Do you ever sit and wonder how she does it all?
How she maintains the cutest Instagram feed, a thriving marriage, and a business that helps provide for her family?
What this proverbial “she” is not telling you, or talking about though, is that she has a secret.
Her secret is that she isn’t actually doing it all.
I remember entering motherhood and being very achievement-oriented.
I immediately began adding all sorts of things to my daily to-do list. Dishes, laundry, cooking, DIY’s, blogging (because are you even a real Millenial mom without a blog?), shower, properly manicured hair and nails – all of it. Holy crap, I was exhausted. The list never ended. It seemed at every turn, at every new developmental stage for my child, that there were 30 more things and expectations of things to be accomplished by me on the home-front.
I was on a one-way path to burnout and my ship was sinking quickly.
It was during this time that a few friends started to let me in behind their scenes as I confessed my struggles at home with the mounting pressures. In these conversations, I started to discover that these moms all had help – in some form or another. That was their secret! They weren’t talking about it much publicly, but they all had help.
Through many conversations after this moment, interviewing multiple women in various stages of motherhood, I started to see a pattern of three things that were critical to the success of women who seemingly had it all together, at minimum their mental health.
3 Secrets to a Successful Mom
1 Outsource it
The best lesson that Anna and Elsa ever taught us was to simply Let it Go.
Sister, you have got to get comfortable with outsourcing SOME things in your life. Whether that is childcare (to a friend, to a family member, etc), or meal planning (so many boxed meal planning delivery services out there), your dry cleaning, errands, laundry folding (hi! children are cheap labor!), you have got to start giving yourself permission to outsource various tasks.
The point of your life is to spend time with the people, not the tasks. The tension comes when obviously there are just things that HAVE to get done. But nowhere in the manual does it say that you are responsible for them all. Sit down with your partner, re-evaluate your division of jobs within the family, determine what can be shoved off your plate because outsourcing will give you freedom and margin to do the things that you want to do, and are good at, instead of just the things that are required for life all of the time.
One of my favorite personal growth gurus is Jenna Kutcher and although her focus is primarily social media, her concept of batching your work has been a game changer for me. Do all of the laundry at once, plan out all of the social media posts at once (I use the Plann app), talk logistics with my husband for our week’s schedule on one night, etc. You know that feeling where your brain has one million open tabs in it and you feel like you’re being pulled in a million different directions, and thus aren’t even sure where to start or how to tackle the mound of things on your to-do? Batching work helps give your brain space to combat this! Look, there’s A LOT with three kid schedules to manage, plus a household, and endless volunteer, so let’s start working smarter not harder in our day to day. I can’t recommend BATCHING YOUR WORK more. My everyday level of stress and anxiety has reduced TREMENDOUSLY by doing this.
2 Invest in Yourself
Self-care, self-care, self-care. You are worth it, worth it, worth it. I will say it over and over again until the cows come home. It is INSANE to me how many women I come across who tell me things like, “I haven’t had an hour to myself in months” or “I’m just too busy to work out” or haven’t left the house for a girls night in months because of scheduling conflicts with your partner.
Girl, you have got to stop prioritizing everyone else’s needs consistently ABOVE yours. There will be none of yourself left to give to those that you love, if you don’t invest in yourself. Exercise, personal growth conferences/seminars, counseling, girls getaways, consistent quiet times, a hobby, a new skill, WHATEVER IT IS, you cannot operate out of an empty tank, and hope to also be the woman long term that I know you want to be.
Give yourself permission to prioritize your needs. Get rid of any guilt that comes along with taking time out for yourself and throw it in the trash. You don’t want your little girl, or your son for that matter, to see a model of someone they love, never taking time to rest and invest in the things that help YOU come alive. Your purpose is much greater than, and bigger than being a mom. This is a season of your life and a true high calling. But it is not the sum of who you are. Yes, being a mom is a sacrifice, but you do not need to sacrifice everything for their benefit. Your world does not revolve around them and they need to see mom take care of mom because she is important.
Start taking care of yourself in small ways, so that you have the stamina and endurance to run this race of motherhood well. It is a marathon, not a sprint so care for yourself along the way; you’re worth it.
3 It Takes a Village – Find Your People
To be successful, you must find your people.
Good Lord, where would I be without my friends? This journey was not meant to be walked alone, and you are going to need hands to hold, shoulders to lean on, and girlfriends to text and call. If you aren’t sure how to go about finding these said “people” stay tuned as I’m going to have a whole series on developing community, but ultimately you have got to let people in to help you. Community is going to be so key in making it to the finish line of child-rearing. What this is going to be mean too is that you’re going to have to put yourself out there. Be a builder, create opportunities for you to connect and see what friendships rise to the surface.
Take the time to be with your people – which means you’ll have to be intentional about it. Invites don’t typically just fall in your lap. Schedule crappy dinner parties, arrange for carpool situations to help one another out. Work smarter, not harder, by utilizing your people.
To be a successful mom has nothing to do with measuring the outcomes of your children’s lives, or how Pinterest-y their birthday parties or your house is. Success at the end of this adventure will be defined by how well you served and loved those placed in your care…including yourself!