Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV)
How do you do it all?
I get asked this question a lot: “How do you do it all as a Full-Time Mom, a Wife, a Financial Advisor, and now an Author?”
Short answer: I don’t do it all and I ask for help when needed. GASP.
There’s a stigma in our culture today with admitting that we’re human and we need help. The need to be super woman is a terrible burden that we moms often place on our shoulders. It’s a heavy burden we were never supposed to carry. I’ve really struggled with this over the years. However, I’ve come a long way in finding balance in my own life, so now I want to encourage other moms to do so as well.
Through scripture, I’ve discovered that embracing my identity in Christ allows me to live freely as God designed me to do. What would happen as a culture if we all stopped and said, “I am enough. The way God made me and uniquely designed me isn’t an accident. I don’t have to strive to be someone I was never meant to be.”
Comparing ourselves to other moms is a slippery slope. For example, I truly admire many of my friends who are able to homeschool their children. If I choose to compare myself to the women who are able to do this so well and with such grace, I’ll start to truly doubt myself and begin to stumble. My lovely neighbor is one of these graceful mothers of six children.
One afternoon, I was driving home with my son. We had just been out for a date to Starbuck’s and to our local bookstore. I was very happy about the quality time he and I had just spent together.
Then we ran into my neighbor and her six children before we got home. I thought they were all taking a family walk. When I rolled down the window to ask how they were doing and where they were going, my friend excitedly announced, “We are going to measure out 300 cubits, which was the actual size of Noah’s ark. It truly is amazing to see how large the ark was.”
All I could think was, She is so amazing. She is definitely a better mother than I am. This makes my outing to Starbuck’s and the bookstore seem really trivial. I never even thought to measure out the ark. That thought has literally never entered my mind. How does she even come up with this stuff to do with her kids? Sigh.
The reality is that God has not equipped me, nor called me, to homeschool my children. My children attend a wonderful school that has become a very special community of close friends for our entire family. I also view the teachers at my children’s school as partners. I have chosen to enroll my children in a Christian school.
Please understand that I am in no way shaming parents who have children in other types of school. There are no right answers for everyone. We all have to do what is best for our family and bloom where God has uniquely planted us.
Jen Hatmaker talks about how we can view our lives as a balance beam in her new book called, For the Love. An Activity that is life giving, enjoyable, and part of your unique gift mix is on the balance beam or simply: on the beam.
On the other hand, an activity that is not life giving for you and your family, and not part of your skill set is: off the beam. Being a homeroom mom at my children’s school is totally off the beam for me. Making crafts and decorating school doors for holidays, while passing out forms to parents to sign up for the PTO, gives me anxiety just thinking about it.
However, I am so eternally grateful for the women who are gifted in this area. As a result, I will joyfully bring whatever food, present, etc. they assign to me so I can help and serve them. I am an Indian and not a Chief in the world of the PTO (Parent Teacher Organization.)
I personally have found balance by being self-employed. I do not have a boss to report to every day that is asking me how I am spending my time. However, I also do not have any employees to help me out. There is a trade off.
I try to get most of my work done while my children are at school. The children always come first. I do not apologize for this. They are only going to be young once, and I do not want to miss out or have regrets. Sometimes I have to finish my work at odd hours because I chose to attend a school play, activity, or another event with my children during my normal office hours.
This is the beauty of being the boss. I am the President, CEO, and the one who takes out the trash. I do it all. It is not unusual for me to be returning client phone calls and emails, writing a blog, or working on a book related project after 8pm when my children are in bed. I just watch less television at night, which I see as a good thing.
I also have a home office. I can literally walk across my living room in my pajamas and be at work. However, my home office is not a spare bedroom upstairs. It is a very professional and beautiful space where I am not embarrassed to host client meetings and other professional events. The best part about working from home is the incredible amount of time I save not commuting from home to work. Everything I need is all in one place.
Another best practice I have adopted is to have one master calendar for the entire family. Each family member has a unique color so I can easily see who has to be where and at what time. The calendar is electronic and I can manage it from my phone or my computer. Every business meeting I have, every social engagement, any child’s birthday party, business trip, vacation, school activity, doctor’s appointment, Bible study group meeting, or family event is all on the same calendar.
If my daughter is in a school play at 9am on a Wednesday morning, her school play is on the calendar as an appointment. I never agree to any business meeting or social engagement for myself, or my children, without first consulting my calendar. This strategy allows me to avoid overextending myself and the embarrassment and stress that results from accidentally double-booking.
No one thinks twice if a banker or any other professional has a secretary. However if a mom hires someone to help her manage her home, she can be labeled spoiled or lazy. Do not fall into this trap. Let’s decide today to not feel guilty for admitting I cannot do it all every day.
Help can come from someone you pay to help you if you can afford it, or simply a friend, fellow mom, neighbor, or extended family member. Let’s be a friend that shows up and helps when needed. I am blessed to have a community of friends and family members that lean on one another. We all occasionally share carpools, watch each other’s kids, or bring a meal to one another if needed.
Building a community of support for you and your family is essential to your well-being and your sanity.
I would love to start a dialogue with moms and hear how you too have found balance in your life. I think we all have so much to learn from one another.
What ideas or systems have you implemented that have really helped you get organized or streamline your schedule?
Please share with us!