Repeat after me: I do not have this thing all figured out and THAT IS OKAY.
Every time I think I have my routine together, something changes. Literally, as soon as I hit a good rhythm with my kids’ school and activity schedules, here comes spring break. The second my husband and I have carpool set, his work schedule changes. Every time I get my work schedule all figured out, insert some new “interruption.”
I pride myself on being an extremely organized planner…at least I was until I started having kids. I have been able to maintain some of my order, but in general, my standards have been drastically lowered (somewhat forcibly).
The reality is that we are all in an ever-changing world with ever-changing circumstances and responsibilities. We can’t always have it ALL figured out. It is simply put, impossible.
That reality has caused me many hours of stress and heartache. I thought just maybe sharing my experiences might prevent someone (even just one person) from that same heartache and pain.
It may help to have a little history on me.
See, I’m the oldest born child (of six) to a very young, single mother. The utter chaos that I was born into spurred me to be a rebel of all things outrageous and spontaneous. Being raised by a woman who never used a planner, missed appointments regularly and could barely remember her kids’ birthdays, had me trying to figure out early on, how I could be more efficient and make my life a little less chaotic.
Hence, this type A, slightly controlling, overachiever was born. I’ve been a color-coding, planner toting, room organizing maniac for as long as I can remember. I took (and still take) great joy in my ability to simplify a system, situation or task and make it go smoothly and seamlessly. This worked for me, quite well, until I decided to get married.
Yup, that was it. Adding another full-grown adult into my space, my calendar and my life, changed me forever. Adjusting to new demands, new habits and most of all, new expectations was a lot for me, as I’m sure it is for all newlyweds.
But, I managed to adjust without completely compromising my desire for organization. And it was good. But then, along came a beautiful little baby girl, who, with all her smiles and giggles, would not allow her exhausted mother to sleep. Go figure, right. This is when things changed forever.
I frantically tried to grasp at a “routine” and stick to a “schedule” and each time I got close, someone snatched the proverbial carrot from my reach. Once we obtained a loose sleep schedule, I was able to gather some level of calm and consistency.
For a while, and still to this day, I was doing so well that I often got the #SuperWoman or #SuperMom or even #MomGoals on social media. But then, fast forward a few years and add two more babies to the mix.
My color coding and highlighting became less and less and while I still see those hashtags from time to time, I am no longer interested in them…and here’s why: Being a wife and mother of one or any number of children is HARD. Just being a human with responsibility is a challenge.
Pulling anything off successfully (a play date, a night’s sleep, an event, whatever you do) is worthy of praise and accolades. But aspiring to “Superwoman” status for me is just not it. This title brings with it entirely too much pressure. When I see it, it makes me want to keep seeing it.
It’s like I want to continue looking a certain way to people…making them proud…having them see me in a super (or superior) way. It creates this false ideology that women (especially mothers) need to aspire to be someone else’s goals.
It’s as if your own idea of womanhood and/or motherhood can no longer exist. It’s additional societal pressure, progressed by the filters and facades of social media.
I have finally decided that I do NOT want that headache. I much prefer for other mothers to look at me and see some reflection of themselves. I want them to identify with the struggle and the triumph.
I want them to see the celebration in my eyes for the wins (big and small) and contentment with reflection in my eyes for the “losses,” which are actually just lessons. The pressure to seem perfect is nauseating and leads to anxiety, depression and belly fat (thanks cortisol and stress). None of us need that.
Therefore, I am starting a new campaign, entitled “Death to Superwoman.”
- Death to the idea that any woman (or person) needs to feel like they have all things figured out at all times.
- Death to the idea that perfection is attainable or even necessary. Death to the idea that the highlights you see on social media are an actual representation of anyone’s REAL and TOTAL life.
- Death to the idea that mothers should be in some unspoken competition over meal prep techniques or home organization.
- Death to the idea that living in anything other than order and organization is bad or wrong.
- Death to the perception that motherhood and womanhood can only look one way.
- Death to the idea that overworking yourself for some image of “rightness” is okay. And death to the idea that we are less than worthy of all of the great blessings available to us.
I have been unlearning my self-taught ideas on managing a healthy, happy home for years. And I chuckle out loud when I realize who my first real teacher was on the topic. It was my mom, who, without saying a word (or sometimes saying too many words) reminded me that I did not have to figure it all out and that everything was going to be okay.
When she shook her head at my constant cleaning or calmed me over the phone when I was venting about my woes. She made a point of being there for me but she showed me more than I ever realized mostly by her own desire to live a care-free life.
She taught me so many lessons without every trying, but that’s a whole other blog. I am grateful for her teachings and for the lessons of life that have reminded me to relax some of my ideas on order and organization. They have worked together to show me that life happens in the chaotic moments and memories are often made without ever being scheduled in my planner.
Related: How to Live a Meaningful Life?
Now, I don’t want to paint an inaccurate picture here. I still make EVERY attempt to be organized and to stay on top of things. I love my planner and I have calendar reminders set up on my phone for important events and activities.
Going without these items would shoot my stress (and cortisol) through the roof for opposite but equal reasons. I encourage everyone to have systems in place that work for you, your family and your life.
Just do not allow those “systems” to control and limit every aspect of your life. Be free to step outside your systems and willing to adjust to the changes of life. And above all things, do not seek validation from fictitious titles and trendy hashtags.
Decide what you need and want from your life and do your best to achieve it. When you fall short, do not stress, keep going and fine tune your vision as needed.
Repeat after me: I do not have this thing all figured out and THAT IS OKAY because I GOT THIS.