The other day a colleague was telling me about raising her children in the 1980s. She talked about how the myth of “doing it all” was really being pushed on women at that time. The thing about this conversation is that I was just a little bit confused. You see, I feel like now, more than it any other time in history, women are expected to be able to do everything and be everything to everyone. Especially mom business owners!
All The Things
As a mom business owner here are just some of the roles you play everyday: caretaker, entertainer, doctor/nurse, friend, disciplinarian, therapist, cook, house keeper, CEO, CFO, COO, the list goes on. Oh, and while we’re playing all of these roles, as women we’re also expected to look perfectly, be the correct size, have a smile on our face, (which by the way is adorned with toxin-free makeup, which was applied in a toxin free home) while wearing our perfectly put together outfit that is Fair Trade, organic, and both comfortable and business casual.
My point is that the expectations set forth for women and moms are unrealistic and ridiculous. Now, combine being a mom and woman with being a business owner and it’s easy to feel like throwing in the towel.There is a never ending amount of crap to do every. single. day.
Here’s the thing, and it’s something that took me a long time to learn, something that, in fact, I’m still working on internalizing: not only do you NOT have to do it all, you CANNOT do it all. The idea that we can do it all, and be everything for everyone, not only hurts us mentally by making us feel defeated when things don’t get done or people are disappointed, it also defeats us physically because we exhaust ourselves and burn out (which helps no one by the way).
YOU are Actually in Control—So Take the Reigns
The cool thing about being your own boss is that you have the absolute control over how you spend your days. There is no one else dictating your priorities. You literally have all the power.
So, here are a few things that I’ve been practicing when I feel like I need to do it all:
Decide What You Value MOST
I’m talking about the BIG things here. What are the things that are important to you? For me it is my faith, my family, my health, and my business. If I wasn’t aware of this it would be really easy for me to say yes to things that didn’t uphold what is important in my life. When I make a choice about how I spend my time, it had better support my values. Because, I know (from experience) that I am stressed and grumpy when I make choices that don’t support the parts of my life I value most. I am not a great believer, mom/wife/sister/daughter, or business owner. By being intentional about how I use my time I am in a better space to be more productive with the time I have.
Listen, if we don’t set boundaries around our time and space, something or someone else will dictate how it’s used. That’s just how it works. In order to maintain sanity and make progress with goals we must set boundaries around what’s important to us. If you need to be in bed at night at 9:00pm, so that you can get up early and get work done, then be in bed at 9:00pm. I realize this is easier said than done. Remember, I didn’t say setting boundaries would be easy, I said it is necessary.
It’s OK to Say No
In fact, it is necessary to say no. You cannot say yes to everything and be a functional human being. Others will move on, their lives will not be over, tasks will get done, it will all be ok. Just. Say. No. And…if you’ve already said yes, it’s ok to back out of things that cross your boundaries or don’t align with your values. You will be a happier, healthier person when you honor your boundaries and values.
Your Worth is NOT Dependent on How Much You Get Done
This is a big one for me. Things come up. Life comes up. There is a never ending amount of things that could fill up a list. I’m not a perfect person. You’re not a perfect person. But we are all people, and because of that, worthy and valuable. So, the deal is, that our worth cannot possibly be determined by how many things we do each day.
The expectation that you will get everything done in a day will, inevitably, cause you mental and/or physical distress. Just stop it. What will happen if the dishes don’t get done until the morning? Well…they will get done in the morning…or they won’t…or maybe, just maybe….someone else might take care of them (one can dream). In the end, the world will continue turning. And, even though the dishes might still be dirty in the sink, you will have taken care of what is most important to you, and that is what matters. And you’re still a valuable person.
Be Gentle With Yourself
Ladies, as we enter the final stretch of the holiday season, I would ask you to be gentle with yourself. If you’ve been asked to go to yet another holiday party and would rather stay home and snuggle with your kids, stay home. If you’re setting intentions for the new year, make sure they are set around things that uphold your values, not the values of others. You will be more productive and make more progress in the areas that matter when you take care of yourself and honor your boundaries.
If you’re looking for some strategies to take care of yourself and be more productive in the areas that matter most, check out my FREE Guide “10 Ways to Get More Productive Now”. It’s amazing how so many of the ten items listed in this guide are about taking care of you. You’re your number one asset…treat yourself well.