Do you ever find yourself trying to rest or relax and get this nagging voice telling you that you are being lazy? As moms, this can be a nightly experience, when we finally get the kids down and would like to unwind. Instead, our R&R gets hijacked by this notion that if we aren’t doing chores, hobbies, exercise, etc then we are being lazy. But, odds are you are NOT a lazy mom, rather you are overwhelmed.
In this episode we cover some of these topics (and related links you might like):
- The original blog post When I realized I wasn’t a lazy mom, I was just overwhelmed
- Naming our experience
- Societal expectations on moms
- Self-definition (limiting identities)
- Three ways we are exhausted during the day
- Physical exhaustion
- Emotional exhaustion, mirror neurons, our kids’ emotions
- Mental exhaustion, mental load, decision fatigue
- The counter-argument of ‘just be more organized’
- How do we handle this voice telling us that we are lazy
- Knowing when you are overwhelmed and when you are feeling lazy
Get the wallpapers for the Beautiful Words Episode right here
All of the Simple Christmas posts are right here
Hey it’s Shawna, you’re near to go find a counselor from simple on purpose.ca. Welcome to the Simplon purpose podcast.
So it’s December guys we made it is December. And today when I’m recording this, it’s snowing in BC, which I know what’s going to make it beautiful here, except I have to drive out of town for a hockey tournament. So That’s never fun to be driving through these kinds of conditions. But hey, that’s the life of a Canadian parent with a kid in winter sports, traveling through all the conditions, bringing all the snacks and the vitamins and the gear is just like a whole thing, isn’t it?
So we’re in December, many of us are thinking about Christmas planning for it, whatever you’re celebrating, we’re thinking about it. And I do like to share content that is seasonally relevant. And often I would share a lot of posts about Christmas. But I’ve shared so much in the past that I’m not going to rehash all of it. Again, I’m just going to lead you to the archives of all of the posts all of the episodes about all of the things when it comes to simplifying Christmas, and having your Christmas be intentional and purposeful in something that you just show up for and enjoy. So stop by the link in the show notes for a little landing page for all of that.
I’m going to talk about a well loved post that I shared a few years back called I stopped calling myself a lazy mom. And when I wrote it, I was writing it from that experience of feeling like I was momming hard all day long, three small kids.
Just reminder, my kids now are 12,11, and nine. So when they were all at home, they were all like close in age and it was like hot, hot and heavy situation. So I would be home with all these kids momming hard and then at the end of the night, you get them to bed, you sit on the couch, and suddenly, when you should be kind of like feeling like Oh yeah, I’m like come check out. What happens instead is this feeling of being flooded with the expectation that I should be doing something I shouldn’t be doing something I should be maybe meal prepping a freezer meal or folding this perpetual basket of laundry on my couch. Or I should take up a hobby because I haven’t been creative enough and use my brain in those ways. Or I should definitely exercise goodness knows I’m overdue or calling a friend catching up whatever felt was necessary to be more balanced and more productive as a woman in the world. That feeling that should do that expectation contrasted with the desire to just sit on the couch with my husband and my little bowl of ketchup chips, and enjoy something interesting on TV together.
And the contrast matters here because we have two camps on one camp is who I should be I should be productive. I should be doing all these things. And the other camp is who I am currently being which is lazy, being lazy,
lazy and complacent. Man, that is a word I used against myself for years. And when I boil it down to where I got that self definition from it was really due to the fact that I was not a morning person. It was kind of this determining factor, this default result that if you hate mornings, you’re lazy. If you want to sleep in you are lazy.
So what do we do when we give ourselves any kind of identity, we inadvertently and sometimes inadvertently perpetuate that identity. And I’m going to link to an episode on that in the shownotes.
So this post about stopping calling myself a lazy mom, it came at a time where I had this big aha moment that maybe I wasn’t who I thought I was, at least not in all of the areas of my life. I might be lazy at some things. But I didn’t feel like I was lazy at all of the things. after all. We were eating meals of food that I made, we were wearing clean clothes that I put through the wash. We were generally getting the dishes done most of the time. And that made me think if it wasn’t entirely true in all of the areas of my life. Maybe it’s not even true. Maybe I wasn’t lazy.
So on one of these nights when we got the kids to bed, and I’m just sitting on the couch beside that emotional support basket of laundry scrolling on Pinterest, instead of cleaning the kitchen, I came across an article and the article open with this line. Are you really lazy or Are you overwhelmed? And you know in the last episode when I talked about the power of naming things, how it feels validating informative, that’s how I felt right then validated. Overwhelmed. That was the word for it. I wasn’t lazy. I was overwhelmed.
And of course I was overwhelmed. I had three small kids, and every single day was like a circus that was on fire and I was just trying very, very hard to lead it well. The amount of physical energy emotional energy and mental energy it takes to be A mom is underrated. And I know a huge factor in that is two things. One, the expectations we put on ourselves with how we approach modern parenting. And the other factor is that we live in a more isolated manner than the generations before us. But until we address those factors, we just need to acknowledge how exhausting it can be.
It’s physically draining, let’s talk about that we might not be sleeping through the night, we’re always on alert watching for our kids. We’re gonna pair this with the reality that we don’t often feed ourselves, well. We’re not being physical in the ways that entered, that energize us. It is physically draining,
it’s emotionally draining, thinking of all of the people and their feelings and your feelings about their feelings and your own feelings and feelings about your feelings. And what do we do with all these feelings? And how are we carrying these feelings and processing these feelings? It is a lot. Dealing with feelings takes energy, we can spend that energy trying to avoid the feeling and resist the feeling and stay in that state of resistance. Or we can expend the energy being reactive with our feelings. Often as moms with small kids, we are in a stress response, we’re operating from a stress response to that takes a lot of energy. I mean, there’s so much science around burnout, that operating in that chronic stress response will burn us out.
And the feelings of others like that’s our emotional experience. How about the feelings of others? Because we’re picking up on that we’re absorbing that? Have you ever been to a very tense, also social situation? Like it’s tense, you can feel the tension in the room, and then you leave and you like, get in your car and you’re like, Oh, what am I feeling like, I feel this weird buzzing inside of me. That’s because we pick up on the emotions of others, we have something called mirror neurons in our brains, and they are reading all of the cues around us of what others might be feeling. And we’re picking up and we’re mirroring that back.
And the feelings of others I find as a mum, that my kids feelings can be one of the most overwhelming parts of motherhood, I mean, it might be a part of being maternal and being wired to be in tune with your kids emotions. But we’re just wired naturally to pick up on the emotions of others. And if we aren’t clear and confident about what to do with other people’s emotions, it can feel like we’re just swept away in all of it.
And finally, the mentally draining part we’ve heard about the term mental load, right? That is the amount of burden in your brain. As the family manager, you have the calendars, the inventories, the preferences, who likes what, what needs to go where, and when, and how it all has to get done. It’s this running list in our heads of all of the things and it’s like this mental swirl of clutter. And as we just go about our day, fielding questions about icicles and meals and who gets to do what and where did the shoe go? And what’s for dinner? And what do we do now? We fatigue, we get decision fatigue, cognitive fatigue.
And I want to share this with you to just point out that these are real things we experienced, they’re not metaphors, we are being drained. These things this drain on our physical, mental, and emotional resources, move us out of our window of tolerance. That window of tolerance. I’ve talked about it before. That’s that range where we feel like we have capacity to deal well with our day.
So here we are, we’re worn out, it’s been a demanding day, even if we just spent it at home with our kids. And now we’re sitting on the couch, calling ourselves lazy, because we would just like to unplug from the overwhelm of our day. But how does our rest actually look when it’s held hostage by this notion that we are being lazy. And when we shouldn’t get up and do something, we’ll commonly do one of two things here on one,
one situation, we might shut down, just kind of go into that shutdown mode, do nothing. And we aren’t really doing things that are restful and restorative to us, we’ve just turned it all off. And as we are doing nothing, in a sense, we’re actually getting further behind, at least mentally on all of the things we should do, which probably makes the shutdown even more.
Or you might respond to this, you might gear up get into productivity mode, you see all the things you have to do you stay up late to do them. And we reinforce the beliefs and habits around never resting will also increase the likelihood of burnout.
And both of these shutting down or being hyperactive over it. They’re not great options at giving us a life that feels like it balances rest and productivity. And I point out the situation because it goes to show that we cannot rest well, when we have this kind of shadow over it this belief that if we rest we’re lazy.
Now, there is an interesting counter argument out there. The argument that you are lazy, you’re not overwhelmed. You’re the problem. You’re standing in your own way. You just need to get more organized. Get up early. Make a plan and do the tasks so you don’t feel overwhelmed.
And in my experience, both personally and as a counselor and coach, I would say take this with a grain of salt. Like, who is sharing this information? Is it middle aged white men? Who aren’t the mental load bearers of their home? The reality is, nobody else is in your shoes. Nobody else knows what it’s like to be you. And yes, sure, some structure, some plans are great, let’s put some simple ones into place. And I’m going to put some links in the show notes about that. But it doesn’t erase the realities of modern motherhood being an overwhelming experience, especially with small kids at home. It might help it manage it, but it won’t solve it.
So back to the real issue that I want to be discussing about calling ourselves a lazy mom is watching our language when the temptation is there to label ourself as a lazy, step back and ask, Am I lazy? Or am I overwhelmed? And spend some time with this? Because you’re going to deal with it differently depending on the answer. And if you aren’t sure, take stock. Do I feel like I have capacity right now? Do I feel worn out from the day? Or do I feel like I still have a little bit of energy? I could do something but I’m choosing not to.
And if you realize, yeah, I’m being lazy. Choose it. I choose to be lazy right now. I mean, sometimes we just feel lazy. And we can own that, right? Like, just sit on the couch and be lazy, fine. Give yourself permission to be lazy, without making it mean you’re unethical or not worthy or not a value, just relish in the joy of being a little bit lazy for a bit.
But if the answer is no, I am overwhelmed. I feel maxed out. What you need is rest, restore, recharge. Sure, do some brain dumps make a few plans for tomorrow, break things down. But allow yourself give yourself permission to unplug. Or maybe like plug back in. I don’t know. I’m thinking like a battery, you want to recharge. I know all of this sounds easy, doesn’t it.
And as I was drafting up this episode, I was really unpacking a lot more of the side issue that is really brought up over this topic. And that is the issue that many of us feel like we need to earn our rest. Even if we can acknowledge that we are overwhelmed. It’s still a mental hurdle of actually giving ourselves permission to rest this belief underlying belief that we need to earn our rest.
So I want to unpack that. And I want to give it a lot more attention. I’m going to do that in the next episode. So if you’re interested in that concept, head on over and listen.
And one more thing before you head out is to let you know that the wallpapers that I had made for the previous episode have beautiful words and embody simple and intentional living. I made nine wallpapers for each of the nine words that I shared. And I wondered why nobody was downloading these free wallpapers because they’re so pretty. And I realized the link was broken to sign up for that. So I have fixed it. I’ve added it to the shownotes here, if you’re interested in those wallpapers of nine beautiful words, run and grab yourself those Alright friends, see you in the next episode.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai