How To Do It All (Without Doing It All)
How To Do It All (Without Doing It All)
Do you often find yourself as a mother feeling overwhelmed? Like as if no matter how much you accomplish in a day, it’s never enough and there is always more to be done? Endless piles of washing that seem to go on and on, dishes that appear to breed, shuffling children from point A to point B several times a day, making lunches, cooking dinner, changing nappies – ah! It never ends!
Sometimes it literally feels like we are being pulled in ten different directions between wanting to meet our children’s needs, partner’s needs, friends and family needs, work needs and then our own somewhere in there too.
As a mother of five, I can definitely relate to all of the above. I used to feel so overwhelmed because of all the things I had to do, that I would often cry at the end of the day because I didn’t know how to manage it all.
You see, growing up, I had always wanted to be a mother. While others aspired to be doctors, hairdressers and mechanics, all I ever wanted to be was a mum. I had a vision in my head of what I wanted to be as a mother and I felt like I was falling short of the mark every day. Even though I had always wanted to be a mum, I never in my wildest dreams ever pictured myself as a mum of five!
Breaking down in tears to my own mother one day, she gave me some very wise advice. “Simone, you had a plan for how you wanted to be as a mother of one, not as a mother of five. It’s ok to change the plan!” It was at that moment I realised firstly my mum was right as usual, and second, if I wanted to shake this feeling of being overwhelmed, I had to change what I was doing.
I’m all for practical solutions and so I’m here today to share my top three tips on how I have learned to manage to do it all (without doing it all) and how you can too.
Mum Tip 1
Imagine the most precious thing you own. It could be something like a special piece of jewellery or even a letter or photograph that means the world to you. Now imagine someone came along and asked you to give them this precious item “just because”. Would you give it to them just to make them happy? Of course not! It’s the most precious thing you own, why would you just give it away for no reason at all?
My first tip is to remind you that your time is valuable. Think of your time as being as valuable as this precious item. It’s time to get real and ask yourself, why are you doing so much? Do you need to be doing everything that you have committed to? Would it matter long term if you just said no?
Your afternoons and weekends do not need to be filled with sport, dancing and birthday parties. It wouldn’t really matter if you didn’t fold the washing today and instead took the kids to the park. Perhaps you could even look at outsourcing jobs around the home if your time could be better spent elsewhere. Say yes to things because you want to not because you feel like you have to.
Always think long term – if it’s not going to matter tomorrow, next week or even a year from now, then let it go.
Mum Tip 2
Do you get offers from other people along the lines of, if you ever need anything, just ask? What do you say to them? Tip number two is encouraging you to say yes more.
I know when people used to offer to help me, I’d smile and say, “it’s ok, I can manage, thank you anyway”. I worried that they might not really mean it when they offered or that I would be putting someone out if they were helping me.
Realising that whenever I made offers to help my friends or even strangers I was always genuine, I had to start believing others were as well.
One day I decided that the extra help would actually be very helpful and I said yes to the offer of a friend dropping my son at school. From here, we then took turns dropping the kids at school so we both got to have an afternoon off here and there. It actually turned out really well!
The funny thing is, we might think we are the only ones feeling overwhelmed when the reality is, we could all use a hand sometimes.
Mum Tip 3
Information overload is very real. Everything from what to feed your kids, making decisions on whether to vaccinate, breast or bottle… and that’s just scratching the surface on parenting-related topics let alone decisions surrounding other areas of your life.
For this reason, my final tip is to pick your battles. It is not humanly possible to navigate through all this information without sacrificing your sanity as a result.
Don’t get hung up on the things you feel you should be doing. Instead, choose what is important to you and put your time and effort into that.
Unfortunately, just because we are mothers, does not mean we get extra hours in our day. We all have the same 24 hours. The trick is to work smarter, not harder.
By putting in to practice the tips mentioned above, I managed to go from feeling overwhelmed and sad to feeling happy, calm and enjoying motherhood again.
Doing it all in my opinion really translates to doing all that you want to do.