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Frazzled Mom Pulled in All Directions

April 29, 2018 | by Emuna Braverman

Help! Every child needs me, I'm completely overwhelmed and at a loss how to balance it all.

Dear Emuna,

We have four beautiful children at different stages of their lives. One is married and expecting her third child. One is in her last year of college. One has graduated and is beginning a job search and one is in the 11th grade and about to start the college application process. Each stage and child is a whole challenge and overwhelming for me. As they say, these are first world problems and nothing to complain about but I'm not handling the stress very well. Everyone seems to need me, almost constantly, for a long period of time. At each individual phase of life, they desire hand-holding and other forms of help.

I want to be there for them but I also have a job that requires some time and energy, as well as a husband who requires the same! – and who I actually want to spend time with. I'm completely overwhelmed and at a loss how to balance it all. Can you help?

Don't Know If I'm Coming or Going

Dear Coming and Going,

Well I certainly hear you. Let's begin with taking a deep breath – and slowly exhaling. Okay, first things first. Since the Almighty runs the world, you can – and should – ask for His help. "Cast your burdens upon God" says King David in his Psalms. Give your challenges over to Him. You'll feel lighter already.

Secondly, all of your children will feel loved and cared for as long as they know you take their challenges seriously. And you'd be surprised to discover what they can and are willing to do on their own, especially when they know you have their back.

Thirdly, outsource. There are nurses and nannies to help new moms. There are college counselors to guide your 11th grader. There are websites to direct your job hunter. And college graduation is still a year away so we can delay that issue for now.

Next, bring your husband into the process. He can also share the burden. And even though it's not exactly date night, it will allow you to be together and give him some understanding of the pulls on your time. And speaking of date time, in order to give to your offspring, you need to be nourished and your marriage needs attention. Take time for yourself and for the two of you. That is not neglecting your children; it's actually giving to them because after a break, you'll be a better rested, calmer, kinder, more loving and more helpful mom.

Workaholic Husband

Dear Emuna,

My husband is very driven (okay, he's a workaholic!). He has breakfast meetings, lunch meetings, afternoon coffee meetings and dinner meetings. I keep complaining that the kids and I barely see him but to no avail. He won't (can't?) slow down. I'm trying to understand but I'm very frustrated. What do you suggest?

Annoyed Wife

Dear Annoyed,

I'd be frustrated too but perhaps there's more to the story. Is your husband financially successful? And are you benefiting from that? Or, more pointedly, would you be willing to give that up?

Perhaps he's under the impression (mistaken or otherwise) that he's doing it for you, to provide for you and give you the lifestyle you desire. If that's not true, you need to let him know.

You didn't mention if he works for himself or has an employer. Is it his boss who is a slave driver and would you be willing to put up with the stress of a job search or even unemployment to secure a different arrangement? And what about your home? Is it warm and welcoming and comfortable or is there, God forbid, something there that's driving him away? If that's the case you need to examine that issue carefully and seek professional help if necessary.

On the other hand, maybe he's just compulsive. If so, then he (and the two of you) would benefit from the input of a qualified therapist. If he's really never home, it's hard to maintain let alone build a relationship, so don't wait too long to seek help.

And, as always, the biggest source of help is the Almighty Himself. Don't forget to ask Him.

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