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Oh, the pressures on mom to do everything and be everything is great. In fact, sometimes it can be downright overwhelming at times.
Sometimes it’s a matter of there being so many things we CAN do that we feel we OUGHT to do them. Or that there’s so much that NEEDS to be done that WE ought to be the ones to do them.
We often try so hard to do it all, or at least a lot more than we are doing. And can feel like we fall short when we can’t.
I had an experience once that taught me a huge lesson on this, one that I think can help you as well.
Years ago I had a friend who was going through a pretty rough divorce. She had several kids, from teenagers down to little ones. She had to go to divorce court one day and I wanted so badly to make something nice for them, something fun that she could take home to her kids. The thing was the court was about 2 hours north of where I lived, and her kids were at home with grandma which was another hour or so north of that. I decided I would make cinnamon rolls and take them to the courthouse to give to her as soon as the meeting was done so she could have a pan of fresh cinnamon rolls to take home to her kids.
Well, the thing was, cinnamon rolls weren’t my thing. I didn’t feel very confident in making them, and it was super stressful to try to remember how to make them and how to make them just right. I wanted them to be nice! I fussed around the kitchen trying to hurry, grumped at my kids here and there, and hurried as best as I could so I could get on the road to drive the two hours to go deliver them before she left the courthouse. My husband would be home with the kids.
The cinnamon rolls took longer than I expected to rise, but I finally got them done and was on my way. They even turned out good! Unfortunately, I got there just shortly after she had left, but another friend was still there so I gave her the pan to take home to her. Mission accomplished.
I then drove home, letting the rush of the day start to flow away from me. I kept thinking that I should feel pretty good about myself, that I had just done something really nice!
But for some odd reason, all I could feel was – pretty much nothing. Emptiness. No happiness, no joy, no satisfaction. It honestly felt kind of like a barren desert in my heart. I thought that was the oddest thing! After a good while of trying to figure this out, I prayed out loud and asked, “I should feel pretty good about myself right now. I just did a really nice thing! Why do I feel so blah?”
Then words came to my mind that were gentle but super clear, “Thank you for your service today. But that’s not where I needed you.”
Ugh. Right to the heart.
It WAS a good thing I had done. It WAS a nice thing. I WAS serving and helping someone else. BUT it’s not where I needed to be that day.
My mind immediately went to my kids at home, and I saw how I had pretty much pushed them aside while I was trying to serve my neighbor. The Lord needed me at home with my kids that day. I’m not sure what I would have done instead of making cinnamon rolls. Who knows, it could have been reading to the kids, or even cleaning the toilet.
The lesson I learned was this. While there are soooo many good things I could be doing, I don’t have to do them all. I shouldn’t try to. It was so completely freeing to me to really begin to realize that all I needed to do was what he needed me to do. And that’s it.
That right there totally takes off the ‘pressure’ of all the things I ‘should’ be doing. It reduces the pull of those things and puts the focus on the things that truly matter. It makes it super ok to say no to things.
So how do you do it all as a mom? You don’t.
Neither do you have to. Neither should you try.
Your job really is this, to get good at discerning what things are most important to do that day, and do those things. Seeking guidance as you go. Letting go of the things that don’t end up on the ‘most important’ list, and not letting yourself feel guilty for all the things you ‘aren’t’ doing. Let them go.
It really is freeing once you begin to trust that guidance that comes. It removes the guilt that can sometimes come when we think of all that we ‘should’ be doing. And fills your heart with peace knowing that you’re where you really ought to be. That peace is priceless.
So what’s the secret to doing it all as a mom? The secret is, you don’t have to.
Related Post: How to Get More Things Done as a Mom