Lately I’ve been wrestling mom-guilt big time.
I believe so hard in women going after their God-given dreams and uncovering their talents and passions so they can boldly share them with the world. But sometimes it’s messy, confusing, painstaking, and takes way more time and effort than we expected.
And sometimes THAT can result in fatigue, overwhelm, second-guessing, and distraction.
I find myself in a season of juggling more/different kinds of work than I ever have before. Fitness coaching, podcast co-hosting, regular writing (here, I mean, because remember how blogging was a thing I used to do?), then there’s the book proposal writing, mothering, cooking, cleaning, and lets not forget about showing up as a regular human in my normal life (which I refuse to overlook, because doing things like perusing Target and having coffee with friends are just as life-giving for me as all the other stuff.)
It’s been challenging to know how best to divide my time, energy, and attention.
It all feels important.
It all requires forward momentum that ultimately must come from somewhere within myself.
Over on the podcast we’re always saying that every Yes requires a No, and I really believe that to be true. I know I can’t do ALL the things well at once, so I’ve spent a lot of time getting low and getting quiet with God and asking him if I should set any of this stuff down.
So far I haven’t felt led to do that, so I’ve done my best to compartmentalize, enforce boundaries between my personal and work life, and to have laser-focus on one thing AT A TIME.
Implementing themed work days has helped so much with this.
Before, I’d spend so much time staring out the window, pacing, starting one project only to get stumped and move on to a new one, and at the end of the day or week I’d get discouraged because it was hard to know if I moved the needle forward in any specific area.
Now I divide up my days so I only focus on ONE type of work at a time.
On Mondays we podcast, on Tuesdays I free-write (because I’ve found that when I abandon this practice something inside my soul begins to feel brittle and fragile, like writing keeps me well) on Wednesdays we wear pink… JKJK, Wednesdays are my regular human day, but name that movie quote!
Thursdays are for coaching. Although I do a bit of coaching every day, following up with other coaches on my team and checking in with all the people in my workout groups, on Thursdays I catch up on training for myself and training I offer.
Fridays are my book proposal days. I don’t know why I’m telling you all of this, other than A) I’m an over-sharer by nature, I know no other way, and B) This concept of themed work days might be helpful to you too?
I’d been toying around with the concept myself for a few months, fumbling my way through a trial and error approach when I heard Emily Freeman talking about it in her IG stories in a way that helped the idea click into place for me. (So we can just rack that up to reason #492 why E.P.F. is my soul guru.)
I think my point is that even with these themed work days, which are helping so much, I still find that I easily get pulled out to sea by an undercurrent of… I don’t even know? Overwhelm? Guilt? Pressure? Each one of these things feeds my soul and I’m doing it because I want to, but sometimes it’s like all my passions and responsibilities bleed over onto each other into this one overwhelming pressure to “do more” and “be better”.
Does that make sense? Anyone? Just me?
I was Voxing (Voxering?) with my podcast partner, Alana about this very thing and she said, “I don’t know the answers, but the juggle is real!” Sometimes the sign of a true friend is one who will just sit with you in the struggle. The juggle struggle. Sorry. I can never resist a cheap pun. Or is that just a play on words? Nevermind, it doesn’t matter.
What matters is that we remind each other that it’s okay to hold the questions without the answers for a while.
It’s okay to listen to our inner compass and pivot when we need to.
It’s also okay to just proceed gently when we feel off-balance or unsure of our next right step.
Sometimes those flashes of concern, confusion, or guilt are there to serve as a warning to re-calibrate. I believe that God will help us to know deep down in our knower when that’s the case. But sometimes guilt is just a liar and it’s okay to stop listening to the endless pressure to “do more” and “be better.”
My goal in all my work is to shut it down and be fully present with my kids when they get home from school. “Goal”, being the operative word.
But it’s hard.
My mind is constantly flitting off in 27 different directions and then comes the crushing guilt because I wonder if my kids and my husband are getting the first and best of me. But here’s the thing: My kids are loved, fed, kissed, listened to, played with, tucked in and sung over every night, encouraged to find their own areas of passion, and they are the first-hand witnesses to the actual work required to pursue any dream.
My kids may not have fresh-out-of-the-oven cookies after school and I may not be the class volunteer mom anymore, but they have my heart and my attention and I think that’s pretty okay.
So if you’re struggling with the juggling or wrestling unnecessary mom-guilt I just want you to know that you’re doing a good job, mama.
You are doing important work.
The mothering, the day job, the side hustle, that dream you’re chasing, it all matters. It’s all part of what makes you YOU, and God wasn’t messing around when He made you. To borrow a quote from the T-shirt my best friend wore 19 years ago to our 80’s themed high school dance, “You’re okay! God doesn’t make junk!”
I’m here cheering you on.
I see you, and you’re freaking beautiful.