Moms, let’s all admit that we’re good at the busy mom martyrdom game. We love to play the victim of our circumstances.
I suggest you avoid asking me about our family’s schedule anywhere between May through September each year, because I will likely whine/subtly brag about how we have 12 weddings to attend and how nearly every weekend is booked and how I have soooo little time for myself or my own little family. If I’m honest, there is sin—both pride and discontent—woven into my feelings.
Moms, I’m calling you out, myself included.
Let’s stop making excuses, playing victim, and believing half-truths about our busyness. Let’s take accountability for the fact that we are not helpless. Here are a few time management myths I want to shatter for you:
Myth #1: I can do it faster myself.
When you’re in the habit of rushing, it seems necessary to do everything yourself. If you let your preschooler put her shoes on herself, it will take an extra four minutes, and you’re already running late. If you ask your husband to help out with dinner, it’ll take you time anyway because you’ll have to answer his questions about it. Why not just do it yourself?
For a one-time situation, this might make sense. However, for things you do over and over (which, as a mom, is a lot of stuff—anyone else feel like they’re living in that 90s movie Groundhog Day?), it makes sense to let others help.
Hear me: You’re probably going to have to invest some time up front to teach your family how to do things, or allow for things to go a bit more slowly, but the less you personally have to be involved in to keep your home running and your children alive, the better! Let’s be honest—you’ll still be needed and not even close to replaceable. (As in, your puking kid will still choose to wake you in the middle of the night, not your husband.)
Myth #2: Saying no to an outside obligation means I’m letting people down.
I’ve coached tons of incredible women in my life-coaching business who are major self-admitted people pleasers. This isn’t necessarily horrible—God made women to care about others and relationships. It’s why we slave over a homemade birthday gift for someone instead of just buying a case of beer like a man would do.
Part of our problem is believing the myth that we’re letting people down when we say no.
In fact, you’re letting people down when you say yes.
Whoa, paradigm shift.
What do I mean?
When you say yes to that extra project at work, that seventh volunteer commitment at church, etc., you’re saying no to other things, and particularly to the people who matter most to you—your own immediate family.
Myth #3: My days should be balanced.
Women strive for balance because, ultimately, they want to feel better about their lives. Unfortunately, striving for balance often just makes us feel more stressed out and like more of a failure!
Most of your days and weeks won’t be balanced, so give it up, friend.
Now exhale deeply at how good it feels to have that burden lifted off your shoulders.
If you singled out any one day in my life or even a week, it would probably look off-balance. You might see that I spent 11 hours working (Tuesdays) or that I barely did anything productive at all (Sabbath Sundays). By definition, that’s unbalanced.
Let’s focus instead on the large, overarching picture of our lives, because in every day, week, and even season, we will probably be off-balance in some way.
What does this do? Like I said, it removes some of that heavy pressure you’ve been carrying. For example, you can stop deeming yourself a failure if you don’t cram every important thing into each 24-hour period: exercise, quality time with your husband and kids, an hour of quiet time with the Lord, a full workday, 8 hours of sleep, interaction with friends, cleaning, and time to cook a homemade meal. (Oh, and the bento boxes for your kids’ lunches. Definitely need to make those Disney-shaped sandwiches you saw on Pinterest.)
Busy moms, some parting words: Loosen your grip. Allow yourself to receive help, to say no, or to not be perfect. Try it in small doses, and you’ll see that the world doesn’t fall apart. Also, I want you to know that you are doing an amazing job. God is working through you, both your strengths and your imperfections. Give him and give yourself a little more credit.
Diana Kerr is a certified professional life coach. Click here to learn more about Bold, Intentional Life—her group-coaching program for busy, overwhelmed women—open now for enrollment for a limited time.