Get ideas, freebies, & discounts in your inbox. Sign up for our weekly newsletter:
!-- **************************************** content ****************************************** -->
Home > Everyday Life > Kids > I’ve got a confession

I’ve got a confession

posted by Sarah on June 24, 2013 | print article | e-mail to a friend
1 52 1,318
  • Rosemary ONeill

    Wow. That took giant cojones of steel to post that. I don’t have any words of wisdom, but I just had to step up and say you’re not alone, and that the stuff you do here is very valuable to me. So keep up the great work and know that we’re all in this together. Missed PTA meetings, tight pants, and business deals and all.

    • SarahButtonedUp

      Thanks so much Rosemary for your kind words of encouragement. Definitely no steel in them thar cajones though – that’s for sure!! XO

  • disqus_Jx4vklnzgv

    Maybe get away by yourself for 24 hours in a quiet, non-electronic place. Just a notepad and pen. Get rest, and then think about your priorities. You cannot do it all, all at the same time. Think about your future self 20 years from now: what will you be most sorry if you mess up now? Go from there.

    • SarahButtonedUp

      “You cannot do it all at the same time.” Nothing sums up the dilemma better. I like the idea of unplugging & giving myself the space to think. XO

    • Giuli

      great advice! You said it better than I was going to. I’d add that your first job is growing great adults. Figure out those qualities you want them to grow up having, and just focus on that. (kind, integrity, fun, etc) The rest is just fluff and you can manage when it pops up. They grow very quickly, and be sure to enjoy your moments with them. I think you’re doing great – love all your notes, and newsletters and classes – they show me you are hitting a high mark and don;’t see it.

  • Molly Gold

    Sarah the journey of being a business owner and Mom is ever changing and a juggling act that has a mind of its own. There are seasons of synergy and just as many of chaos and the blessing of that is in your core you “know” what needs to be done versus what you’d like to see done. You will calm the voice that taunts you on however many or few runs you can muster and its there that you can pound out your peace of mind. Those lists will have more focus and your willingness to delegate or delete a logical next step. No two paths or solutions are ever the same and sometimes Plan B is harder than we ever imagined. But the drive and ambition that calls you to create a life you love and succeed while doing it is the same one that will help you scale your mountains messy closet floor, unfolded laundry, too much take out or screen time and more. One day at a time mostly, or barely, Buttoned Up, sounds right on track for every Mom we know =)

    • SarahButtonedUp

      Molly – thank you. Truly XO

  • Jamie Conti

    Wow. This post describes so much of my life and inner turmoil right now. Thanks for sharing your story. Your site frequently inspires me.

    • SarahButtonedUp

      XO and thanks for your comment. Means more to me than you’ll know!

  • eileen marie

    Sarah, you are enough & do enough. You changed my life -just ask my husband! I admire you so very much for the bravery to write this. I think we all question & beat ourselves up this way (especially us women!), and! You’re right -something’s got to give! Sloooow down, do less, delegate more, and take care and LOVE you -we already do!

    • SarahButtonedUp

      Right back at you Eileen. XO

  • Emily

    You’re in a tough situtation and it’s one I know well (my kid is in half-time daycare which allows me to work both my full-time job and my part-time jobs). I’m with him a lot during the day and I work a lot in the very early morning and very late at night. Truly, I get it.

    Since your kids are not yet old enough to fold laundry, I think you need some help. Yes. Hire some help. Think about it this way, if you needed new software for work or a new suit you wouldn’t think twice. So, find a couple hundred bucks and either hire someone to come fold the laundry and clean the house or take your kids to the park/playground/pool so you can have some awake hours with which to think clearly. In my experience, doing a few things will help you get on a better path.
    1. Pick up the house; fold the laundry. Do the things that make your house look ‘good enough’. I’m not talking about deep cleaning; just eliminating the situations that require you make 10,000 mental notes (need to do this, need to do that).
    2. Get some quiet in your head. Go for a long walk or a run. Get outside, raise your heart rate and clear out your brain. Don’t do it because you’re supposed to be training for a half marathon. Do it because you will feel so much better.
    3. Get some quiet in your house. Kids are loud and, bless their hearts, they make it hard to think. Have someone take them to the playground/pool/museum/whatever so you can have some quiet to plan your week/month, make some lists and pull yourself together.
    Once you’re thinking a little more clearly, things should start to come together without so many white knuckles.
    Also, and this is random but recently really helped me. If you haven’t been to see your doctor in a while, it may help to schedule an annual check-up. At my last appointment, I mentioned the craziness in my brain and the doctor suggested changing up my birth control to one that was completely non-hormonal. That has made a world of difference.

    • SarahButtonedUp

      Emily – great advice, thank you. I just called my Dr.

  • Noemi

    Thank you!!! Such healthy honesty is very incouraging! :) :) :)

  • amandalynn

    Sadly I havent got a magic answer.. first step – forgive yourself. Another idea? Freezer meals. Pick 5 recipes and make 3 of each. If you dont kn9w where to start I suggest the “dont panic dinnera in the freezer” books… but if your interested lmk and ill send you a few to try the first round. Xoxo

  • ryamuse

    Yup, this is life. It isn’t buttoned up and pretty, and it won’t ever be. There will be moments of ‘I did enough’ where you get confirmation because your kid handled a situation beautifully and you know you contributed to their ability to do so. But those times where you see the direct link are so much fewer than the times where you actually DID do enough, but all you can see are the things you didn’t do. So trust. Trust that, like all of us, you will make mistakes, and you will not take care of everything. Trust also that the reality of today will change…your kids will be more independent eventually and the conflict between being there as a mom and being there as a career woman won’t be so stark. Trust that you offer great good in the world even if (and actually because) you aren’t doing it perfectly. Sharing the ‘dark secret’ is actually a huge gift you’ve given to the rest of us.
    Here’s my advise:
    1. Remember that ‘perfection is the enemy of good’. When the voices go crazy in your head, remind yourself that you are aiming for good, not perfection. You are aiming for good choices NOT the perfect, right choice.
    2. Look at the present as one chapter of your life. Know that there are different chapters up ahead, and it is ok to have certain activities or endeavors slotted for those latter chapters. When this chapter (mainly defined by having young children) comes to a close, what do you want to make sure you’ve done? How will you know it was successful? I’m not saying focus all your time/energy/thought on your kids – I’d be a worse mom if I did that. But the growth of your children/their childhood is something that is happening now and won’t happen later. So it frames the moment. Decide it is ok to delegate or delay X and Y until that later chapter, so that you can live the values and be the person in your kids’ life that you want to be. :) And remember the starfish story…you might not do everything or do it all right, but what you DO do makes a huge difference.

  • Katy

    Ugh; THANK YOU for putting a voice to what so many of us feel each day!!! Pulled, pushed, pulled, pushed, in so many directions I can’t keep track. And all this questioning!!! I can’t get past it either. I’m ALWAYS wondering if I’m doing the right thing, what the right thing IS, what if I had made different choices in the past, etc.

    I feel you, sister. Sorry I don’t have any good advice…but if any of us find some, we need to share it, STAT.

  • Sam

    For the past few decades, women have been fooled into believing that the optimal life is “having it all” (marriage, children and career) when the truth is that having ALL of those things usually means having a life that is stressed to the max and none of those things is being done optimally. You mentioned your frustration with the fact that women have to choose between a family and career, but that assumes that a woman MUST be a mother. The reality is that motherhood is a choice and more and more women today are realizing that and opting out of it. This article is much appreciated for its brutal honesty and illustrates precisely why many women such as myself are opting to embrace a childfree life.

  • Stacy

    Yes, choose well. We have a motto (acronym) we borrowed from a well-known Christian family and that is Jesus first, Others second, Yourself last (JOY). I’m in my mid forties (with a preschooler and a teenager) and I still have to constantly remind myself of these important things because I can get so distracted. Then my priorities get rearranged in an order they shouldn’t. But when I follow the path of JOY, my mind is clear and focused and I try to put my husband before my children and my children before my desire to work for income related reasons. Hope that helps. You have great stuff here on your site but those closest to you matter more.

    • SarahButtonedUp

      Thanks so much for sharing what works for you Stacy. I truly appreciate it!

  • tanglelocks

    Please be gentle on yourself. I, too, am a stay-at-home mom and have had the same questions. It takes time to adjust and it is okay to slow down a bit, especially when feeling a bit overwhelmed. I don’t have answers, but just wanted to confirm that you are not alone. Don’t compare yourself or situation to what others have done in the past. Do what you think is best for the situation and stand by your convictions. Thank you for sharing your story!

    • SarahButtonedUp

      Comparison is the thief of joy, isn’t it? It’s also a hard habit to break when you’re brought up in a competitive society. Definitely worth meditating on. Thank you.

  • 2xtwinmom

    Thank You for that. Sigh.

  • Eyes

    Take a deep breath – your kids will only be little for a short time! It’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but in a few short years they will be independent and self-sufficient, and you will have plenty of time to spend the way you want. And lower your standards a wee bit; clean clothes don’t have to be folded and stacked neatly – just get them into the kids’ closets somehow so they can get dressed.

    • SarahButtonedUp

      Yes. It is sometimes hard to remember that this life is not a linear trajectory. We do have many “lives” within the larger one — more like sine waves than straight lines. Thanks for the reminder.

  • Lori

    I don’t have any answers, we have all been there, are on our way in or out of that place. Parenting is a blessing, a challenge, a struggle, and a journey. Just take a moment to breathe deeply and give yourself five minutes to be reflective. Choose one (and only ONE) thing that you would like to work on/towards. Be honest with yourself and do the bare minimum to get there….and congratulate yourself for staying true to your commitment, and a job well done. It has been four years since I have worked…I bit the bullet and went back…will I be an expert on day one…NO, and that is okay, as long as I commit to work hard and do my best. You will make it out of this place, just BREATHE.

  • Acorn

    Oh, sweetie…..I’m so there. I think we do this to ourselves no matter what our choices are. Somehow, we internalized some of the mommy wars. We worry that we’re never enough. And here’s the thing. There are days when you won’t be enough. And that’s okay. Really. It’s okay. My kids don’t even THINK of talking to me until I’ve had my morning coffee concoction. They know better. My middle child knows how to make it! My mother has commented on how self-sufficient my children are……it’s a side effect of ignoring them! Free range chickens? Nah…I’ve got free-range KIDS!

    Do your best today. And remember that today’s best is not the same thing as yesterday’s or tomorrow’s, and that’s most certainly ok.

    (And I’m sitting at my computer in my pjs at noon).

  • Chris

    Good for you putting pen to paper on THAT one! You are SO not alone! I had the same issue when my kids were small(three of them, one of me, no spouse, one income, full time work, thankfully) BUT when I got “this way” I had to remember that A) At least I CARE that things may(or may not be) going sideways, B) Pray, C) My kids were healthy, happy & involved and the big one.. ready?? D) I WAS THERE! I worked out of the home for may years when I first had children(back to work the week after my children were each born.. gah!) and it was so stressful LEAVING. Leaving the house in a mess, leaving the house without things we needed in the day, leaving the kids somewhere… arghhhhh! Working from home allowed me to throw in a load of laundry when I had a second, toss dinner in the crock pot when I had another second, go to the kids’ school for an hour to help(which they BEGGED me to do even in middle school.. I know, right?!) and then I had that freedom because I worked from home to work an extra hour later that evening for having been able to be a part of their lives that I’d never had before… If your husband is willing(sounds like you just aren’t asking.. cuz we don’t ;) ) then ask him what he doesn’t mind taking off your plate & that becomes his thing now.. big deal.. he’ll probably be glad to do it now that he knows what IT is! I also had friends who had kids the same age as mine and we have stuck together through thick and thin; now it’s been 23 years and we’re still each other’s sounding boards and thank God for that! You are probably doing just fine but I can tell you the best thing…(next to leaning on your spouse more) is getting organized.. it will help with all the “next days” .. school, sports events, work projects.. holidays… Once you are organized.. each day starts a little less stressfully.. I always had my kids put their school books, gym clothes, etc in their backpacks by their bedroom doors the night before & clothes out & ready. (Since I started so young with them, I don’t think it occurred to them NOT to do it!) Before I went to bed it was so worth it to have all the breakfast stuff out on the table (thanks to my Nana for always having done that!) and on the checklist that runs in my mind all day.. that’s 3 things done! Let us know how it goes! And remember; the fact that you even care… you’re doing better than you think I’ll bet! ;)

  • HTownsend86

    I have a 3 and 4 year old and I’m about to have a new baby in September. I recently had to become a stay at home mom due to some issues finding a decent yet affordable childcare setting. I was constantly beating myself up about cleaning, cooking, working over 40 hrs a week, trying to spend time with my kids. It was literally impossible to do everything right even if your husband pitches in here and there they never quite do things how you want them done and you find yourself doing it over again! It’s overwhelming trying to take care of everyone’s needs and being so darn tired all the time that I forget about my own needs. I feel like being a mom is truly a balancing act. You have to juggle your children’s needs, husband’s needs, the house, projects that you feel need to be done and work. You said it yourself. You have to slow down and focus on what is important right now. You may not get everything done, actually you probably won’t, but you will feel less stressed and your family will be better for it. After all children know when we’re stressed and they really don’t care if there is laundry on your closet floor. lol Doing what is best for you sometimes can be better for everyone. Plus, if you find yourself running around like a mad woman trying to get everything done, take a minute and just laugh at yourself! Is having a picture perfect home really worth the time that you can be spending with your family?

  • Stacey Vulakh

    Thank you.

    Thank you for being honest, brave, courageous, and vulnerable. So many of us ‘buttoned up’ types feel the exact. same. way.


    Bet you’ll sleep like a baby tonight since getting rid of this ton of bricks you’ve been carrying around.

  • Heather

    Sound familiar! I think I drink more coffee though – and I wish we had more places to order take out from. If we did, we probably wouldn’t be eating sandwiches so frequently.

  • Chill

    “And the only way to do less (and still be who I want to be) is to choose well — and to set things up so that others can contribute more meaningfully.”

    Thanks for putting into words the way I feel. First things first… I am learning to forgive myself for not being perfect.

    It’s a challenge! But I’m taking it one day at a time and learning to say no to the things that do not provide meaning. It’s a great opportunity to cultivate independent children. I am a stay-at-home mom and now a full-time student. My children are learning that they are not quite as helpless as they once thought.

  • dee

    No Answers but thank you so much for writing it. You have no idea how many people you just made feel not so alone! !

  • Brandy D

    You’re very brave for sharing. I don’t have a job, I don’t run (or exercise, period, for that matter) & I need my ADD med and Dr Pepper instead of coffee… other than that, your story is my story- and it’s the story for so many other mothers in the world. Hang in there, sister. And thank you for being genuine and keepin’ it real!

  • Kim M

    Honey, you are preaching to the choir! All working mothers are sharing your life in some way or another. I work pt and drive 3 hrs a day picking and dropping off my girls… My house is a disaster! But- the kids get fed everyday and at the end of the day, they will remember more the cuddles we shared rather than the state if my house. Just breathe, girlie! It sucks sometimes, but when we look back at it, will we remember that, or our happy children?

  • Jenny C

    Just saw this quote hanging at summer art camp this week and had to find it once I was home. It totally resonated with me and this mama – work life business.

    Be gentle
    with yourself.
    You are a child of the
    universe, no less than
    the trees and the stars.
    In the noisy confusion
    of life, keep peace in
    your soul.

    (Max Ehrmann)

    It all feels so big sometimes, but it’s good to remember to step back and give ourselves a break and some love!

    My goal for each day:
    8 hours of sleep
    8 cups of water
    8 hugs

    The hugs I just started. The other two are a challenge. Coffee makes me a better mom!
    Thanks for sharing this! Peace Sister!

    • SarahButtonedUp

      OMG – love the hug idea!!

  • Ola Otto

    Sarah, You are so not alone! I’m in a different stage of life right now, at 59, kids grown, living on their own, married and most with kids of their own. PLEASE remember, you WILL get thru this. Many of the suggestions above I totally agree with. Everyone is different, and different things work for different people, and at different times in their life. I could share so very much here, but it’s not really the place for so much detail. Here are a couple of my thoughts that I’d put first and foremost – You simply MUST care for yourself first. Get (i.e., delegate and/or hire) help. Maybe try a “Things You Could Do To Support Me” list for hubby. Be specific. Second – get and read Cheryl Richardson’s book “Extreme Self-Care” (that list I mentioned above is from her). Third, take said book, a new journal and perhaps your brain-dump sheet. Next, GO on that weekend get-a-way – just by yourself (YES, hubby or someone can handle everything and everyone else, unless you are nursing), as suggested early on in the posts below. Take that time to rejuvenate, reflect, and prioritize. Then you WILL be able to move from the massive brain dump into strategies and a schedule that will work for you, for now. Remember this is “for a defined period of time” (thank you, Elizabeth Hagen for that phrase). You give to everyone else and you must give also to yourself. You have so much to offer, and I’m so proud of you for sharing your “story you didn’t want to tell” with us, the public. You are human, and we understand that, since we are too..

    Many Blessings, Ola Otto

  • Bonnie


    You have always been there for us, so it sounds like now we need to be there for you. Many of us have been there, the world flying by…along with your sanity. I do not have the added responsibilities of kiddos, but I have found that I wear too many “hats”.
    Taking off some of those “hats” has made
    me realize I can’t be everything to everyone and I need to learn to delegate. The noise in our head is just added to by technology that has allowed us to available at all times and we get sucked in. I
    have to use just an iPod to work-out because I don’t have the willpower to use my phone and NOT check it.
    Do you know any Mom’s in your community where you could share kid watching duties for a ½ day during the week or maybe put the boys is
    some type of activity where you just drop them off.

    For sure you need to take care of yourself or you will not be any use to your family or your company.

    I have started doing Yoga, it has really helped calm my mind and I believe has helped my overall health.

    Sounds like you need to take some time to make goals, delegate tasks and assign time for yourself and time with your Husband.

  • Sophia

    Thank you for sharing your challenges. A lot of working Moms can relate to it. Yes, it is not easy to juggle all the things we need to do.
    What worked for me: walking outside to reconnect with the power of nature; relaxing massage and when my level of stress reached the top, I concentrate only on my most important relations – my children and my husband. I would arrange a vacation with them (couple days or a week away from home and real life). After the break from real life, I was able to juggle my priorities better and had a lot of new ideas.
    Do not forget to schedule dates with your husband (it works for Irina).

  • amanda

    look up “the flylady”. cheesey, but the system works

  • Alyonka

    You might think this is crazy but my advice is this: Ladies, we need God in our lives, we need His presence to take over our imperfect world and turn it into a beautiful peaceful place. Nothing else will matter as much anymore. Lets stop being super moms and start being abiding moms. If this makes sense to you then listen, if not, ask God to help you understand.

  • Lauren Halagarda

    Thank you for sharing! That took a lot of courage, Sarah. Since you asked, here are my thoughts. I think that you are pretty well versed on methods for getting organized, so I’ll skip that.

    Instead (and contrary to some other advice in the comments), I urge you to focus on yourself. I have been using the airplane analogy to help with this: “Put your own mask on first. Then, you can assist others.”

    0. Give yourself a break! We all go through it. Plus, it is in times of major life change that our organizational systems (seem to) fall apart. Rest, recharge and then tackle it when you are ready.

    1. Make sure you are getting enough sleep. We tend to make poor decisions, are less focused and *feel* worse (more emotional) when we don’t get enough sleep.

    2. Eat right. No, you don’t have to worry about eating perfectly. Try to focus on eating better and eating less crap.

    Try to carve out 30 minutes- 1hour to throw together 1-2 weeks worth of menu items and make a grocery list. Use stuff that’s easy to make and throw in a few easy meals like pizza, take-out, sandwiches, cereal- whatever works for you. When you have all the ingredients on hand, it is sooo much easier to prepare meals AND get other people to help!

    3. Ask for help!!!! This is the one I have the most difficulty with. Ask your friends, family and husband for help AND be specific about what they can do. Don’t think of it as delegating, think of it as their contribution to the health & wealth of the family.

    Hang in there. Things will get better!

    • Chantelle

      Brilliant :)

  • Rockabye Parents

    Oh wow, it’s nice to know I’m not alone! I have been dealing with much of that lately. I’m so focused on caring for my son and making my blog a business success that everything else has fallen by the wayside. My poor DH is very much neglected, but I feel like everything is spinning and I just can’t do it all! Oh, and I get annoyed with my husband but don’t delegate well to him either. I truly know exactly how you feel!

  • Em

    My goodness – I think I just read what goes on in my head every minute of every day as of late. I am new to your website but I am loving it. All I can say is what a wise friend tells me most days, and she is living with the same overactive, over- reflective manic brain as we are – accept that this is the way it is right now, believe that every choice you make, when you make it, is the right choice to make. This helps me – when I am in the process of beating myself up about the choice I made! It was the right choice when I made it. This also reinforces to me that we can take time to make choices, I tend to rush in and then go AAAHHHH!! Heading into the next 40 years of my life I hope to make good choices which will in turn enable me to breath a little more and stress a little less. I think what you are doing right now is fabulous and you have obviously made good choices along the way.
    Take Good care.

  • Kathleen

    Oh Sarah – welcome to the world the rest of us have lived in for a long time! I feel your pain because I have the same pain. I have found it just takes a while to find the balance where you feel like you a doing a good job (not a perfect job) in important areas of your life. Learn to forgive yourself and be sure your family knows you love them – that’s the most important thing. Good luck and keep your fans posted along your journey!

  • Pingback: Help Getting Organized | Get Organized with Organizational Tips from Buttoned Up | The #1 tip for getting through a mid-life-mom-crisis | Buttoned Up

  • Amanda Williamson

    Thank you for your courage in posting this! I’m sure other mothers, working in/out of the home can relate to so much of what you’re saying. Thank you for putting some of my fears and concerns (no matter how irrational they may seem at times) into such an eloquent post. Once again I realize that I’m not alone and there’s other people going through the same thing! Keep it up, thanks for the much needed read.

  • Susan Williams-Göbber

    I’m so glad that I have read this. I have no real words to say how thankful I am that you wrote this all down for little old me :)
    I too have been going crazy these fast months of not knowing if what I’m doing right now is good enough, is the right thing to be doing right now. Asking myself where all my dreams have gone too. Am I enough? Where do I want to be, and how would I have done this or that back when my mind was working.
    Again thanks I feel much better, I now know that it’s normal and I will get through it. (I’ve read your follow up post)

    • SarahButtonedUp

      :) Love that you already know the ending-in-progress! It’s so much better that way. Godspeed with your journey. And the answer for you is: absolutely, positively, yes. You are enough. Keep on keeping on. The mere fact you’re asking these kinds of questions means you’re well on your way. XO

  • passthetapetest

    I know this is old, but I felt compelled to still comment on it. I am only now finding the time to go back and read emails from 18 months ago. Today I finally ‘liked’ your Facebook page and see you haven’t been updating your status in ages. (Like that is really such a terrible thing). But, after noticing that and reading this, I realized maybe it is just the right time to tell you: I appreciate this post. I find it refreshing. Sometimes I take the time to realize that I’m in a similar boat. (Normally, I try hard to ignore the fact). And we’re both (all) still alright :)

You might also like: