Last week the lovely Alicia posted at Liberating Working Moms about how her coming home after work was a double-edged sword (sidenote: working mamas or whatever-you-do mamas, please check out this site. It is a very supportive community of mamas with posts that ring so true for many of us.)
The post set off a chain of thoughts in my head that made me realize that my working mama double-edged sword is the weekend. I cherish the time that I get with my family but the weekends can bring oh-so-much anxiety as well.
These pictures are from this past weekend where we went to Lake Arrowhead and played in some snow and then went to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Sometimes living in Southern California is all kinds of awesome.
When Leo was an infant my weekends were centered on spending as much time as possible with him. I felt compelled to spend every single minute engaged with him, reading, playing, and nursing. I would not leave him for anything. If I had errands to run they happened after he went to bed or he went with me. I cleaned during naptime. I didn't get my hair done. I didn't grab coffee with girlfriends or go on dates with my husband. I had an almost psychotic obsession that I must spend every waking breath bonding with my son.
Now I'm not trying to be a mommy martyr. This is a stupid way to live. It left no time for me to be by myself. I was quick to snap at my husband because I wasn't allowing myself to relax and rejuvenate on the weekends. Yes I spent a lot of time with Leo, but time with Leo at the cost of my sanity doesn't benefit anyone.
I wish I could say now that Leo is a toddler I have found a happy balance to my weekends. But I have not. Once he became a little more independent and did not need my attention every second of the day my focus shifted to spending the weekend getting everything ready for the upcoming work week. I obsessively clean, do laundry, meal plan, grocery shop, etc. To the point where I am exhausted and snapping at everyone.
The meal planning seriously saves my sanity during the week and I'm getting better at it so it does not take up as much time. But I am still running myself ragged with trying to get everything done and trying to fit in fun, engaging activities with Leo. Sometimes I get so focused on chores that I feel like I don't spend quality time with Leo. And while sometimes there may be enough hours in the day for me to clean and spend time with Leo, there are not enough hours to do all that and have the much needed me-time and some time with the husband.
This has all lead me to a point where sometimes I actually dread the weekend because it can be so stressful for me. And that is crazy. I've said it before and I'm pretty sure I'll be saying it till the day I die, but I need to find balance. We have hired a housekeeper to help with the cleaning (just once a month, nothing drastic). I am trying, trying to put down the swiffer/vaccuum/random cleaning tool and just sit on the floor with Leo and play blocks. And when I do need to clean I am trying to incorporate Leo into the chore so it is more of a fun game. He gets to push the button to turn on the vacuum cleaner. He gets his own swiffer when I dust. So far that has been working but I'm sure it won't take him long to figure out that cleaning is most definitely not fun.
This past weekend was great. The house had just been cleaned by the housekeeper and we had Monday off due to President's Day. Now if every weekend could be like that I might just find my much-needed balance!