In this world of Pinterest, Facebook reel highlights, and instagram filters that make everything look flawless, I feel like Moms have lost touch with reality and are scrambling to attain a level of perfection that is unrealistic. Everything handmade and homemade is paraded before us, and Mama guilt is strong! With all the extracurriculars our kiddos are encouraged to be a part of, there’s also a high demand from parents to volunteer – from one small task to an entire season of leading.
Mamas, can we just agree that it’s ok to not be able to do it all?
Perfection is a goal that none of us will reach on earth. Let’s stop running ourselves ragged trying to do it all, to look like we have it together, only to be physically and emotionally depleted when we drag ourselves home to be with our family. This isn’t what life’s about.
Let’s be Can’t Do it All Moms together.
The Can’t Do It All Mom Realizes Saying No is Important
Listen up, Mamas – I’ve learned this lesson the hard way. You absolutely CANNOT pour from an empty cup. If you are giving every last ounce of yourself to saying yes to any and everything out of guilt or obligation – you are doing no favors to anyone. You can’t be your best YOU the world needs if you’ve given out all your reserves to tasks. Even those tasks will suffer as you don’t have the capacity to do them well.
We want to love and serve from a heart overflowing, not from resentment or because we have to. Sometimes, you need to say “no” to that volunteer position or cleaning task to have some time to yourself. That’s OKAY. In fact, it’s more than okay – it’s necessary.
Just like in an airplane, where you have to put your own oxygen mask on first before helping others – self care is vital. Fill up your cup so you have plenty to pour out. Head out to the coffee shop for a couple of hours while your friend or husband watches the kids. Take a warm bubble bath with a book and the door locked. Get up early and just sit and enjoy the silence. Whatever you need – this is your permission to not feel guilty about taking time for yourself. Fill up that cup.
Think about the example you’re setting for your kids. They’re always watching and learning from how we interact with the world. Do they see that everything we agree to do is just a burden and makes us frazzled and unhappy? Or to they see that we have the power to make our own choices, to love and serve others from a place of contentment and overflowing joy, when we take the time to say no to what won’t fit on our plates?
The Can’t Do It All Mom Prioritizes
If homemade, gluten free, sugar free cupcakes are your jam, then by all means, bake on! We all have different gifts, strengths, and priorities, and none are better than the other. But it is important to know YOU and what plays into your unique wiring.
Granted, everything that we do is not going to be the perfect combination of what we want to do and inner fulfillment. Some tasks just have to be done, especially around the house. What we can do, however, is prioritize!
For me, God comes first, then my family. If saying “yes” to something means saying “no” to my top two priorities, it’s a sure “no, thank you.” If something is already on the calendar for that time, or if Saturdays are my family day and it will take away my every Saturday for the next month or two, then I’m not willing to commit to that. However, an occasional Saturday, or part of the day, is worth at least considering.
If what I’m considering doesn’t conflict with my top two priorities, I consider the toll it will take on me. Obviously, doing something I’m not skilled to do takes a lot more energy than doing something I’m passionate about. It doesn’t mean I can’t do it, but I need to consider when this task falls and if I have the resources to complete it well.
It’s also important to remember that saying “yes” doesn’t mean you’re agreeing to do more than you’ve been asked. We often put a lot of pressure on ourselves to make things super detailed and pinterest-worthy, when store bought simplicity will do just as nicely. Keeping things simple will go a long way in preserving your time and energy, while still being able to say “Yes!”
The Can’t Do It All Mom vs. Won’t Do Anything Mom
As you learn to say “No, thank you,” it feels great and empowering to keep things off your plate. We have to be careful not to take it too far in the other direction sometimes, too. Our Mom tribe depends on YOU saying an enthusiastic YES to the things you do well. There is no one just like you, and you have so much to offer. Without your contribution, our tribe is lacking. We can only be a “can’t do it Mom” as we all band together.
Feel free to say no (and say it often and unapologetically!) to the things that burden you because you don’t have the time, skills, or passion. On the other side of this coin, we must learn to sift through all the requests and demands, and grab hold of the ones in your zone with a resounding “YES.”
You can’t do it all, but you CAN do you.
What you CAN (and Should!) Do!
So, now that you’re ready to be a Can’t Do it all Mom with me, where do you start? These are some great things you can and should do as you embrace not being able to do everything.
Use your skills to contribute where you’re strong
Say “yes” to opportunities and tasks that you are passionate about or can do well as your schedule allows. Your strengths are unique, and will benefit everyone around you when you can do them well and from a full cup.
Say no to what overextends you
“No” isn’t a dirty word. Understand your limits, and turn down opportunities that push you close or past them. There are lots of good things in this world that you can do – but they aren’t all great. Especially if it leads to a burnt out, exhausted Mama.
Refuse to feel guilty for having boundaries that protect you and your family
Kiss mom guilt goodbye. The world will not crumble if you bring store bought goodies to the bake sale, or if the laundry sits another day or two. Your health and sanity are super important – even if “Mama guilt” tries to tell you otherwise. (By the way, she’s a liar.)
Lean in to your Mom tribe – you’re better together!
Find your Mama tribe, and trust that each of you doing a little adds up to quite a lot. No one person has to do everything. Learn from other women who have different strengths. Contribute as much as you can where you’re strong. We were made to do life together!
Outsource things in your home that you can’t say no to
Let’s face it – there are some areas you WANT to be a “Can’t do it all” mom, but you can’t. Dishes have to be washed. Bathrooms have to be cleaned. Laundry has to be done. Just because you can’t take a pass on it, doesn’t mean that you personally have to do it. Enlist your family for help – everyone can pitch in and finish so much faster. Or, hire out the task. Having someone come in regularly to deep clean, do the laundry, or watch the kids for an hour or two takes so much pressure off your day to day.
Truthfully, the can’t do it all mom does quite a lot! It’s only when we realize that some things are better simplified, or not on our plate at all, that we can give more in these other areas! If you’re ready to launch into saying “no” with purpose, this next section is for you. Say it with me!
Can’t Do It All Mom Manifesto
I am a GREAT Mom, and I am proud to wear the label of “can’t do it all Mom” like a badge of honor.
Instead of crying into my homemade, DIY, gluten free, sugar free, dye free, taste free cupcakes I am miserably making while having no idea what i’m doing just to make myself look good to my son’s class full of FIVE year olds who couldn’t care less what kind of treat they have, I will happily bring store bought. I am not a slave to pinterest, and I simply do not have the time or energy to care who the Joneses are, much less try to keep up with them.
I am running my own race, with my own set of unique skills and gifts, and I will play into those instead of trying to be something I’m not. “No, thank you” are powerful words in my vocabulary, and I will use it frequently, graciously, and judiciously to turn down obligations and duties that I do not have the time or talents for – even if that means telling these words to myself.
I will not let Mom guilt rule my life, and will instead gratefully and happily enjoy the gifts I have been given in my family and skill set. When I open myself up to be available for the things I love, it allows other Moms do the same, and together, our Mom tribe gets things done like a BOSS, because everyone is jumping in where they are strong. It is not my job to do it all – I simply play my part.
Exhausted and Weary Mama has no place in my life, and I will establish boundaries and stick to them so I can be the best Mama I am capable of being.