I was having a conversation with a good friend of mine the other day about seeing other Mom’s doing “all the things” — like literally they seem to have their hand in just about everything. I couldn’t wrap my head around it. I told her, “I just don’t get it. HOW do they do it? HOW do they do ALL the things? HOW do they find the time?”
My girl friend looked at me and said, “It’s not about having enough TIME, it’s about how many things they are signing up for.” I gave her a puzzled look and asked for her to explain more.
“Anyone can sign up to do all the things. They can devote their time to so many other activities and events, but what’s really happening is, it’s not their time that’s not enough, it’s the person themselves. They aren’t dividing their time, their dividing their attention. Let’s say YOU are 100% of a pie and then we add in, mom, wife, friend, small business owner, and that all gets divided — so you it’s like you are giving 25% to each thing. The more you put on your plate the less percentage you are able to give to the other important things in your life. Pretty much what I’m saying is, you need to learn to say no so the more important things in your life don’t suffer.”
I paused for a moment to take in everything she was saying, It made perfect sense. The more things we put on our plate, the less attention we are giving to the other things we already have going on.
We aren’t dividing our time — we are dividing our attention.
Now I know this might spark a little controversy with other Mom’s saying, “So you’re saying we can’t have it all?!” — No…I’m saying that sometimes we need to say no because there are other things in our lives that need our attention. Instead of taking on another project, make sure that the other important things in your life are on a positive path.
Doing ALL the things doesn’t make you a super hero either. That is a hard lesson I’ve needed to learn. It’s okay to say “No” to people. It’s okay to realize that my kids need my full attention right now and adding another thing on my plate would take my attention away from that. It’s also okay to say no to the school things for the kids because I need to help my small business grow. I’m growing this small business BECAUSE of them so of course it’s going to need more attention at times.
Saying “no” is hard for mamas. I get it. I feel like a crappy mom when I have to tell my son I can’t go to his baseball game because I have to work. It’s about finding the happy balance and not dividing our attention into TOO many things, because the next thing you know you’ll be down to 5% — and who benefits from 5%?