I spoke last week about my pause- my break from teaching and probable change in career. And this week, I’m getting rolling on the next steps. I’ve been looking for more freelance work – things I can do from home while I ignore my kids... err, while my kids play happily in the background, and I’ve snagged something.
For me, this brings a lot of relief, and some level of acknowledgment that I’m doing the right thing. I’ll get paid to write. On top of that, I’ll be able to do this work from home, and while there’s a creative aspect to it, it’ll still leave me the brain power and emotional bandwidth to continue my own creative writing without sucking me dry. For now, this is the perfect solution for me. I can earn a paycheck, still be home with the kiddos (thereby avoiding the insane cost of childcare), and still produce my creative work.
BUT… what I need now and what I realized I hadn’t spoken about in my other essay is support.
NONE OF THIS is possible without support. And I have it. I still need more, but I do have it.
Here’s the thing. Each of us relies on support in a different way. Some of rely on support in the form of childcare. Some of us rely heavily on our Smartners. Some of us rely on exercise. Some of us rely on therapy. Some of rely on medical care and medication. Some of us rely on friends. Some of us rely on our families. But we all rely on someone - something. We cannot do this alone.
I’m going to say that again, because I think we forget: WE CANNOT DO THIS ALONE.
I realized yet again last night after a particularly trying day with the kids that we can’t do this by ourselves. And we aren’t meant to. Humans are social animals. We need each other. We need interaction. We need support and care and love.
And that’s part of why we’re here, Smarties. That's why Smarty Mommies exists in the first place. So we can support each other. So we don’t feel so alone.
Last night, when I was at my limit, I reached out to my people – my Smarties – and they reminded me that I wasn’t alone. That we all have shit days. That we all need help sometimes. And that seeking what you need is important. They reminded me – again – that I matter. That we matter.
I want to remind you. You cannot do this alone. Whatever it is that you’re trying to do – working and momming, stay-at-home momming, work-at-home momming, single momming, stay-at-home dadding, whatever – none of this can be done alone. We need support. We can ask for support or find support or buy support, but we need it. There’s no way to do this without it.
I implore you, Smarties. Make sure you have support. Make sure you have friends you can talk to. Make sure you have help with All The Things you have to do. Make sure you take care of yourself. Because without you, where will your family be? Without you, it all falls apart, doesn’t it? People need you. And you need people.
SO. It’s time to make a commitment to yourself. Promise yourself that you will do the one thing you KNOW you need to do to survive this life you’re living with your sanity intact. It doesn’t matter what that one thing is, and it differs wildly for all of us: Go to yoga, go for a run, have lunch with a friend, get a massage, go to a bar and write, call your mom, tell your friends you’re falling apart, tell your Smartner you need them to help more, stop saying yes to everything, spend time at the park with your kid, play hookie from work, go to therapy. IT DOESN’T MATTER. It can be free or cost money; it can take five minutes or five hours. Just do it. Do it now, before you lose your shit.
Because, as I’ve said before, we’re setting the example for our kids. We’re showing them how to live healthy lives. We’re modeling what joy and success and managing of life looks like. We teach our kids that they’re important by showing them that we’re important, too. It matters. You matter. We matter.
While I’m working on my new little gig, I’ll be grateful for the support I have. I’ll be thanking the Smarties for being there when I need them. I’ll be depending on my Smartner to take over more responsibilities at home. I’ll be reaching out more to friends and spending time with people that bring me joy, people that remind me who I am. I’ll be grateful for the support my parents and in-laws have provided while we’ve figured things out.
I’ll still be getting things done and, from the outside, it may not seem like things change much. But on the inside, they will. They have to. Going full speed and doing all the things without support isn’t sustainable. I learned that last night when I was ALL DONE. And I’ll have to learn it again before too long. But in the meantime, I’m banking on my support to get me through, because I can’t do this alone. And I don’t have to.