Ask Rene:
I Need But Where Do I Start?

Hi Rene,

I am a full-time working mother of four children ages, 13, 11, 8 and 6. My husband is wonderful but out of the house for 12-14 hours a day. I find myself becoming overwhelmed, frustrated and short tempered with the kids as a result of the responsiblities of running the house, kids and office. My husband comes home and is “fun daddy” while I feel as if I am nothing but the nag. I was brought up that anything boys can do girls can do. I am not happy. I don’t want my kids to look back on their childhood and think “my mom worked so hard but was never happy”. I just don’t know where to start to let go a little. It’s overwhelming to own your own buisness and have a family. I feel as if I cannot give either one my full attention and eveyone including me suffers. Any suggestions would be extremely helpful.

Signed: Tired Mommy

Hi Tired Mommy:

First, come closer. I’m gonna have you sit right here in the virtual Good Enough Mother World Headquarters (my walk-in closet) and take a load off. Then I’m going to hand you a glass of cold water (or whatever beverage you’d like) and some cold cucumbers to put over your eyes. Then you’re going to sit in there, still, hidden from the family and the world, and you’re going to take care of you, if even just for a few minutes.

Okay that is my virtual prescription and I offer it sort of tongue-in-cheek but you are going to need to do this for yourself.. Yes. This.

You asked for ideas.. so here’s what I would do if I were you.. and STAT!



Creative Commons/ark

We’re gonna start here because this is the most important part. You need to do this for your own mental health and you need him to help you. Sometimes we assume our partners know what we need; after all can’t they SEE?  But he’s busy, too; he might have a lot on his mind and he’s not a mind-reader. So you can’t hold him responsible for knowing what you need unless you lay it out for him.  You need to be VERY clear with words to this effect: I know you work hard on your job and I so appreciate it but I need your help. Then you need to detail what it is you need him to do. Is it split the household duties more evenly, since you both have full-time jobs?

Read more:  Ask Rene: I’m Scared To Tell My Kids They’re Adopted


Creative Commons/Cris Anna Banana

Creative Commons/Cris Anna Banana

I am deadly serious about this. I don’t care where it is, when it is, how much time it is, you have to do this every day. You need to be alone with your thoughts. You need time to rejuvenate and recharge your own batteries. Whether that’s a manicure, a coffee run, time with a neighbor, volunteer work, taking a class  or sitting alone in your car listening to bad 80’s tunes, you have to do this, not just for you but for your family.  It is not selfish; it’s self-preservation and in the end, will help you do all of your jobs better.

Read more:  Ask The Good Enough Guys: In 2013 Will Your Guy Break THIS Habit? (VIDEO)


Creative Commons/ttcopley

Creative Commons/ttcopley

Your kids are old enough to be able to handle an afternoon alone or if you’re worried they won’t listen, hire a babysitter. If you can’t afford a sitter, maybe you could organize some sort of childcare swap where you take the neighbor’s kids for an afternoon and they return the favor. Yes, I am aware that that potentially will turn your four kids into five or more but when you get time off, it will be totally worth it.

Read more:  Single Mom Slice Of Life: Until You Return Again


Creative Commons/Cayusa

Creative Commons/Cayusa

Now here’s where this might get tough for you but from the files of “be careful what you wish for” comes this. If you ask your husband and kids to help you, you also have to help yourself. That means you’re going to have to let go some of the control on certain issues. If you ask your husband to make dinner once a week and that dinner is peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, then so be it. If you need to get away for an overnight trip, don’t worry about what the house or the kids’ hair is going to look like. In other words, you start letting stuff go by just, well, letting it go a little at a time.



And one more thing. Don’t worry so much about your legacy and what your kids will remember. I once interviewed a psychologist back when I had that big gig and said something along those same lines to him. You know what he told me? “The things your kids will remember about you will be the one that didn’t even register with you.” So instead of thinking you’re a big ogre, just do the best you can and tell them that’s what you’re doing. They’ll appreciate and see you as a mom who is human.

And they’ll love you for it.

Now be as good to yourself as you are to everyone else. Good luck, Mommy!

Do you have a question for Rene? She has an answer. Click here and fire away. And don’t forget to follow the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

More from GEM:

Are Women Too Afraid To “Lean In”?