I’ve always been the girl that wants to succeed at everything I do. During this chapter of life, the things I choose to invest my energy into are, in no particular order: motherhood, being a devoted wife, my career, spending time with friends, my faith, running or other types of fitness activities, and the seemingly never-ending battle with trying to lose the last X number of pounds. I’m guessing most mamas have a similar list of priorities that they want to not only make time for, but excel at, on a regular basis. But the fact remains that there’s only 24 hours in a day. How do we make time to do it all and do it all well? And where did this idea come from that we’re supposed to be able to do it all, anyway?
If I was chatting with a friend over a cup of coffee (or better yet, a glass of wine) and she told me that she was struggling with trying to successfully balance all of things on a never ending to do list, I would tell her to be kind to herself and cut herself some slack. However, my conversations with myself inside my head don’t sound nearly so kind. My conversations inside my own brain seem to have become a never-ending battle with trying to “do it all” in a limited amount of time.
As moms, we hold ourselves to impossibly high standards. My second daughter was just born in May, and in the days leading up to her birth and in these last few weeks that have followed, my wheels have been constantly spinning about how I’m going to be able to adjust our life so that I can maintain my self-imposed standards of excellence with a new family member in the mix. I’m not yet back to work, so I’m wondering what a second child to care for in the mornings is going to do to my ability to squeeze in my 5:30 a.m. workouts and still get to work on time? How will I fully devote myself to being mama to TWO kiddos but still be fully committed to the professional version of myself when I’m at the office? How can I wrangle two babies at church on Sundays and still get something out of the message from the priest? When will my husband and I find time for our marriage in the midst of life with two kids who need us and two full time jobs?
Perfection is defined as “a quality, trait, or feature of the highest degree of excellence.” Although I tell myself on a regular basis that I shouldn’t expect perfection in my life, it sure seems like the standards I’ve set for myself meet that definition. Maybe it’s time to redefine my idea of perfection in my life. If, at the end of each day, I’ve given 100% to the priorities that were most important to me on that particular day, maybe that’s perfection in itself.
I don’t have all the answers, but when I start to feel overwhelmed about “doing it all,” I remind myself what I would tell a friend. “Be kind to yourself, mama.” From the outside looking in, everyone else thinks you’re rocking it, even when you feel like you’re drowning. Let things go when you can, and learn to prioritize what things can slide a little on any given day. What might take top priority on Monday might be on the bottom of the list on Saturday. My house might be a mess, but a perfectly clean home isn’t on my priority list at this stage in my life. At the end of the day, we’re all doing the very best we can, and that’s perfection in its own right.