Women, Worth and Working Too Hard.

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I got the inspiration to do a Blog Babysitter Series from this week’s babysitter, Sarah Jenks. She had a babysitter series on her site when she had her first kid just under two years ago.

Sarah knows how to take exquisite care of herself. She has two kids under two, runs her own business, and has had periods of time being the primary breadwinner. So it’s not like self-care is easy for her. 

She’s figured out how to care for herself beautifully not out of luxury or whim, but as a means of survival. She’s a busy, working mom who’s leading a revolution for women around how we relate to our lives and our bodies. She teaches us how to stop waiting on the weight to live our lives and live them now. Because if your life sucks, being 5 or even 50 pounds lighter won’t actually make you any happier.

I find Sarah inspiring. I drink in her newsletter every week, and each time we chat on the phone I hang up feeling more capable of rocking my life.

I know you’ll feel the same after you drink in her wisdom.

 

Hello there!

I am very excited to be babysitting Kate’s blog today for two reasons: one, because I am very happy to make your acquaintance, and two, because I am so happy to support Kate taking some time to get what she needs as a woman and mother in her first few months of parenthood.  I just had my second baby – a girl as well – just three weeks before Kate, so I know how overwhelming and precious this time is.

Today, I want to talk to you about being a woman, worth and working our asses off…

The other day I was at this great food truck picnic on this huge beautiful field overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge.  My 19-month-old son Marshall was sitting quietly on our very cool Pendleton picnic blanket eating his PB&J, and our newborn Annabelle was asleep in the stroller.  My husband Jonathan got out early from work, and my mother-in-law was there to lend a hand.  It was the stuff Moms dream about.  But halfway through my $15 crab roll, I started crying.  

I was completely exhausted – even though Annabelle has been sleeping for 5 hours straight, even though I had 3 hours to myself the day before, and even though I have a lot of support.  When I got home and crashed on our bed in tears, I had to come to terms with the fact that I needed more.  

You see, most women live in this constant state of “go go go” and operate with this “I can handle it” attitude.  We only dip our toe into self-care, me-time and relaxation once in a while when we are two days away from being committed to a mental institution – or when someone has a big birthday and we begrudgingly go to the spa with them, even though it means leaving our long to-do list for the weekend untouched.

If we had a gas gauge, we’d be hovering just above empty, driving our car until the light goes on and starts flashing.  You feel me?

What I’ve had to learn in my life over and over, and again last week, is that I can’t let my tank get all the way to empty before I fill up.  I actually have to gas up every day in order to be in a state of constantly full, fueled-up and fulfilled.

What would that look like for you? Take a second to think about it.  

If you start to feel a little odd, avoidant, or even panicked thinking about what your life would look like if you were in a constant state of full, that’s normal.

When we imagine living in this state, all sorts of things can come up for us.  We start to think about the amount of money it would take, how we wouldn’t have as much time for work or our kids.  We think about being judged by our partners, friends and parents for being such a “lush” or “lazy.”

Since when is being rested, happy and relaxed too much to ask?  When did how much we “do” or “take on” or “handle” become a measure of our self-worth? {TWEET IT}

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Self-worth.  This one is important to explore. I believe most of us have this unconscious belief that we need to earn our keep.  We need to take on all the parenting, housekeeping, full-time work AND still be a rested, happy, sexy woman because we almost feel guilty if we don’t.  It sounds a little extreme, but let’s be honest. It’s true.

We have to drop all the doing, perfection, and Martha Stewartness in favor of self-care, space, and restoration.  

There are probably many things you think you have to do, that you don’t.  What would it be like to make a list of all the things you actually want to do, that bring you joy, and only do those things?  Scary? Maybe impossible? Maybe not…

I have an invitation for you: I’m hosting a challenge where I am leading thousands of women to do one small thing every day to help you fill up your tank and start creating more space.  I want you to feel what it’s like to take care of you no matter how busy, strung out, overweight, broke, or attached you are to “doing it all.”

Look, I’ve been in that place of overwhelm plenty of times.  That place where I think if I just finish this project, lose ten pounds, get my kid into daycare, or when Jonathan’s schedule calms down that’s when I’ll finally slow down. And when I get to that place, I’ll feel so accomplished and life will be totally handled and organized because of all the hard work I put in.  Never happened.  And I’m guessing that magical place of “there” never happened for you either.  

I hope you’ll join me for my Live More Challenge on Instagram that started on November 2nd.  It’s not too late – you can still sign up at livemorechallenge.com to get all the directions on how to participate.  It’s completely free and makes quite an impact.  It would be a joy to spend more time with you and get to know you better.

Over to You:

In the comments below, I’d love to know what it would take for you to feel constantly fueled-up and fulfilled.

Lots of love,
Sarah Jenks

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25 comments

  • Thank you Sarah for sharing your wisdom and inspiring women all over the world to know their worth. Keep up being so amazing!

  • Thank you for your beautifully written blog post. These were just the words I needed this morning! As I sat exhausted, trying to mentally prepare for today’s commitments I realized that ignoring your advice and pushing on would leave me running on fumes. I cancelled my morning appointment, opting instead to return to bed and rest, which is what my body needs most in this moment. I am deeply grateful to have chosen my health first and thanks to your blog I am letting myself off the guilt hook!

  • agnes

    im a working mum in a company(not my own). i wake up before 5am to get to work early before 8am because of traffic. i have a 3year old son i have to get ready for school before i go to work and i close by 6pm everyday and i get home by 9pm and i don’t sleep till 11pm or 12am and im up again the next day before 5am for work and this has been the cycle. im the breadwinner of the family because my husband has been out of work for 2years and i’ve been working for over 5years now. overwhelmed is an understatement for me. i’ve not had time to do anything for myself ever since because the weekend is filled with house hold chores, and i hate my job. i trying to do my own business but i don’t have enough capital to start. i know about all the real estate, paper money, etc. im not even sure what the right question i should be asking you is?….

    • Sarah Jenks

      Hi Agnes,

      You’re doing a lot. I don’t know the details around your husband being out of work, but if he is home during the day and physically able, I would ask him to help out with things. Can he get your son ready for school and drop him off, opposed to you doing this every day? Also, I’m not sure what your evening commitments are that keep you away from home between 6pm and 9pm but try to get creative with some things that you may be able to take off your plate to create some additional space for you. I hope this helps. Also, I’d love for you to join me for The Live More Challenge for some extra ideas and inspiration to help you create some time and space for you. You can get all of the details at LiveMoreChallenge.com. xo

  • As the mama of two toddlers, a professor, and a business owner, I feel like this post is directed right at me! I’ve struggled a lot in justifying self-care in the past secondary to guilt that I feel regarding what I ‘ought to do’. At this point, the best thing I do for myself each day to ‘fill my tank’ is savour a long coffee and allow myself the space for creativity and permission to say no throughout the day. You’re an inspiration, Sarah!

  • Sandra

    Thank you so much for this ooh so recognizable blog! i’ve been trying so hard & so long to be Super woman & I’ve never dare to take the time for myself. I am afraid If I do I Will start crying out of exhaustion & won’t stop. But maybe That is exactly what I need to refuel.

    • Kate Northrup

      Sounds like a good release is in order. So glad this resonated with you!

    • Sarah Jenks

      Sandra, I want you to give yourself full permission to do just that. If a good cry is in order, let it out and feel all of the emotions. You can’t keep it in forever and you can’t keep running on E either. Big hugs!

  • I had a conversation about this with my wife the other day.

    It seems like culture pushes women into being traditional role of being the “Housewife”. Yet two incomes are often needed.

    So women have to do A LOT of work. They have to work, take care of the kids, feed the husband AND make sure the dishes are done! Men need to pick up the slack some more for their wives.

    This is a predominant problem in “Traditional Christian Marriages”. I see this first-hand.

    The existence of this role has made women feel super guilty for not being able to have ME time. They cannot even get a break to paint their nails. Or if they do, doing the dishes later that day ruins them.

    Don’t worry ladies. I am on your side, am rooting for you, and encouraging men to accept responsibility and enter into a relationship that is all about sacrificial giving and authenticity.

  • So grateful to be here,to feel everyone of you…it feels so grateful to be fed with those experiences,love to feel every honesty…however it may reach …beautiful blessings in endless abundance.

  • Karla

    I started this journey of self love a few months ago when I read Goddesses Never Age. I’ve since then passed on this beautiful knowledge to other women. The response is always the same, women find a huge relief in the fact that taking care of yourself is not selfish. We matter dam it. :)

  • Richelle

    Really liked and related to your blog post. I especially loved (and related to) the part about being close to a mental breakdown! ????

    I am a stay at home mother of 4, three of wich are stil in middle school and elementary. I have a wonderful husband who works very hard at his job. I stopped working when I had baby #3 and have not gone back since. We have moved for his job, supported his long hours, travel and dedication to his job. So I have watched him succeed and thrive while I have felt very stuck and inadequate to succeed at anything off and on for years.

    I don’t blame my feelings all on my husband. He is supportive if I am able to ask for what I need, but supportive to the point that his work/career isn’t affected. So I don’t ask a lot out of guilt that he has a lot on his plate (but seems to handle it just fine might I add).

    I think just being able to share with other women and find out you are not alone in your feelings of stress, guilt, inadequacy, and wanting more takes a huge weight off. I am constantly feeling overwhelmed, and empty but then have all this negative self talk going on telling me I shouldn’t feel this way or I should be able to handle all that comes my way and more. I feel guilty to my husband and kids for falling apart I feel weak and out of control.

    That all…….,.being said (sorry got a lot off my chest in the previous paragraphs ☺️) if I don’t fuel my creative desires, my desires to grow and learn or my needs for a quiet place and time to refuel who am I and what example am I giving my kids, how interesting am I as a person to my husband or others and what will I have to give anyone?

    No matter our situation we have to find a way to ask for help in order to care for ourselves. I listened to a program on NPR recently about friendship. In it one of the things that stuck with me was that the author of this study they were discussing stated that asking for help from others can actually be a gift to them as human beings we need to feel needed by others.
    Now if I can just let go of my need to feel in control and strong so that I can ask for what I need in order to refuel my soul!

    Have a peaceful day!

    • Sarah Jenks

      Hi Richelle,

      I think this is the perfect opportunity for you to take some time getting clear on your desires and what you need to feel refueled so you can be more present for your husband and kids. I know that when I’m filled up, I’m a much better wife, friend and mother. I want you to commit to doing one thing a day for the next week, just for you. It doesn’t have to cost money, but can be anything like an afternoon nap, a morning walk after the kids are off to school, lunch with a girlfriend, etc. Get creative and really commit to it. Let me know how things are going after this week and how you’re feeling. xo

  • Marie

    Thank you for the lovely blog. It expresses how I feel right now. I am building my own business now but find it hard to get some gas out of me. Which creates more stress and self criticism of my worth. This afternoon, I am sitting in a cafe and watching the world go by. It’s been years since I have done this without having to chat and talk with someone…

  • Thanks for the great post & reminder. It really resonated with me. I always put my self care right at the bottom of list. Always waiting for that calm & space and then I’ll take care of myself. But I’ll be waiting forever so I really need to make the space for myself add in some rituals that honour me. Thank you both ????

  • Whoa! This really hit me. As a SAHM, I find myself rushing to clean up or have “something to show for my day” when my hubbby comes home from work or people stop by unexpectedly. I’ve been making self-care more of priority, but if I spend a day doing more yoga and mediatating than vacuuming or organizing while the kids are at school, I kinda feel like people will think I”ve been lazy or taking advvantage of this wonderful opportunity to stay home and be here for my kids. My mind knows its silly to think that my self-worth is attached to “what I do all day”, but these subconscious patterns are there.

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