You may have seen posts trumpeting titles like “how she does it all” or “how to have it all”. Articles that, despite their good intentions, seem to celebrate packed schedules and women who successfully juggle 30 balls in the air at once. This is not one of those posts.
I’d be lying if I told you I hadn’t read these articles before or been tempted by the click bait. These articles are often trying to provide their readers with a tool or insight about how to handle a busy life. What I am finding is that I don’t need more tools, I need better discernment. I am the type of person who is energized and consistently motivated to do every great idea I hear or think up, but I am learning to love that I can’t do everything.
This ‘yes-girl’ wants to embrace and relish opportunities to confidently say no and live life more fully, but a little less full. I recognize that as life continues more commitments will fill our days, and my perspective may change, but here is a plan for today.
So here I am before you, work outside the home mom, thriving young adult, amateur blogger, and loved wife, and this is how I do NOT do it all.
1. Figuring out what I’m good at and enjoy.
Searching for my sweet spot has been the most helpful step towards not doing it all. I have learned that there are some things I am really good at and others I am not, there are some things I love to do and others I loathe. I will always have responsibilities that fall in all areas, but the more I can focus on the things I have natural talent for and that make me happy the easier it is to let things go and the more efficient I can be with my tasks.
2. Practice saying no
Speaking of letting things go. I am learning, slowly al biet, that the only way to focus on my strengths and joys is to be willing to say no. I definitely have a repressed, but constant FOMO. Fear of missing out on great ideas, fun outings, or the latest trend. This fear is what sends me down a tornado of a thousand to-dos, and leaves me doing each thing at 60% rather than being faithful to what I’m called to in this moment. Learning to say no is one of the biggest tricks for this mom who does NOT do it all.
3. Lower my cleanliness standard.
As embarrassing as this is to say, this one isn’t too hard for me. I have chosen to be diligent about the cleaning that will keep me sane, and be okay with the rest. I like to pick up clutter, clean up after dinner, do laundry when there are no more clothes to wear, and be a hospitable host to guest by keeping common areas clean. At the same time, if you come to our house you will notice that the clothes don’t always get put away, the inside of my fridge could use a scrub down, and please don’t take white gloves to our baseboards. Every season looks a little different and we get to choose how we spend our time. With my limited time at home, I choose to let go of the ideal level of cleanliness.
4. Use my spouse.
I would be dishonest if I mentioned our cleaning routine and didn’t let you know about the support team that makes it all possible. I feel blessed with a spouse that steps up and takes on equal responsibility. There are times when he needs me to step up more and vise versa. But most of all, he asks how am doing and often is in better tune with my needs and moods than I am. Now he is not a mind reader, so when I am overwhelmed, worn down, tired, or confused I need to step up and say something and ask for help. In no way do I try to do it all on my own, and I am thankful that my spouse doesn’t let me.
5. Celebrate others
Social media is a great tool, but often it can remind us all the things we are not doing. When I view and hear about wonderful things in other people’s lives, I want to mentally celebrate the experiences of others instead of comparing and burning with jealousy. When I choose to celebrate others, I let go of the pressure to emulate their style, life, or day, and instead slip into my brand of life, in such, wielding the power to my own happiness.
6. Take a day off.
I recently heard the suggestion for young moms to take an entire day for you every other week or weekly take a morning , afternoon, or night for yourself. It is easy to think that this is a lazy or selfish move, but often it is the exact opposite. If I am being real, this one is hard for me. As a work outside the home parent I feel like I spend enough time away from my daughter. I tell myself that I only have one kid, I am not that tired, Anna will be upset, or I don’t need time away. Every person is different, and the amount of time they need is different. Giving myself permission to do something other than work, wife, and mom, that also builds me up, is life-giving for my whole family. We can’t avoid or disregard our basic needs.
7. Just stop in my tracks, and live in the moment.
When something is causing me overwhelming anxiety, I am learning to consider if it is really necessary. I like to use a focus funnel at work and home, does this need to be done? Can this be done more efficiently? Can this be delegated? And can this wait?
I have learned to love and enjoy one moment, one activity, and one memory at a time. To make time to actively work against my multitasking mind and enjoy the moment in front of me, for all of its joys and hardships.
Ultimately this mama realizes that life will change, more balls will be added to juggle, and priorities will change. But here I am today, and this is how I don’t do it all.
I would love to hear about how you do not do it all. Feel free to share your tips in the comments. For more Quick Takes, head over to This Aint the Lyceum!