By Kristal Marie
Everywhere you look there are blog posts, Pinterest boards, Facebook groups and Instagram images showing us amazing women who are doing it all. Their homes appear perfectly organized. These women are running successful blogs or small businesses from home while giving incredible advice on organization, child rearing, and time management.
We see these posts and images and think how does she do it all? We begin to believe that we too should be able to go to work, help provide for our family, take care of our home and at the end of the day seduce our husbands and be full of energy.
The reality is, women who “do it all” are mythical figures. Despite this, as women we still fall prey to the delusion that we should somehow be doing it all. We need to realize that no one does it all and perhaps, more importantly, we shouldn’t try to do it all. Here are four reasons why you should never seek to do it all.
1. It’s an Impossible Standard to Meet
The woman who does it all is a myth and all of us are susceptible to buying into it. The images and articles we are bombarded with create a false expectation that a woman can work a full-time high stress/high paying job and be the same kind of wife and mom she would have been without that job. This is an impossible standard to meet. NO ONE can achieve this.
What’s more, this myth exists not just with professional women, but really with all women. Whether you work a full-time job outside of the home or are a stay at home mom, we fall into the trap of thinking that we should somehow be able to do it all, whatever all is. The worst part is that we repeatedly berate ourselves for failing at achieving this unrealistic expectation of perfection.
We need to remind ourselves that those blog posts, Instagram images and Pinterest boards are only showing us their best. It’s a filtered and well-crafted image of “reality.” We need to let go of the idea that we or any other woman can, or is in fact, doing it all.
2. Doing it all is Exhausting
As we put these unreasonable expectations on ourselves of doing it all, we need to ask ourselves why do we want to do it all?
Doing it all is exhausting. After many years working full-time in a successful career as an attorney, I would pick the kids up from day care, come home to make dinner (that is, when were weren’t running through the drive thru on our way to volleyball practice and football games); spend my Saturdays cleaning the house and grocery shopping, all while still trying to fit in serving in the church amongst all the countless other tasks required to maintain a home and family. When I was at work, I was worried about things at home, when I was at home I was worried about things at work. To the outside world, I appeared to be doing it all, but inside I was an exhausted mess. Doing it all is a burden we were never meant to carry. We all need to stop trying.
3. You Need to Do What Fills You up
How many times have you started your day with a mile-long list of tasks you hope to accomplish? When you reached the end of the day and only had a few things crossed off of your list, how did you feel? Frustrated? Discouraged?
Why do you feel this way? Because you have set yourself up for failure, instead of success. When you try to reach an impossible standard of doing it all, discouragement is sure to follow. Beat discouragement by recognizing that you have been created with unique gifts that carry their own unique strengths and weakness.
I am super administrative; if you need someone behind the scenes to organize the bake sale, I’m your girl, but if you ask me to bring beautiful cupcakes to sell, well even if they taste ok they won’t look very pretty. But maybe you are the mom that makes the most amazing organic gourmet cupcakes- by all means bring them to the bake sale and don’t worry about organizing the details. But if you are not that mom that makes great looking (or great tasting) baked goods, its ok to bring store-bought cupcakes and not feel guilty.
4. By Doing Less You Have So Much More
It’s an interesting dynamic, when we stop trying to do it all, we gain so much more. Look at what you may gain when you stop trying to do it all:
You Gain More Meaning in Your Life
What we think about has a tremendous impact on our actions. The first step to stop trying to do it all is believing that you do not have to do it all. When I finally realized something needed to change, things did change. I left my full-time position as an attorney to take a part-time position. My paycheck was a whole lot less, but I was freed up to focus on things that were important to me. I learned to live frugally and we have never gone without anything we really needed. My life has more meaning today than when I was trying to do it all.
You Align Your Life with Your Priorities
I knew my priorities were to have more time with my family, and I was tired of my family suffering because I was busy doing it all. Clearly defining my priorities helped keep my focus. By doing less of what was not in line with my priorities, I gained more of what mattered. How can you clarify what are the must do’s? Write down and order your priorities. Focus on those things you must do instead of what you are not doing.
You Gain More of Who You Are
The woman doing it all is only an illusion. As I shared my struggle to do it all, I realized that we are all struggling in one area or another. No one I talked to, whether a friend who was a stay at home mom or a one who worked outside of the home, was actually doing it all. Stop trying to do what you think everyone else does and be true to your own special gifts. When you stop trying to be someone else, you gain more of who you are.
You Gain Peace and Joy
We spend so much time beating ourselves up for not doing it all. But when you give yourself grace, you realize it’s ok to drop some of the balls you are juggling. In doing so, you gain the joy of peace and contentment with what you are able to do well.
We need to stop trying to do it all. In pursuing the things that fill us up we will be better equipped to help the people around us. When we eliminate the unnecessary stress of trying to do it all, we will naturally be more joyful, and Joy, my friends, is contagious.
What do you think you’ll gain if you stop trying to do it all?
Hi I’m Kristal Marie, I blog at It’s My Favorite Day. I love to inspire others to make each day their favorite day, by simplifying their finances, home and time in order to fill life with those things that truly bring you joy! I would love for you to join my journey to make each day our favorite day!
Peace is so true! If we stop thinking we have to do it all, we can certainly gain so much more peace! Thanks for sharing!
Yes, Brittany, I think greater sense of peace is one of the first things we gain. Thanks for you comment!
Loved this post. I definitely need to listen to it! Haha I think you’re definitely right that by doing less you’re actually doing more!