I used to be proud to be a workaholic. When it was time to give birth to my twins, I brought my laptop with me to the hospital and began working once I got my epidural and the sharp pain of labor began to subside. I tried to take this same pace into motherhood. Exhaustion and burnout became my norm. Slowly my coffee intake grew from 1 cup a day to at times 3 cups and even that didn’t seem like enough.
When I rested, I could never fully rest. The guilt was palpable and although physically I felt better from resting, mentally I didn’t because the guilt weighed on me about all the things I could have done and how my time could have been better spent.
This has been a process and not an easy journey, but I’m learning to rest and rest without guilt. I’ve learned:
1. I’m a better mom when I rest.
When I was exhausted it took so much energy to stay awake and keep up with everything I needed as a mom and entrepreneur. I ended up with less energy to be more patient with my children and so I fussed and yelled more. That wasn’t the type of mom I wanted to be, so prioritizing rest helped me to yell less.
2. I’m less hurried.
When I’m running to multiple places for meetings, errands, and kids activities I’m spending so much time doing and very little time allowing myself space to rest. When I’m rested, I’m more present with my children and am better able to give them my full attention in the moment instead of being present physically but somewhere else mentally as I think about what I need to do.
3. I need to model what I want for my children.
I grew up watching my mom work a lot and sleep/rest very little. This is a pattern I adopted myself. If my children see me resting, then they will know it’s ok to rest and how to do it.
4. It’s ok to take things off the to-do list.
Sometimes I approached my to-do list like it was written in stone and it was impossible to take something off something. However, I learned everything isn’t urgent and some things don’t need to get done at all.
When I’m rested I’m less stressed, I’m less likely to be distracted, and better able to evaluate what is important and what isn’t and take the things off the to-do list that don’t belong.
Sometimes I still stay up way too late or operate on too little sleep. The guilt still pops up periodically, but I’m more aware and am better able to change course when that happens. I may not be where I want to be yet, but I’m way better than I was and I’m grateful for the progress.
Aisha Taylor is a single mom of twins, personal financial coach, work from home entrepreneur, and author of “Navigating the ‘Impossible’: A Survival Guide for Single Moms from Pregnancy Through the First Year of Motherhood.” Aisha has been featured in ESSENCE, Jet Magazine, and Black Enterprise. She is also the Founder of FNPhenomenal (Frugal –n- Phenomenal), a movement designed to equip single moms develop the strategy to live whole, financially free, and rooted in Jesus Christ.