The biggest question I used to, and still do get asked is, “how do you do it all? And make it look so easy?”
I used to be the Mom who just shrugged off the question and mumbled something uncomfortably like, “I just get no sleep.” or, “oh, it’s really not that hard.” And I CRINGE now at knowing that I was one of THOSE women. Yep – you know them. The ones who make everything always seem so perfect and like they have all their shit together. When in reality – it’s the furthest thing from the truth. When in reality – I was barely hanging on by a thread. And if I’d taken just one step back. ONE step – to reevaluate the opportunity I was being given to truly set the record straight – then maybe I would have made more of an impact and more of a connection with the people asking me that very question.
The thing is…this isn’t the first time I’ve written about this topic and it won’t be the last. Because for some reason, we as women – especially as moms, feel this absurd need towards continually subjecting ourselves to standards that are unachievable in the hopes that maybe, just maybe – we can be the ones who actually do it all and make it happen while also making it look, easy. Ladies – we will end up failing.
I don’t do it all. I never have. Nor would I want to.
Even as much of a people-pleasing, overachieving go-getter who wants to one day run a global empire that supports women in the corporate environment and provides a platform for them to be able to share, create, vent and seek resources – there is no. freaking. way. I could ever – EVER – do it all.
When we allow society to perpetuate the narrative that some women are capable of doing it all, we are damaging the opportunity for truth, growth and the empowerment found in asking for help. I’m no longer someone who tries to do it all. I may be a people-pleaser but I draw the line at trying to make my life appear to be perfect because perfection is an impossibility, especially when you’re raising three kids, maintaining a marriage and working on building your career into what you envisioned.
We have help. And lots of it.
My mother-in-law has helped raise our children since our oldest was almost two. There came a point in our careers where we realized we needed to come up with an alternative plan and find what works best for our family. She has relocated every time we have and is always willing to help us out. She covers us when we’re both, sometimes unfortunately, out of town for work or when we want to go on a trip – just the two of us. She is our life line and we could not operate or function without her. She assists with drop-offs and pick-ups, makes dinner when necessary and will do the kids’ laundry whenever it starts to overflow because we decided to spend the weekend at the beach with the kids as opposed to washing clothes all day.
Whenever people get to know us and they learn just how much a part of our lives she is, they gain a much better understanding of how we do what we do – and how we have been able to make our lives run smoother since 2009. And the best part of it all…she is our children’s grandmother and the bond they’re each creating with her can never be replaced and will live with them forever. For that, I am beyond grateful.
Below I’ve listed some of the other ways in which we have sought help and outsourced to manage our day-to-day schedules that make our lives just a little bit easier.
1.) We hired a house cleaner. I’ll always be so grateful we started having folks come clean our home when we made the move to Atlanta in 2013. We’ve not looked back since.
2.) With the recent move to South Florida and the addition of a pool to our backyard lineup, we scouted out the neighborhood choice for a pool company and hired them Day 1.
3.) Landscaping. My husband used to do all of this himself and over the years as our careers grew as well as our family – the need to remove this from our plate became clear. Now that we live in a tropical climate it is a necessity. We are not retired. Yet. Maybe when we are this will become more fun but I doubt it.
4.) Contractors/ Painters for renovation projects. Whenever I meet DIY people I’m always in awe of them. That they can take a space and do what they want to it – by themselves – is inspiring yet exhausting. And also – not for us. We’re not handy. We have the vision but not the ability nor the time to go through the process of trial and error to make what we want happen. We used to paint on our own. Nope. Not anymore. It’s not that we can’t or don’t want to…it’s that we can spend that additional time now doing something else – with our kids.
5.) Dry cleaning, grocery orders online and easy, simple yet healthy dinner choices also help with assisting in how our daily lives have become more pared down to make more time for the stuff that matters to us.
Being able to outsource all of these things is not an option for some, and I completely understand that. There was a point in our lives and careers when none of these were options for us. We had to work and save up to being able to afford these “commodities” in our life. But once we began to amass enough of a budget for items like these, we made sure we focused on what was the most important, can’t-live-without (house cleaners!) item and chose that one first. We made and will continue to make that one a priority.
If you ask for help, you’re incapable and weak.
There was a time when I attempted to do it all – AND also tried making it look like it was easy and even, fun! I look back at those times and I remember always feeling tired, frustrated, confused at how it was humanly possible for others to be able to get everything done, and humbling. Those moments left me feeling so empty at times because I just didn’t see an end to the constant chaos of pretending. Having some real-talk, come-to-Jesus moments helped me to reshape my way of thinking. Just because you ask for help does not mean you’re incapable or weak in spirit and determination to conquer the world as a badass working mom. It means you’re human.
Life these days with three kids, a thriving marriage and a career I love hasn’t happened overnight. It’s taken a massive amount of those humbling moments, self-discovery, therapy, and whole crap ton of help from others to get us to where we are now. So, if you’re a Mom reading this and you’ve been attempting to suffer through it all – alone – and bear the weight of the world on your shoulders because that’s what you feel you have to do….if you’re inclined to judging yourself and putting so much pressure on yourself to live up to ridiculous expectations in order to consider yourself successful as a Mom and wife; to check that box next to “nailed it” on this invisible list of Motherhood things to accomplish – stop. Stop and give yourself a break. Sit down with yourself and reevaluate what’s truly important in your life.
Start from there…write down all of the amazing things you have done, do on a daily basis and will do, to continue being the incredible woman, wife, and mother that you are. You’ve got help. Just ask. There’s no award for doing it all, but there is beauty in bringing others into your life to enrich your circle and grow your village.
Remember to breathe. Just breathe girlfriend. You’ve got this.
– Confessions of a Corporate Mom