Have you ever watched someone in your life, or even a blogger online, that just seemed to have it all together? And every time you see them, or read their posts, you just feel more and more inadequate. The thought “if they can do it, then why can’t I?” is spinning around and around in your head.
Well for a long time I followed a blogger just like that. When you would ask her how she did it all, she would simply say she doesn’t or tell you, “we all have 24 hours in our day.” My husband would always tell me, “there is something she is not telling you”. But in my heart I just felt like I was failing.
Finally, little by little after following her for many years, the truth began to surface. My husband was right (as much as I hate to admit that :)), she was indeed hiding a lot of the truth. Since then I have learned a lot about “getting it all done”.
Now she was right, we do all have 24 hours in a day, and if you try to schedule them all you will find yourself burnt out and probably sick.
The truth is the only way you can “get it ALL done”, is if you change your definition of all and change the you to a we. I found this out the hard way, through a lot of illness, but I want you to know there is hope. And I am here to give you some tips, not to get it all done, but to find a balance in your life that you find acceptable and build on it.
Listen, life ebbs and flows; there is no constant. What works for one season of life will not work in another. Oh yeah and Grace… LOTS of Grace.
In a society of Superwomen and Supermodels we are all struggling to measure up. The truth is we will never live up to these ideals. And we have to stop perpetuating the fallacy that we can. But to do that we have to be willing to be the first, and maybe the only one, to stand up and say “I CAN’T do it all”. It’s going to take time to tear down the ideals this society has placed on us. But it starts with us, it starts with our girls.
But, how do we find balance? For me it all begins with priorities. Take a moment (or an afternoon) and write down all of your priorities. Now number them by importance. This is hard for some of us, because we feel like it’s all important, but do your best. Pray about it. Let the Lord speak to your heart. What is really going to be important 5 years or 10 years down the road? Now depending on where you are in life, but especially if you are raising kids, circle the top 3 to 5 categories. From now on those are the things you say yes to.
You have to understand that when you say yes to one thing, you are saying no to something else and often times it’s our sanity we are saying no to.
If one of your top priorities is raising your kids, then write down what that encompasses. What does that mean to you? Is it really important to make each of your kids sandwiches look like a monster every day? Now you may say, “yes, it makes them happy”. I am sure it does, but wouldn’t they rather spend that 15mins a day with you. I mean totally with you. Maybe you could practice soccer with him instead and have some meaningful dialog in that same 15 mins. a day. Would that fill his emotional tank more than the monster sandwich? You can still make him his favorite kind of sandwich, but a 10 second note telling him you love him will make him feel just as loved.
I think we go crazy as moms trying to meet these non-important needs of our kids and miss the big picture. Our lives are filled with Instagram and Facebook photos of the perfect outfit for picture day, and of well maintained lawns. But would it really matter what your kids were wearing in that photo 5 years from now? Do they remember all the fuss over their outfits or do they remember the memories? Are we really doing it for them or are we doing it for us, or maybe worse for everyone else? Now listen, I was that mom and I am in no way judging you. My purpose is to share the wisdom that took me 17 years of parenting to accumulate. And a hope that I can save just one of you from walking the life of illness I have created for myself trying to become the perfect mom.
We need to walk away from the Pinterest perfect lives and search ourselves for what really matters. Our kids do want a Paw Patrol party, but do THEY really care if it’s a Pinterest Perfect Party? Are you seeing the difference? When they grow up what will they remember about that party? Probably that you loved him enough to make it happen, his friends and family, maybe that special present he got. But he is not going to remember the handmade invitations you sent, or the matching tablecloth that you stayed up all night sewing. He may remember that cake you made him, but again he will just remember that you made it, even if it’s not perfect. He would probably rather make a memory creating that cake with you than having a stressed out mom making a 3 tiered cake and rolling out fondant all night.
And moms, we need to take care of ourselves. Yeah that needs to be one of those priorities because no one wants a burnt out mom or wife.
If you haven’t gotten it yet, hear it now. Your family wants you. All of you. And those details that seem to look so important, they just aren’t. Feed them, love them, show them how important they are to you, even if there is no Instagram worthy photo to go with it. Because one day they will look back, not at your Facebook feed, but on the memories you made together.