Being Stretched and Stressed: I Can’t Do It All

by Brenda Yoder, MA

Family FightingI’ve been both a stay-at-home mom and a working mom.  When I was at home full-time with young children, there were days I felt stretched and stressed.  Ten years ago, I began working full-time as a high school history teacher.  I had to develop a new routine for our family of six, balancing home, school, grading papers, and carpooling kids to games and practices.  We lived at a hectic page.   I had 180 students to prepare for each day.  I was stretched to the limit.

Four years ago, I left the classroom to pursue a degree in another profession that would allow me part-time employment.  After three years of graduate school, I now work part-time as a counseling and educational professional in an intermediate school.  It’s the best of both worlds.  In the journey of balancing work, family, and self, these are some lessons I’ve learned:

  • “Doing it all” is pricey.  When I worked full-time, our household ran like a smooth machine.  But the price was too high emotionally and mentally for me.  My four kids needed a mom emotionally available for them and who was not irritated, frustrated, and stressed out.  I needed to be at peace.
  • Being pulled in every direction is hard. During those years, I was pulled in every direction.  In making the decision to switch careers, my heart broke because teaching is my first love.  But it’s been worth it.
  • You can set goals and reach them.  After a long wait, I found a part-time school counseling position and now have a good balance between family and work.  The hard work and perseverance paid off.
  • Self-awareness is important.  Knowing yourself is and your limits is crucial.  Being okay with those limits is even more important.  I’ve learned what I can and can’t handle and I feel comfortable with saying no to things I need to.
  • A woman’s identity is not in being a parent or in working, but in being the individual you’re created to be.  Being a stay-at-home mom did not define me and neither does being a teacher, counselor or parent.  I’m a unique person, and so are you.

Where are you currently stressed and stretched to the limit?  Are there changes you may need to make?  Assessing yourself, your needs and your family’s needs is important in creating a healthy balance in life.  Life with children is only once.  I need to be the most present and peace mom I can be.

How about you?