Friday Morning Cups

This picture may seem simple. May seem harmless. Just a book and a cup of tea. Nothing more to see, right? Wrong. Now I don’t expect you to infer what I am about to say, nobody could just from this picture. But that is why I’m saying it. That is why it’s just a simple picture, with a much more powerful caption. Often times this isn’t something that is spoken about beyond the “shtick” that many moms have started to claim. There is nothing wrong with that, but it can be a dangerous line between what is normal and a funny “just a mom thing” and what is needing a little more attention

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Here sits my now cold cup of tea untouched along with my unopened book (that I started a night or two ago and haven’t touched since). If you know me, you know that either of these things being untouched is unheard of. Instead, I have been sitting here in my chair, staring out the window, utterly spent. Trying to recoup what little I have left.

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Motherhood is the most incredible gift that I have ever experienced but it is also a uniquely exhausting and trying time. It is a constant, overwhelming, role and there comes a time (for all of us), when we are just spent. When we have nothing left. When the simplest of things (like drinking a cup of tea or reading) can just sit for hours without being touched. We are not good at asking for help, we are not good at saying that we are overwhelmed, we just keep trying to hold everything together, while seemingly pulling our own selves apart. There is a level of exhaustion that is normal and then there is a level where you may need to talk to someone or need to ask for help.

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Don’t do what I did for a long time. Don’t try and hide how you’re feeling, or pretend like you’ve got it all together. Don’t always put yourself last. Every once in a while (preferably before you feel that last fraying string snap), tell someone. Reach out. Say I need a minute, 5 minutes, an hour (he’ll be ambitious and go for a couple hours if you can). You’ll be better for it. Your spouse will be better for it. Your children will be better for it.

Real Talk : Priorities and Prioritizing

Whether you are a Stay At Home Mom, a Student, a Business Owner, or the Head of a Corporation, we all have a running to do list. A list of things that we have to accomplish or we will not reach our goals. Sometimes that list grows longer and longer and it starts to feel never ending. Some days we feel like we don’t cross anything off, or like there is no way to get it all done. Some days we experience that self doubt of “Can I really do/handle it all?”.

As I said on Monday, there is no such thing as “doing it all”. It is simply not realistic. You can come close, but there is always a sacrifice somewhere. If we can’t “do it all” we have to know what we want to do. What is most important in our day to day. So how do we do that?

The first step is figuring out what is important to you and in what order do those items fall into. For me, being a Wife and then a Mom are my top two most important things. I will choose those two over anything else. Example, if my children are sick and they need my full attention, everything gets shelved for that day. Same with my Husband. The rest of the list falls into line with my business/blog, my job, then myself. I put myself towards the bottom of the list only because I know that if I start to feel burnt out or need a little breather I will take that. Once you have this narrowed down, it is easier to look at your day to day to do list and see what you will need to prioritize for the day.

The second step of prioritizing is saying No. Prioritizing gives you is an easier way to say “NO”. Sometimes we simply cannot do something, but we feel like we have to say yes. There is such a pressure put on us, especially women and especially mothers, that we have to say yes to everything, do everything, and look good doing it (although that’s certainly a topic for another post). I will repeat myself, IT IS NOT POSSIBLE. Wouldn’t you rather spend your time doing things and being with people that are important to you, rather than giving an attempt at balancing a whole bunch of other things that you don’t really truly care about? Say no. If it is going to throw your priority list out of whack, or it doesn’t fit in with your list, and you don’t absolutely have to do it (i.e. a job or task for work), say no.

What are your priorities and how do you prioritize to make sure you feel like you are handling everything you want to handle?

How Do I Do It All?

I get asked quite frequently how I manage to do everything. I am definitely not the busiest person out there, but I do juggle several different things between family, work, business, and personal goals. With all of this, it means that my time can, at times, be very “tied up”. A lot of times, people take one look at what I do, or my to do list, and look at me like I’ve lost my mind. Cue: “How do you do it all?”

Here’s the grand secret for you: I don’t.

There comes a time where we all realize that we cannot “do it all”. Anyone who tells you that they are, is more than likely either lying, or very very stressed out and tired. **I want to say, there may be a point where you realize that things you thought you wanted are either not what you want or not possible at this time of your life. In this case, you may feel like you are “doing it all” and in that case it may be accurate for you.** If I ever say I “do it all”, if those words are ever uttered out of my mouth, I need to be put back in my place.

First off, I have help. I have an incredible husband who does more than he sometimes gets credit for and is such a help. He will help clean up the kitchen after dinner, does bath time and bed time with the kids and most evenings will take over the bulk of playing with them, so I can get a bit of peace. Weekends are time for all four of us to be together and get some family time in and our weeks are structured so that we can successfully do that. Responsibilities are no joke.

Second, is a thing called prioritizing. I will be going more into this later this week, but it is a big part of getting close to “doing it all”. Every day I have to look through what I want to accomplish and be realistic. Some days I don’t manage to cross everything off, other days I do. At the start of the day, I write down everything on my to do list. Once my list is down on paper, I am able to pinpoint what my most important items are. What are the “emergency” must do things, and what can wait another day. This is ESSENTIAL.

If we look at our days in a realistic sense, there is only so much that we can do. We HAVE to be able to “give up” things, say no when we can’t give our all to something. It is better to do only a couple of things a day, but to do them well, rather than try and cross everything off, but only doing those things half way. I’ll be talking more about prioritizing on Wednesday.

Basically at the end of the day- I don’t do it all. I prioritize, schedule, and say no when I simply cannot do something.

What Motivates Me

*Please note- I don’t “do it all”. Most days I do what I can and simply let the rest go. Some days I don’t even end up getting that far. I’ve been on both sides and while I don’t have all of my $h** together, I try to at least do what I can do. This post is talking about what motivates me to do what I CAN do rather than how I “do it all”. *

A lot of times I get asked- “How do I do it?”. Balancing life, work, children, a home, etc is a lot. How do you manage? To start with, I don’t always, BUT if we want to go down that road…

While that is an excellent question and a good topic to talk on in the future; the more important question that should be asked is WHY do I do it? Why get up so early? Why keep everything tidy? Why get yourself ready every morning, even if you are not leaving the house? WHY????

To answer this question, you must look at one thing:

WHAT MOTIVATES YOU? What drives YOU to do what you do? EVERYONE has a lot going on in their lives and a balancing act is essential to anyone’s life. What is different for each person is not how that person does it, but why. Pinpointing this fact will help keep everything in perspective when you are trying to balance things (it may even end up helping you cut down some things that you do that aren’t “necessary” to your own balancing act).

For me,

  • I do it for my kids who deserve a mother who is at her best both mentally and physically.
  • I do it for my husband who works so hard, with long hours everyday, and doesn’t need to come home to a dirty home and whole bunch of other tasks. * Not to say that he doesn’t do anything at home- he helps out A LOT, but if I can take some of that strain off of him, I will.
  • Most importantly, I do it for myself. In order for me to be at my best and to take care of everyone I need to take care of myself. There are things that I like to do and get done throughout the day to keep both myself and my family running smoothly.

When you think about what motivates you, the why you do it suddenly becomes clear.

Why, you may still ask? I do what I do because I want to be at my personal best to be the best for myself and my family (and by extension my friends, my work, my business).

Being able to see my husband able to come home and simply relax after a long day, or my children having free reign of a clean house, or for me being able to sink into my chair with a book and a cup of tea- everything else becomes totally worth it.

It also helps me keep things into perspective with my own balancing act and really helps on those days when I feel like I don’t have anything “together”.

So, before you ask Why, think What Motivates You?