I am often asked (as I am sure so many moms are!), “How do you do it all?” I wear so many hats it often gets overwhelming: business owner, coach, teacher, volunteer, friend, sister, daughter, wife and mom. A day doesn’t go by that I don’t have to make a decision to hang a hat on the coat rack and leave it to wear on another day. It is really difficult for me to hang up my mom hat. I am often riddled with guilt when I have to do this. Due to my work schedule I don’t often get to eat dinner with my girls, help them with their homework or put them to bed. My biggest worry is that everyone else gets the best of me and my family only gets tired, grumpy mommy.
I was talking to my husband about this just the other day. In my exhaustion preparing for the upcoming competition this weekend I arrogantly told him I was worried the girls are not getting the best care when I cannot be home. That if I don’t help Rosie study for her spelling test she doesn’t perform as well. That if I don’t help Sophia with her weekly sentences they are simply not done right. That if I am not able to focus all my attention on the girls’ important papers don’t get signed, tests are not studied for and homework assignments aren’t fully finished. You know what my amazing husband said to me, “Absolutely! No one does the job as good as you. We try our best but it isn’t the same when you can’t be home. Ultimately, everything that needs to get done does… it just isn’t done the way you would.” Oh man, here came the waterworks as the massive feeling of guilt engulfed all the hats I was wearing that day!
What he said next really astonished me. He said, “Jen, I know that we are just one piece to this puzzle you are trying to create. If you only work on one piece of the puzzle the whole thing won’t get built.” Then he told me that a human being can only really do five tasks each day effectively. That I had to choose five tasks to accomplish each day to build the puzzle right. One of those tasks should be self-care such as exercise, doctor appointments or simply taking a break. Then all these hats may not seem so heavy.
Moving forward I am going to try my best to schedule my time and be fully present in the task I am accomplishing. I have made myself a few promises that I hope to keep:
- When I have a night off to be with the girls I will not be texting or emailing the studio at the same time I am helping Rosie and Sophia with homework. Sorry Rosie…I promise not to call you Miss Shannen or Kristin by accident and that the phone is being turned off.
- I will not be quickly trying to read an email from the school while the dancers grab water or change their shoes. Sorry school… when I do this I half read things and miss so much information! You wanted a gallon of hot chocolate, not hot dogs?!
- Finally, I will not be mapping out the recital on my date nights!!! Sorry, Paul… I know you could care less which teachers will be available to help out backstage five months from now.
I am learning that being present takes practice. Information and communication are literally at the tips of our fingers. However, that does not mean you have to take care of a task that pops up on your phone while trying to accomplish another. I think the most important lesson I am learning is that I need to trust others to finish their pieces to the puzzle as well. They may not choose to use the same materials to create the puzzle piece, but it always fits just the same!
Business owner guilt, coach guilt, teacher guilt, volunteer guilt, friend guilt, sister guilt, daughter guilt, wife guilt and mother guilt happen when you try to wear too many hats at once. Your head gets too heavy and your hair gets all messed up! Moving forward, I am hoping to only wear one hat at a time and not worry about the ones that are hanging on the coat rack for later. More importantly, I plan to gladly allow people in my circle to borrow my hats so we can build a strong puzzle together one piece at a time.
Live, Love, Dance