Dear Mom, Don’t Do It All

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Dear Mom,

Has anyone ever asked you how you “do it all?” Has anyone ever looked at your life and wondered how, with only 24 hours in a day, you manage to get it all done?

I know, you probably laugh at the notion that you in any way come close to doing it “all.” Don’t those people see the ever-growing mental to-do list? Don’t they know you’ve had a load of laundry sitting in the dryer for a few days? And that you’ve tumbled it a few times with the intention of folding it before bed? Don’t they know it has been, well, longer than you’d like to admit since you made it to the gym? Don’t they know that you bought store-made treats for your child’s last birthday party?

No, they don’t know. Even if they did, that’s okay. Because the truth is, you can’t do it all. No one can do it all. Try as we might, it just isn’t possible.

And those should be words of comfort for you.

Dear Mom, Don't Do It All

Today we often feel that we must have the picture perfect family, land the dream job, maintain a Good Housekeeping-worthy home, cook a five-course meal (that everyone enjoys) each night, pursue hobbies, perfect your short game, run 5Ks for a cause and always look good doing it. I don’t know about you, but I’m tired just reading that statement.

That’s why I encourage you to choose to not live your life as the jack-of-all-trades and master of none. You cannot do it all, nor should you even attempt to. I know you have good intentions behind it all, but sometimes we need to practice saying “no” a bit more often.

Now, I realize there are plenty of things on your task list that are non-negotiables. Yes, the family does need to eat and clothes do need to be washed (until some company invents disposable clothing). But, there are things on that list that don’t have to be done. Like your desire to take up knitting. Sure, it would be nice to take a skein of yarn and magically knot it into a work of art. Yes, you might get some warm fuzzies from the experience, but let that go. Is adding one more thing to your already busy schedule really worth a few warm fuzzies? After all, have you ever heard of Etsy? Why craft your own when there are plenty of artisans willing to sell you their hand-made work?

Dear Mom, Don't Do It All

Consider this: our children are watching. Shoot, with all of their practices, play dates and clubs, our children are unknowing co-conspirators here. Instead of teaching by example that you are capable of doing it all (which you are not), teach them to set priorities. Teach them to make decisions. Teach them that there are consequences to their decisions. In other words, teach them that by choosing one thing, they choose to not do other things. Instead of teaching them to make room for everything, consider how much more they would benefit if they learned to discern and to choose. How much more prepared for adulthood and the workforce would they be if they understood that not everything can be accomplished?

Instead of doing it all, choose to do less. And, tout your decision to your friends. Tweet about kicking back on the couch instead of lamenting your busy weekend schedule. Instagram your ankles crossed in the hammock instead of that Pinterest project you squeezed into your weekend agenda.

Dear Mom, Don't Do It All

Embrace less and breathe more. Be the master of your priorities. Focus on what truly matters and let the rest fall by the way side. Forget about being the Jack-of-all-trades. Let’s face it, Jack is probably a totally stressed out guy. We don’t want to be like him, right?

So, let’s be the Jill-of-intentionality…the Jill-of-focused-living…the Jill-of-living-with-purpose…the Jill-who-knows-how-to-say-no…the Jill-who-makes-time-for-a-hammock.

Comment below and let us know if this was helpful. What can you let go of and do less of? What will you say no to, so you can be the Jill-who-makes-time-for-a-hammock?

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{This article first appeared in The Family Magazine of Michiana.}

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