As I’m in this phase of life I’m thinking a lot about how best to balance all my different roles. As women we’re often told that we can do it all but I think that message can set us up for a lot of frustration, exhaustion and disappointment. Not to sound too negative, we CAN do it all, just not all at once.
During the first months of my daughters life I was struggling with trying to grow my business, look after a young one, do all the house work, have a social life and have time to rest, obviously the rest was the first thing that went out the window, followed by my social life, and subsequently that led me to burn out. I’m just now beginning to take seriously my own mental health after realizing that I can’t do anything well if I’m not well myself. I’ve been extremely blessed to have had help from family since my daughter was born but I still put a lot of pressure on myself to do more that I could manage. I think this is especially common for those of us who are self-employed because we don’t get maternity leave and that can feel like a lot of pressure is on you to continue working like before.
After burning out and talking to friends and family, I finally allowed myself to accept defeat. I realized that my ego was getting in the way of being a happy person and a good wife and mum. We recently employed a dada to help me in the afternoons. (Here in Tanzania dadas are like nannies/maids but its very common and most people have them - they’re not only for the rich people like in the west.) I always have at least a few hours a day to work. The difference it has made to my mood is huge and everyone around me has noticed too.
I don’t want to come at this from a place of expertise, I’m still really new at this, but I just want to add my voice out there and say that you don’t have to do everything yourself. Asking for help and slowing down after having a baby is okay and if it makes you a better mum and wife then that’s much more important than being able to say you did it all on your own.