I got some really terrific advice from the midwife at the hospital when I was there with my firstborn. I’ll pass it on to you:
Don’t overextend yourself. If a man takes on more than he can handle, a woman in his life will step up and call him out on it. If a woman takes on more than she can handle, the men in her life will get used to it, begin to take it for granted, and eventually demand more.
Of course I, being a clean freak OCD first-time-mother, didn’t take her advice. Since no one has accused me of extreme cleanliness in quite some time, you can guess how that worked out for me.
When my second child was born, the same midwife was there, and this time I was all ears:
You can only give 100% at a time. The things you can let slide? Let them slide.
I wasn’t as genki (energetic) the second time around due to some substantial blood loss, not to mention the crushing responsibility of taking care of a maniacally energetic two-year-old and a newborn. Needless to say, I learned to let things slide.
There’s this great phrase in Japanese:手をぬく。Literally translated it means “remove the hand.” Let it go, let go of the responsibility and the guilt. Let me savor that for a moment- okay, done. Of course it is Japanese we’re talking about, right? The noun form of this, 手抜き(tenuki), means lazy.
Ah, well, can’t have everything now can we?
It’s been a pretty good day. Me Too wet the bed last night, so with all the extra laundry there was no pressure to get anything else done, though we did manage to get down to the park for about half an hour.
Caught a break of my own this evening when HRH called and said he didn’t need dinner. The kids actually sat down and did their homework without complaint, and it’s Friday, so why not? We headed down to the McD’s for dinner. Tenuki, indeed.