Where did the myth come from that women can (and should) have it all? How did the illusion come about that we could, essentially be superwoman? Maybe it’s something to do with the glossy magazines and equally polished social media profiles we see. But we have all seen these images and maybe at times fallen victim to the perception of the ideal mother. These influences have all told us we can have:
A successful career
Daily perfect hair.
A gym honed body, with manicured hands and feet.
A ‘House Beautiful’ worthy home.
Perfectly mannered kids who listen and obey their parents.
Cooking healthy unprocessed foods all year round,
A perfectly understanding husband/partner who allows you to do all the things you want and never disagrees with you…plus he unfailingly does the dishes. Every night. And sweeps the floor. And puts away the laundry.
Just thinking about this list completely drains my energy. To those of you who have managed to do all the above please let me know your secrets, and help a Sister out. But my observation is that the pursuit of perfection is exhausting and damaging.
As I have sought to get to know myself better over the years I have tried to listen more closely to how I felt, and learned to accept my less than perfect life and habits. Having some grace for myself allowed me to to decide what I really needed and wanted from my life.
When the path you want to take in life seems so different to those around you, or those of your family and friends, it can feel incredibly lonely. But take heart in what you’re doing. Seek for the very best for and from yourself and your family. Showing them love and encouragement is the most important thing you can do for them and yourself. Giving them confidence and self belief in who they are and all the wonderful things they could potentially be is a gift that can and should be given from the home.
Improve at Your Own Pace – But Don’t Stop
Now I am a firm believer in bettering oneself. In fact I think it can be a source of pride when you can see yourself improving, overcoming challenges and developing certain aspects of your lives. For example, when I first started my fitness journey I hated it. Waking up at six in the morning seemed like torture at first, but I soon began to realise that if I really wanted to become strong and fit (which I so desperately needed because of chronic back pain), this was the price I had to pay.
AND IT WAS 100% WORTH IT.
Although I know my back pain may be a life long battle, it’s something I know I can manage if I take care of myself.
Now I know some people who are super fit, who work high powered jobs, whose kids do multiple after school activities and do well at school and have wonderful looking homes. These people are great examples of time management and hopefully living at a pace that suits them. But I’m pretty sure they’re not perfect. They do the best that they can. And they prioritise!
Learning to prioritise is a skill and one that we can all do, as a gift to ourselves and our families.
Sometimes life just comes down to the bare necessities
We can’t give top priority to everything. Not only would it drive us to the brink, but it’s impossible to do every task flawlessly and sometimes it’s plain unnecessary to do so. Especially if your drive to do everything so well pushes your family away from you because of your high standards. This is why it’s important to focus on what matters most to you.
Moms – Focus on What Matters Most
Here are my top three tips on helping you to find what’s important to you and focusing on it:
Understand Your Needs
First be really honest with yourself; what do you need in your life right now. It’s so easy to put ourselves last on every list, but I know from personal experience I usually end up worse off for doing that. I am tired, stressed and sometimes in pain (my back pain being a prime example). For you it could be focusing on a career change, spending more time with family, or taking charge of your health. So for me my top two priorities right now are;
1. Strengthening my back.
2. Removing most processed food from my diet – I have a serious love for all things sweet and chocolatey.
Nurturing Your Partner
Second, if you have a partner, it is critical that you invest in them. Just to be clear I don’t believe that it is responsibility to make the other partner happy, they should be working on that themselves. But I believe serving those we love and most importantly showing love and concern to our partners will vastly enhance their happiness and feelings of self worth. This will add to our own sense of wellbeing. My priorities for my husband are;
1. Spending more time together without screens
2. Regular date nights
Children’s Basic Needs
Thirdly, what do your children actually need from you. We have recently made the decision to cut back on the amount of extra curricular activities the kids are doing. This will free up our evenings so that we are only doing things on two nights a week. My biggest battle is time management during the evenings, and I find I never have enough time to do everything I wanted. Like ensuring I listen to them read their books everyday, do their homework and listen to them unwind at the end of the day.
As the children get older I realise I want to spend more time with them at home, especially my son who is fast becoming a man (I sometimes joke he is an old man in a boys body!). I would rather spend my time chatting with him and filling his mind with great stories and conversations than ferrying him around. My oldest daughter on the other hand, thrives on activity, so as time goes by, I may have to revise her schedule. So, my priorities for my children are:
1. Low sugar, low processed foods
2. Spend a small amount of time each day on Reading and Maths
I hope these three tips will help you discover what matters most in your life and encourage you to work towards those precious goals.
These are the things I am working on with myself and my family. Let me know what things you are focusing on in your so you can run your own race. xx