Having a child was hard for me. Getting pregnant came easy, but the actually delivery not so much. So after losing 3 children I finally conceived my son. And let me tell you, I don’t want to miss a thing in his life. But let’s face it, I do sometimes. Sometimes I’m traveling for work and I can’t be there to put him to sleep or take him to the park. Sometimes I’m working in my nonprofit or speaking to a group of women and I miss his swim classes and his first ferris wheel ride. Am I less of a mom? Is being a mother not my most important role?
Society might say yes. Because society rewards the exhausted, overworked, overcommitted mom as to what good looks like. And we naively wear that like a badge of honor.
Let me give you some examples…
If you have ever commented on what a great multitasker you are or made the statement that you have to multitask, you are guilty of wearing that badge.
If you have ever made the statement I’m busy as if that is somehow tied how important you are or used that as an excuse as to why you don’t have time to do something for yourself, like workout for example, you too my friend wear the badge.
If you have said yes to the extra project at work, to volunteering at church, to serving as a committee lead for the next event at your child’s school, and to being a Chapter President in your women’s organization, you again put on the badge.
But why can’t you be involved in all those things if you really want to?
(I’m not sure we “really want to”, but I’ll save that for another post.)
I’m not saying you can’t. I’m saying you have to be honest about what you say yes to and how you prioritize if you can actually do it.
Here’s what I mean…Are you saying yes because you feel like you have to? Are you saying yes now because it’s tied to another opportunity further down the road? Or are you saying yes because you actually think you can do it all?
Every time you say yes to one thing, you are saying no to something else. You are saying no your marriage, no to the second child, no to your friends, no to yourself. We get really good at saying yes and adding to the list of to-dos, but we’re not so good at balancing that by taking something off the list in turn for saying yes.
Let me ask you something else to help put this together.
Do you only plan family activities after you had added all your work meetings to your agenda? Do you look for a free space in your calendar and then try to squeeze your spouse in? Or maybe even squeeze in a call to a friend?
It’s not that we are trying to do that on purpose, but if we’re truly honest, that’s exactly what it is. We are literally squeezing in the most important aspects of our lives. Because I’m willing to guess that if I asked you what were your top priorities, you would say family, friends, health, but does your calendar reflect that? Does your calendar reflect your most important role?
Mine didn’t. For the longest time, I didn’t prioritize the most important people in my life. And when you add a child to the mix, everyone has an opinion about what motherhood should look like. I had to step back and decide to make my calendar reflect what was important and it was ok that my calendar didn’t look like anybody else’s. My calendar was about me and what I wanted for my life and all the things I wanted for my life, not just what I want for my family, that’s one aspect of who I am.
But people judge…People judged me for my travel, people judged me for my businesses, people judged me for my full-time job. If I did what people thought I should do, I’d live a life of regret and be miserable. Remember one of the 40 things I told you I learned was that expectations are bullshit.
Don’t let what other people think you should be doing dictate what you actually do.
Some of the most beautiful things about being a woman are the strength that we exude, the magnitude of what we can handle, and out innate dignity and grace. Don’t let people take advantage of that. You get to decide what your life and your most important role looks like. You’re not any less of a mother or a woman if you don’t do all the things.
Create your own examples…If you don’t, it ultimately leads to resentment and feelings of failure.
If you never prioritize you and what you want in life, you are also doing your children a disservice. You are showing them that it’s ok to quit when it gets too hard, that your happiness isn’t practical, and that living a life where you get to thrive in your passions is unrealistic.
You are teaching them to settle.
Don’t confuse your most important role with this idea that as a mother, you are now your last priority. You can’t give to your child what you don’t have. You are giving way too much to people you could care less about at the end of the day.
So I’m curious, what would your ideal day look like? How would you spend your time? Be it at work, stay at home mom, whatever…
Can you create that now? Can you start from the place that being a mother is my most important role, now let me plan my calendar?
You can’t ask your kids to slow down, but you can.
And enrollment is now open for Workaholic Uprising. Let me help you live a thriving life that reflects your priorities.
Photo credit: Matthew Brock