It is common knowledge that we, as mothers, wives and homemakers, put incredible pressure on ourselves to “do it all”. It took me almost 10 years of marriage and 8 years as a mum to realise this is not only impossible but completely unnecessary! It’s important to know the size of your plate- how much you can take on- and to adjust accordingly.
“Comparison is the thief of joy.” ~Theodore Roosevelt
This quote has personally been paramount in my journey to realising and accepting the size of my plate; my own capacity as a mum, wife, and overall human being!
I have had friends over the years that somehow manage to work full time, study, raise a family, maintain a vibrant social life, and remain active within their school and church communities! And I used to be very hard on myself that I could NOT do the same. I tried very hard, but it was to my own (and my family’s) detriment. We are all different, and that is not only OK but it is GOOD. It doesn’t make you any less or more of a mother if you choose to go to work, not go to work, study full time, not study, volunteer every week at your children’s school, never have time to volunteer… You know yourself and your family best, and you should not compare yourself to anyone else.
Know your limits
I have learned how important it is to know my limits. If I have an extra busy week or month where I’ve perhaps said yes to too many things, I stop coping well and start to take it out on my family. The stress takes over and I become rather unpleasant to be around! So it is in everybody’s best interests if I don’t try to “do it all”!
I personally enjoy being home and I enjoy seeing blank space on my planner. I need it. I have friends that thrive on being busy! They cope better with life when they have a full schedule. And while I do admire that, I feel comfortable knowing God did not make me that way. He made us all different and gave us different plate sizes too!
Protect your time
When my youngest son was a newborn I was struggling with saying”No” to certain things. It is very hard to say that one tiny word at times and can be more difficult with certain people too. We feel guilty when we think we are letting others down. But a wise friend (who also had a newborn at the time) shared how she had become very protective of her time. Our kids were (and still are!) so young. They need us. And they need their mamas to be OK. Protect your time. Life is so short. Don’t feel bad about saying no. Say that tiny word with confidence.
Prioritise & Delegate
Busy times are sometimes unavoidable. There are things we can do, though, to make busy times more manageable.
Prioritise breaks. Maybe instead of charging ahead with jobs while your kids nap why not have a rest yourself? Read a book, have a cuppa, just take some time out to look after yourself.
Delegate what jobs you can to others. Is your oldest child capable of emptying the dishwasher or some other household chore? Having someone else do even little jobs like that creates space in our busy brains.
Do your jobs well. I have a tendency to jump between jobs and therefore not get any of them done well! If it helps, make a list. Focus on one task at a time, and get it done right the first time.
Finally, be confident in yourself and your decisions. Find and embrace the size of your plate. Your personal capacity. You were made unique and beautiful. God doesn’t make mistakes!