The Myth of Doing it All

Very often, people ask me how ‘I do it all’. And I tell them, I don’t do it all, no one does. People make comments to me like, “You’re superwoman” or other nonsense, which I really dislike. Why? Because there is no such thing as superwoman, and any time someone says that, it means they aren’t seeing who you really are. The reason I think that people say things like that is they see something that a person does, and they then superimpose their life onto that person, so they imagine that another mom not only does everything they themselves need to do in their own lives, but all of the other things that they see her accomplishing as well. The danger in seeing things from a distance is it isn’t accurate or realistic.

But that doesn’t mean you need to give up your dream of what you want to accomplish or who you want to be. Not at all. What it does mean is that you need to clarify for yourself what it is that you really want. I accomplish many things in the course of a week that are meaningful to me, which leaves me with a great sense of accomplishment. If I were trying to do what I thought I was “supposed” to do, instead of what really mattered to me, I’d probably feel I was always running behind, feeling I’d never be able to keep up or be good enough.

You can’t do everything, but you can do all of the things that are important to you, and do them well, if you are honest about what you really want, and then prioritize your time accordingly. For example, my main priorities are homeschooling my children, parenting them well, making my home a nurturing place for us all, having a great relationship with my husband, and running my business. These are all things that I block out time for, because they are priorities to me.

Here are a couple of examples of how these things play out for me. Homeschooling my children means putting time into my schedule first thing in the day, time to work with them on academics. If I didn’t prioritize this, I could easily end up often not getting around to it, since there are so many other things that need to be done. I don’t take or make phone calls until early afternoon, my time before then is just for my kids. It doesn’t mean that we don’t spend time together during the later part of the day, but we can all relax later in the day, knowing we’ve accomplished our academic goals and they aren’t being compromised by anything else. Later in the day is the time for other activities, errands, work on the house, or trips.

Making my home a nurturing place means that I take the time to think about what a nurturing home means to me, and then plan the steps to accomplish that. For me, that means that things are basically orderly most of the time, there are tasty meals on a regular schedule, and there is a relaxed atmosphere in the home. So I make sure I have a weekly menu plan, have regular chores assigned to my children, and we work together when it’s time for chores. In this way, everything gets done without it all falling on one person, and there isn’t a feeling of one person having to work while everyone else does what they want. I keep this goal in mind when I spend all day out of the home on a trip, and try to plan accordingly. For example, tomorrow I will be going to a neighboring state for my big shopping day. So today I will think about how to be sure that we have appropriate food to take for lunch, and how to have a hot meal ready (or quickly readied) when I get home. Otherwise, a day like that would be a big stress for us all and affect my primary goals.

When you think you see someone who is just amazing as to how she does everything, she may in fact be really good about organizing her time. And it would be a good idea to ask her how she does it, and see if the principles she uses are ones you can effectively adapt for yourself. I love hearing the tips effective people use in their lives. But don’t make the mistake of putting her on a pedestal. We can (and should) respect others who are living the kind of lives they want to live, but never let it affect how you view yourself. What other people do doesn’t make you more or less than the person you are. There’s no benefit in comparing yourself to anyone.

Remember – doing it all is simply a myth.


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