"I wish I had three arms."
I ran around the house with a baby in one arm, and the other frantically grabbing clothes off the floor, putting dishes in the sink, washing off the counter, rinsing out bottles, attempting to clear all the clutter that had accumulated over the past week.
"Wow, I'm failing" I thought. My maternity leave was about to end. How in the world was I going to be able to work from home, take care of a baby, keep the house clean, exercise, get the groceries, cook meals??? Let alone do my makeup and hair once in awhile....
Not even sure how many times I walked by a mirror and scared myself - "Who is that in the mirror with the baggy shirt, baggy eyes and disheveled hair?! Dang that's me!!" haha How do those women on social media do it?? I don't understand, I could barely roll out of bed some days.
I remember telling Zach, "I wish I had three arms."
Then I stopped and thought about it. Why did God give us only two arms? I realize it sounds like such a silly and cheesy thought, but it made me stop and think about how God designed us to only have so much capacity. We can't do all things like He can. We are nowhere near perfect, and it's not just that we feel like we can't do it all... we literally can't do it all.
We have to choose what is most important to us. And that sounds scary. It feels scary. I don't like saying no to people, I like to think that I can handle it all. There's nothing like having a newborn that humbles you real quick into realizing you can't handle it all. I learned a few things that month (and I'm still learning this).
1. ASK FOR HELP
I don't know why it's so hard to do. We like to feel like we can keep juggling all the things, and sometimes we can, but it does catch up to us in time. We are human. We were designed to only be able to do so many things at once. Let that sink in. It's not your fault that you can't do all the things, you weren't created to be able to do it all. It's okay to ask for help.
2. SLOW DOWN
It's okay if you need a minute to yourself or need a nap. We get thrown into this new role and just start spinning and going and doing, all while sleep deprived. Ask a relative or friend to come over and hold your baby, and try to take a little breather for yourself. Sometimes we just need a minute to slow down, take deep breaths, and evaluate how we are doing and feeling.
3. SAY NO TO SOMETHING
It's okay if you're not up to having company. It's okay if you can't handle making dinner and need to get takeout. It's okay if you have to turn down a work project (my work is client based, so that might not be the case for every job). We get thrown into this new role as a mom and just start spinning and going and doing, all while sleep deprived. Give yourself some grace and don't set yourself up to do impossible tasks.
4. LEAVE THE DIRTY DISHES
Someone told me this, and I rolled my eyes at it. It's easier said than done. But it's honestly true - if you have to choose, enjoy your sweet baby cuddles over a clean house. People kept telling me, "This season only comes once." I wanted to embrace that, but also felt like the weight of my dirty house. But looking back, I see that everyone was right. I miss my sweet girl's little cuddly self and would give anything to go back and hold her that little again.
5. LEAN ON JESUS
I recently had to lighten my capacity and let a few clients go so that I could be less stressed and be a better mom. That was so hard for me and so humbling. But God has continued to confirm over and over that it's what I needed to do. I had to humble myself, pray about it all and let some things go, and remind myself again that I NEED Jesus. I will always burn out on my own strength. I am human.
John 15:4-5 says, "Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in Me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing."
I realized I was doing a whole lot of struggling and striving on my own, without leaning on Christ. I felt "too busy" to spend time with Him. I felt too prideful to admit I couldn't do everything I had laid on my plate. I realized when I build up my walls of pride and perfectionism, I am defeating the whole point of WHY I would do anything! If I'm not growing closer to Jesus and glorifying Him, everything I'm doing is in vain.
If you are struggling with anxiety and being overwhelmed, it's okay to revaluate your commitments and see if it's time to let some things go. We weren't made to be able to do it all. And usually, our worst critics are ourselves.