recognize all that my husband does, instead of focusing on what he can do more of. Sometimes admitting that we need help is difficult. Accepting help can be even harder. But if we move out of our comfort zones, we might just get to enjoy our lives a bit more. Mama Alex may be your answer- she is ours.