Do you ever feel like it's all just balls? You are juggling so many balls, it would be easier if you dropped a few, but so many of them are just too precious or important to drop. The only ones you can reasonably justify dropping have your own name on them. So you loose out.
You can't drop the balls that are labelled 'cook dinner' 'clean the toilet/clothes/child' or 'food shopping' because then everyone would smell and be hungry. So you drop 'do my makeup'. It's only reasonable.
You can't drop 'school run' 'pay the bills' or 'call the plumber' because the authorities would be on you, along with the bailiffs and the kitchen would be flooded. So you drop 'catch up with the girls'. It's justified.
These decisions are just part and parcel of life and make perfect sense, they are logical and practical and individually each choice made like this goes unnoticed and doesn't really impact you too much. But beware, it snowballs on you, this cascade of putting yourself last and least important snakily picks up momentum until you are drowning in being selfless and responsible.
And that's just the generic stuff we all have to compromise on, then there's the more personal stuff which we all have and is more specific to each of us, for me there are things like 'prepare a lesson for Sunday school' 'attend a million midwife appointments and scans' 'remember to pray every day'. These are things that I would not drop in a million years, they are part of my life, they are balls that you might not have but you will have other balls which I don't.
Of course there are also the balls that you really really want to drop that you can't choose, they choose you, things that are enforced on you whether you like it or not, my examples would be 'fibromyalgia' 'borderline personality disorder' and 'do your tax return' - they are all energy sucking, chronic illnesses, especially the latter! None of these can be dropped. So it makes perfect sense to drop your own personal wants and dreams - a trip to the toilet without an audience, leaving the house without cheerios and snot on your clothes or to leave the house in clothes other than jeans and trainers!
We are all in the same boat, and it can be overwhelming. We all have too many balls, albeit different ones, but it's all too much sometimes. We drop ourselves. So what is the answer? Clearly we can't all just run off and be selfish and irresponsible, we have too many people depending on us.
The answer is more balls... as in grab life by them so to speak. Just do what you can do and hope for the best because that is all any of us are doing, and although it doesn't feel like it - you are coping. Your child is happy right? They are clean and fed? You have batted as many of those other balls as you can for today? Then job done mamma! You survived another day. Time to pick up a few of those balls with your own name on. Maybe for you it's just the little things you need to do to reclaim yourself - pull the PlayDoh from under your nails and paint them a nice colour if that's your thing. Or treat yourself to a bubble bath once the smalls have finally given in and admitted it's bed time (use of chloroform optional). Whatever you do, just stop loosing yourself. It's too easy to do, we all do it at times but we need to stop and pick up our own needs, wants and dreams to be able to guide and inspire our young people. They don't want an empty shell of a woman flogging herself silly and not taking care of her own needs, they want a happy mum. So drop the guilt and pick up you.
It has taken me a long time to learn to stop looking at the list of things I didn't get to each day, all the things that still need doing. I still slip and start getting into that mindset. But now at the end of the day I write a list of the things that I did do instead, doing this made me realise just how much we all do each day in the line of duty as a parent. Write down every achievement, the big (you did the weekly shop with kids in tow and nobody cried! Is that possible?!) and the small (you drank a cuppa before it was completely stone cold! Go you!). I guarantee your list is longer than the list of things you didn't get done. You may not have managed to clean and tidy every surface, but you did some tidying in between meeting the kids needs and getting some cuddles and playing a game. You may not have emptied the dirty washing basket, but you got one load done whilst waiting for the dinner to cook and listening to your kid's nonsensical but adorable story. See, you are amazing.
Wife, Mummy and illustrator.