A question was posted in a group this week – addressing the leader who has five children, writes, and runs a huge, engaged Facebook group, among other things. The person asked: “How do you do it all?” Have you ever asked someone that? Maybe the thought simply crept across the recesses of your mind.
We often assume other moms were issued super-powers, while we feel average at best. How do they label the matching Tupperware canisters in their pantry with trendy chalkboard stickers, cook organic, homemade, gourmet meals containing ingredients from their own backyard garden, make it to yoga and pilates, and still blog, write, and lead Sunday School? Where is the chink in their armor?
I think a few answers are possible, but let’s get one thing out of the way first. No one is doing it all well all the time – not one woman on earth. Something has got to give. It’s a fact of life. We all have 24 hours in a day, 168 hours in a week. Even if we never slept, we would miss a beat – not to mention how we would border on psychotic from sleep deprivation!
Stuffed to Overflowing
I want to share with you a little sneak peek at a section from my book Slow Down, Mama: Intentional Living in a Hurried World where I talk about what happens when our life hits capacity.
Life happens. Some stages of motherhood require all we have to give and then some. We need to consider our changing capacity during different seasons of life. I’m wondering how you make adjustments for the extra demands you face, for example, when you have a new baby, take up blogging, or add one more extracurricular activity into the family schedule. Life can’t just pedal along as usual when new circumstances and commitments enter the scene. Each change brings additional needs for us to accommodate.
Just as you pack a suitcase for a trip, there comes a point where the bag is full. To cram it only risks it bursting at the seams. At some point, the luggage won’t even close. You must adjust and take something out to make room for what is most important for your trip. Pack well for this trip, friend.
Blindsided or Planned?
Knowing that balls will drop, laundry will pile, and desks will hide under stacks of paper can either give us a bad case of the hives, or a gentle wake-up call. The difference depends on one factor. Yep. Just one.
It boils down to choice.
I’ve had weeks when I looked around at the things that were not able to fit into my days, feeling overwhelmed, behind schedule, and discouraged. It feels so radically different to plan what can wait and what is worthy of my undivided attention. When I make the plan and decide, I feel on top of my A-game regardless of the fact that our supper might consist of blue box macaroni and raw baby carrots.
I chose. That’s the key.
What Made the Cut
Take this week as a case in point. I’m heading to Texas in a little over a week. I have reports due for my part-time job along with some extra tasks they want me to add to my workload. I’m writing this blog post and my weekly letter. I had a sweet meeting with a woman I mentor and have several coaching calls. That’s not even the whole list. It’s a full week.
Here’s what the underbelly of a week like this looks like. I have pots rinsed, but not washed under my sink. They may sit there until Thursday. The stack of papers on my desk (which I shared in my live video on our Encouraging Motherhood Community on Facebook this Monday) will wait for the weekend when I’m devoting time to go through them in an orderly way. We’re eating meals ranging from leftovers to hot dogs and salad this week. Nothing fancy. The physical look of my home is a bit rough around the edges. I decided that had to be let go until Saturday.
I’m prioritizing my commitments to work and people. Something had to give. I chose exactly what that was.
Not the Boss of Me
Many weeks I have time set aside on various days to keep up with more things. I still don’t do it ALL. Plans change. Children have emotional melt-downs – or I do. It’s never neat and tidy. I have to flex. My point here is to remind myself and you that we can either let our week run over us like a combine in a cornfield, or we can stand back, look ahead and choose.
By evaluating our capacity and choosing what will have to wait or be let go, we eliminate much of what weighs us down. We no longer have to wrestle through decision fatigue or face the feeling of lingering tasks haunting us like Scrooge’s specters. When we choose, we are empowering ourselves to determine what matters most and ensuring the priorities get the time and attention they deserve.
Go ahead. Tell this week, “Your not the boss of me,” and take back your power of choice. Decide what can wait. Choose what matters most. Let some things go.
Something’s got to give. You get to say what.