Bandwidth: “The energy or mental capacity required to deal with a situation.” Oxford Living Dictionaries
I don’t need to write about all the different demands on a mom’s time and energy. You already know all about that. You are deep in it every-single-day-of-your-life, just like all of us. After all, you are the person keeping the family going. Sometimes things go along relatively smoothly. Other times, well, things can get a little crazy.
For example, I left the house today to go to an appointment and two blocks from my house I realized that I had automatically started driving to the kids’ school. A few minutes later I made another wrong turn, my inner autopilot taking over once more. This hasn’t happened before. Sure, I’ve opened the pantry and then stared inside wondering what it was I was looking for. Sure, I’ve gone to the grocery store and then couldn’t remember what was on my list. Today was different. Driving around today, I realized, I once again exceeded my bandwidth. The kids had a different schedule because of finals, my husband and son were sick, I had work, yadda yadda, I got thrown off my game.
Let’s face it, we do have limits. The other week, my girlfriend had exceeded her bandwidth after spending all week coordinating nightly sports practice car pools for her three children, who play two sports each. She realized that on the coming Saturday she would have twelve sports games to attend. She adores her children and adores watching sports, and wouldn’t change anything, but still it all pushed her limits.
Often, when we are close to reaching our limit, we are so entrenched in our lives that we don’t even realize what is happening. I may not notice that I am a little bit snappier toward my husband, less patient with my children, that my shoulders are hunched up and my back hurting. Well today, I did realize that I wasn’t functioning at 100% when I spaced out and took two wrong turns.
Does any of this sound familiar? Maybe you’ve had that fried brain feeling? Maybe you’ve taken to napping in the car while waiting for your children? These are some clues your current load is near your limit. There is no shame in this. You are not weak; you are not broken; you just might have too much on your plate.
As a fellow mom, if you have gone past your bandwidth, I hope you will get a break soon. If there is anything you can take off your plate to simplify your day, do it. Do not take on any more responsibilities, not out of guilt, not because you think it would be nice of you. Delegate if you can. Go to bed early. Go for a walk with a friend and tell her about it. You know your bandwidth; you will make it. Mom’s just do.