On NOT Doing it All
But sometimes what we think we hear within that calling is the push to do more, to be more, and to live more.
Instagram, Pinterest, and blogs often create an idealized version of motherhood, and it can make the most level-headed woman throw her hands in the air and ask "how can she possibly do it all?!"
I know I've asked that question too many times to count when I've read blogs by moms who homeschool their kids in their beautifully decorated home while running a WAHM business and adopting a few kids along the way with their handsomely devoted husband.
Usually I find these Instagram accounts and blog posts when I'm elbow deep in dirty dishes, my youngest is running around pants-less (again), and I've missed another day of homeschooling V (again) because I was up late the night before trying to catch up on grading for the students I never actually see (online.)
Motherhood is a calling.
It can drain you dry or it can fulfill.
Simplifying my home (well, selling it), my schedule and responsibilities, and streamlining my things has helped me to better handle the day to day. But I still struggle to accept that what I feel I should do isn't what I'm actually required to do.
And believe it or not, you actually need rest. Time to be alone and to do something that doesn't involve 1)cooking 2)cleaning 3)entertaining/teaching your kiddos 4)working. But I know how hard it is to actually make that happen.
Most days I'm up by 6am, running around feeding ravenous children, trying to answer emails from students, and catch up on laundry. We homeschool, run errands, try to spend time outside, then it's somehow dinnertime and bedtime for the girls. There are days that I hardly look at the clock until it's 8pm. Then I do one of several things, until I'm too exhausted to continue: grade or answer student emails, write, work on projects.
Many nights I simply want to lay on the couch, watch How I Met Your Mother with my husband, and have a glass of wine. I'm slowly getting better about including downtime, but then there is always more work the next day.
But that's truly the key there: we will always be busy and have responsibilities. The key is to consciously choose to slow down your day, ignore the unimportant, and focus on your priorities.
And that includes yourself.
Remember that those perfect Instagram pictures are only a tiny snapshot of another mother's day. Instagram is not real life, and if I thought posting photos of my dirty laundry would make you feel more at peace about yours, I would do it in a heartbeat.
Because here's the deal:
Motherhood is a calling, but it is not a calling to meet another person's idealistic (and often unrealistic) expectations. There is no perfection in motherhood--absolutely none--so don't hold yourself to an unobtainable standard. Friends, my encouragement to you this week is to find peace with your To Do list and to give yourself some much deserved grace.
And then post a photo of the mountain of laundry on your bed and dirty dishes in your sink to Instagram so we all are on the same page that motherhood is more than just trying to do it all.
If you find yourself agreeing with this, I want you to do two things. First, send this to a friend who would needs to hear this message and secondly, join my new Instagram group Cohesive Home, a community for (aspiring) minimalist families. See you there!