At some point along the way I missed the memo that we can’t do it all. Well, or just ignored it entirely because I’m stubborn, who knows. Either way, I started to lose myself as I added more and more to my plate. What my openness about the matter made clear is that so many of you relate. That so many of you also battle to find the balance. That many of you feel as though you’ve lost yourself in the day-to-day shuffle.
We’re all working tirelessly to do our best, kids or no kids. In our own ways, we’re working to reach the goals we’ve established for ourselves while also meeting the expectations of our significant other, children, bosses, coworkers, friends, community, you name it. Responding to e-mails in a timely manner, checking in on loved ones regularly, working out 4 times a week, making a dinner everyone will like, saving money, getting to work on time, having a positive attitude, you get the picture. There’s much to be done and only so much time in a given day.
No wonder we’re stressed and overworked! Why are each of us, in our own way, working to the point of exhaustion to meet the needs, expectations, and goals of so many different people in our lives? We just can’t do it all!
The bigger question is, how do we break the cycle? How do we keep the train moving down the tracks while also making ourselves a priority? How do we learn to say no or not right now and not feel guilty for our decision? How do we become comfortable with life’s imperfections and leaving things off our to do list?
While I am just beginning to embark on this quest to simplify all areas of my life and answer the questions above, what I can tell you is that I am going to be open about my experience. I am going to talk more about the pressure I feel to meet everyone’s needs. I am going to talk about the imbalances I experience and I try to make everyone their own top priority. I am going to talk about being taken advantage of and how to create professional and personal boundaries. I am going to talk about realistic self care. I am going to talk about the good, the bad, the ugly, and the beautiful.
What I hate more than the fact that so many of us are running on empty is that we can’t just be honest about how we’re actually doing. Like it’s a competition to see who can seem the most put together. Instead of creating a space where we can talk openly about the highs and lows of managing a career, motherhood, marriage, household, to do list, etc., we’ve created an unspoken competition to see not only who can keep it together, but how much we can keep together.
At least once a day I wonder how a person I’ve just talked to is actually doing. At least once a day I wish I could tell someone I’ve just spoken to how I’m really doing without worrying about being judged. For whatever reason, it feels like we’ve created a culture of isolation. A culture where we exist in our own bubbles, trying to figure out the exact same thing as the person next to us, but we don’t talk about it. Let’s change that. Let’s be honest about how we’re doing, what we need from other people, and what we want to change. Let’s stop being victims to our lifestyles and turn our lives into the fruitful, joyous, and balanced lives they can be.
I’m not in denial. I know life as a working mom will always have its ups and downs. What I also know is that I’m making it too difficult by taking on anything and everything at 100%. I’m past capacity and I want to simplify in order to keep what needs to be kept on my plate and to feel joyous about what I have decided to manage.
I came into 2018 with the goal of simplifying my life, and while cleaning out closets, losing weight, and prioritizing my family are important, I see the bigger picture now. I hope it’s helpful to read about my experience and I hope you’ll write me on Facebook, Instagram, or via e-mail if there are specific things you’d like me to share or talk about. I also hope that you feel empowered to change your situation or to just tweak things to make it better.
We’ve been sold a false bill of goods. It’s not just that we can’t do it all, but we shouldn’t do it all. I see now that strength comes in one’s ability to say no, to stand up for themselves, and to create their own priorities. There is so much strength in the men and women around me, managing life as best they can, but I also know those people are tired, worn out, and not always content with the life they’re balancing. We can’t do it all and we shouldn’t feel stuck! We can simplify, clarify, and redefine our lives! We can simplify!