Merry Christmas from the Hendersons. I know this photo is blurry, but it so accurately sums up our lives right now – both in the clarity of the photo and our body language. Birdie wants to get down to certainly do something on her own, with ‘I CAN DO IT’ on repeat in her head. Charlie is doing a super hero move, despite no bad guy in sight. And Brian and I are alive and laughing through it.
This year was busy, which is a great thing obviously, culminating in the 3 month holiday wave (nay, tsunami) of sponsorships (of which I’m VERY proud) and events (which perhaps were unnecessary but fun). After months of going non-stop, last week hit me like a wrapped holiday-brick in the face, with my usual high energy and positivity being- well, challenged. At one point I said, oh ‘this is why weird celebrities check themselves into rehab for exhaustion.’ Having an anxiety attack during one of the busiest weeks of your life is REALLY bad timing. I didn’t want to say anything at the time because I didn’t want any sponsors or clients thinking that I wasn’t going to give it my all or that I couldn’t handle the work load, etc., because the truth is I can, and did (with huge credit to my amazing team for helping me produce content and to Brian for definitely doing more than his fair share with the kids).
At one point, near the end, I realized I hadn’t had a true day off in about 5 weeks – with the weekends being self-induced work/shoots (did I really NEED to shoot the DIY’s for Charlie’s superhero themed birthday at 7am on the Sunday of his birthday party?? Did I really need to have that fake ladies holiday dinner? But it’s all such good content that, yes, we needed it!!). I broke down. Got a lot of cuddles from Brian and my kids, and once again resigned to hire more help in 2018 (which sounds like a simple solution but more help means more people to manage/disappoint…. but if anyone knows a good high level COO or high level Social Media Creator/Expert please spread the word).
Plus I have two small, super dependent kids who really, really like my attention. Often in the middle of the night and always in the morning when I’m trying to leave for work. And when we shoot at the house, boy does it get very complicated (because of this they are both going to preschool 9-2 starting in January to help them avoid the chaos that is often my job at our house). But I WANT to give them attention, I’m obsessed with those kids and while I often want a 5 minute break every 15 minutes, I really, really love spending time with them being their mama. The 6am – 9am and 5pm – 8pm job of parenting is 100 times more exhausting than being in front of 3 cameras and 62 people. Those 6 parenting hours + the 8-9 work hours add up to be manageable at best.
I know I’m not alone, and none of this is bad, or any reason to pity anyone here. As my friend Robyn told me yesterday, the holidays are super, super hard for moms. You see, it’s the time of year when you are your busiest at work but all you want to do is set aside time for traditions, service, and making those very special memories while your kids are young. I know you older moms will be thinking ‘calm down, they won’t remember, you are doing great’, but it’s more for me than them. You start the month with all these holiday dreams full of joyful kid-filled events and near the end you realize that you didn’t do any of them. Now that I’m thinking about it, I’m happy to say that this year the gingerbread house did get built (albeit early, over thanksgiving), the sugar cookies did get baked for the firemen/policemen (but never delivered, yay, let’s here it for parental follow-through!), we made it to Descanso Gardens (but realized it’s less for rowdy toddlers than we had assumed but had fun cocktails with friends), and after canceling our big holiday party due to the above exhaustion and anxiety (lucky for me I had been too busy to officially invite anyone anyway, ha), we will have some family over to enjoy the decor when we get back from our Portland trip (where we’ve been since Monday welcoming my parents home after a 2 year international LDS mission). We made it to see Santa yesterday morning, after waiting in line for almost 2 hours in the 20 degree cold. In my first draft of this post I listed all the things that I didn’t accomplish of which I had planned, but then deleted it because by rereading all of this I realize how much of a crazy person I sound (and am).
My drive to hit all marks in life is both noteworthy and exhaustingly unnecessary. I didn’t predict I would be this person. And yet I don’t necessarily want to change.This is me. I live to work. I’m driven, motivated, and when I’m ‘slow’ I just create more work for myself. The only thing I love more than my job is my family/.
But real quick: If I were a guy I would surely take a back seat on the parenting front and rely heavily on my spouse to be the lead parent while I support us and capitalize on the fact that I’m at a high point in my career. Lucky for me Brian is amazing and has definitely tried to get me to do this, but ….
But I’m not a man. I’m a MOM.
And as a mom who is also the main supporter of the family I’m again reminded that trying to be amazing at both roles is impossible and just results in you disappointing yourself – a feeling that produces even more stress and exhaustion. But that’s just what we do, right? It’s self-induced because we are natural caretakers and incredible multi-taskers. And mostly because, despite how much we love our jobs, we really, really want to be GREAT moms. I brought it up with my girlfriends last night (all of whom work a lot). I said, ‘things may have been easier for families before so many women took on full-time jobs. Roles were defined. Jobs were clear. Everyone knew everyday who was in charge of what.’ Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting going back in time, nor would I consider giving up my career. Modern life has just gotten, often unbearably, complicated. Women are taking such a dominant role in the workforce; the advantages given to our children, our culture, our society, and the world because of this are incalculable. But the nighttime scramble of who is going to make what for dinner, the leveraging for ‘me time’, the 15 hours a day (between both roles) where we’re ON end up taking a toll on life, marriages, and our health.
Once again I manage to take a ‘Merry Christmas from the Hendersons’ post and turn it into some large macro comment on the state of the modern family. Let me be clear, I HAVE MY DREAM JOB.
But of course the minutiae that comes with every job is still hard work, of which you don’t necessarily see, nor do I want you. Part of my job is the aspiration without the stress, and while it can be stressful, most of it is fun AF. But when a lot of your jobs culminate in bookings in one season, it doesn’t matter how much you love your job, because you do… it doesn’t matter how enthused you are by every opportunity, because you are… it doesn’t matter how excited you are to produce, shoot and write each post… because you ARE. It’s like celebrating your birthday 16 nights in a row. It’s like going to vegas for 5 days (3 is the general max). You don’t want to complain because you have nothing to complain about.
But you are allowed to be tired.
I wouldn’t change a thing. I knew it was coming and I’m so proud we made it through (again, with so much help). This isn’t a ‘I want to slow down post’ professionally because I don’t. I love moving fast, producing a lot and when things are naturally slower in the winter is when I naturally create even more work for myself because I love to work. Could I use more tools to help manage the chaos? Sure. But suggesting to slow down at the peak of our year is like asking a sprinter to walk the last quarter mile. Its just what we do, and in a lot of ways its why we love what we do. But yes, there is a sweet collapse at the end. 🙂
Life is so good – so good I could cry. I know I’m one of the luckiest people on the planet and I have no plans of squandering that time with complaints or negativity. But I also know that part of my success is telling you how I’m feeling and thinking, and sometimes that involves a level of realness that can be perceived as ungrateful. It’s not. I’m so grateful. But if you were looking for proof that someone can be grateful and tired at the same time, I’m it. Perhaps there is a sponsorship or spokesperson opportunity for that role?
You (my readers) are my conscious. You are full of the best advice. You have been a mom longer than me, and a career lady with more demands. You have tried to balance marriage, work, and kids longer than I have. And yet, you know me really well. So I guess I needed to chat… with you.
Thank you for listening.
Today will be the last post of 2017 on the blog so that I can shut things down and spend time with my family. To celebrate the year.
Thank you for another great year. Thank you for reading sharing and engaging. Thank you for being smarter, kinder, and full of better advice than me.
WE MADE IT!!!!! YOU MADE IT!!! TIME TO KICK BACK AND CELEBRATE!!!!
Cheers, from our family to yours, whatever your family looks like.
Because let’s face it – life is a SNOW SHOW. But we’ve been through this blizzard before, and in 2018 I’ll be ready to ski through it. RIGHT?
In short: Happy Holidays, From The Hendersons 🙂