Overwhelmed, Under-achieving, Vicious Cycle

If any of you are like me, sometimes you take on too much. It can be hard to say “no” to the never-ending requests for our time and attention. And, if you’re like me, you’ll find yourself worn and haggard at the end of each day (or even the middle).

In case you missed the news, we just had a baby girl at the beginning of February. That makes beloved #5 for our blended family – 4 incredible boys, and a healthy baby girl! We are overjoyed. And I got overwhelmed. I’m your average stay at home, homeschooling Momma. I have dishes and laundry to do, a house to keep up with, 3 boys to educate, meals to make, and now I’m nursing a little one, on demand (and she demands to eat often!). Plus, for the first time ever, I’ve joined the ranks as a cloth-diapering Momma.

I couldn’t get through a whole day without missing something, without feeling like I couldn’t keep up, without stressing. I also had a part time writing job. Now, I like to write, so this would seem like a great idea. But it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I just couldn’t do that, too. Recently, I have been blessed to be able to take a break from the writing job, along with a couple other things I was doing.

I can breath! I can get up and face the day, the boys, the baby, and my hubby without the burden of guilt, or without feeling utterly overwhelmed. I spent last week reorganizing the house, really pushing the limits with school, and enjoying it all a bit more. See, I’ve always felt called to stay home and raise my precious kids, and take care of our home, and all that comes with that.

Somehow, though, I always feel like I should be doing “more”. As if being on call 24/7 isn’t enough, I feel like I have to find measurable ways to contribute to our family. Mainly, I feel this way when it comes to money. I often burden myself with an enormous amount of guilt for my lack of a paycheck. So I take on odd jobs, trying to make up for what sometimes  feels like I’m failing our family.

You know what’s crazy? That whole thought sounds stupid to me on paper. But it can be crippling to me mentally. Equally, or more severely crippling, is when I have too much on my plate. I have known a few people in my life who, when they get overwhelmed, they crank up their efforts, get up earlier, go to bed later, and just GO-GO-GO. I’m the opposite. I cannot get out of bed to face it when it’s too much. I don’t know where to start. So I just STOP.

You know what happens when I stop all forward progress? I get behind. And I feel overwhelmed. So I don’t start anywhere. So I get more behind. So I feel more overwhelmed. Plus, now I feel guilty for being behind. So I’m more overwhelmed. And behind. See the vicious cycle?

So, now that I’m taking a break from the writing gig, and I’ve let go of a few more odd jobs, I’m caught up on the house and I feel more at peace. Now, don’t get me wrong, the guilt bug still lingers, waiting for those moments where I might get a break to attack me with the thought that I’m not doing enough. But I’ve decided to tell that guilt bug that even if it isn’t enough, at least I’m now doing what I’m doing well. Instead of behind, or barely, or not at all, I am doing it well.

I thank God every day that my dear husband supports me in this at-home endeavor and does all he can to make it possible for me to be home. I am beyond blessed that he never accuses me of not doing enough, that he supports all of my endeavors and hare-brained ideas, and that he loves me well.

 Have you noticed a vicious cycle in your life? How will you break the cycle and how will you encourage yourself and put a stop to any negative self-talk?