We all have busy lives—we run from carpool, to the office, to the kitchen to make supper, and back again. We feel like we are managing the entire world, and we often wonder when it will be our turn to relax, to do something we enjoy again, to read a good book, to travel, to take a day off.
We tell ourselves, “when the kids get older.” Then, they get older and we find more things to be busy with. And we tell ourselves, “when they move out.” You get the picture—we push life off. We wait for it to happen to us, all the while hoping for a break, a change from the monotony of life.
We often think that in the good-ol’-days life was easier. Motherhood was easier. Moms stayed home and took care of the kids. Dads brought home the paycheck. Grandma lived with mom to help out or at least she lived close by. There was a village of women dedicated to helping each other raise their children collectively.
By all means, there is much truth to this. Nowadays, we need a two parent income, we don’t have the collective tribe of women, and grandma can live halfway across the country.
However, we also have other things that our great-grandmothers didn’t have. A washing machine. Pre-K. Income. The ability to pursue career goals and attend school. We live in a different time and what works now isn’t the same as what worked then.
Yet, we haven’t yet completely adjusted as a society to this shift and we are seeing the repercussions—motherhood burnout, burnout in the workplace, fighting between spouses, kids begging for attention, rise in mental health issues, physical health complications from stress, and the list goes on.
We long for a simpler solution. We want to simplify motherhood. Many think, if we just made more money, then I could stay home with the kids or hire full-time help. Many think that money is the answer.
Money helps greatly, I agree. But I don’t think it’s the complete answer.
I think there is a societal and collective solution that we need to work on and that many great organizations out there are starting to work on—such as paid maternal (and parental) leave for longer than the pithy six weeks that’s more like a joke, flexible work scheduling so mommy can be there for her kids when she’s needed most, and unlimited paid time off (umm... hello sick kids who keep mommy home from work for what seems like 2 months out of the year).
But what can we do in the meantime—while society is still catching up—to simplify motherhood for ourselves, while we’re in the thick of it?
The first thing we must do if we want to simplify motherhood is to decide what we *want for ourselves* and draw our life’s compass. Take control of life. Actively create life... And then go out and DO it.
Yes, it’s easier said than done.
But you have to start somewhere—and you start with getting real with yourself and getting conscious about all the ways you’ve been letting life drag you around and tell you where to go.
*I have to work full-time. I can’t afford not to.*
Is this true? Maybe. Maybe not.
*My house is always a wreck and with kids it’s just not possible for it to be any other way.*
Again, take a look at this. Is it true? Maybe. Is this thought helpful? Probably not so much.
*I have to walk around in spaghetti covered clothes and getting toys thrown at my face with each new tantrum*.
True? Helpful? Does this thought serve you and your goals? Probably not.
Start to question your deeply held beliefs that sneak up on you.
Then, you can clear the way for what you’d like your life to look like—what you’d like your *day* to look like.
If you have a compass, you can head in the right direction.
But without a compass, you are always looking around for signs that you’re headed the right direction—while going round-and-round in never ending circles.
Ask yourself: What’s important to me?
What would my ideal life look like?
What would a day in my ideal life look like?
Don’t skip this step because it is unrealistic. You need to dream something before you can do it. The possibility doesn’t open up for you, unless you first open up to IT.
What are my values?
What do I want to prioritize *right now* in this particular season of life?
What does motherhood mean to me?
What do I want for my children?
Start building your compass. This is the first step to simplifying motherhood. Getting clarity around where you are and where you want to be—as a mother and as a woman in this time and place.
Don’t worry. Your compass will likely change as you grow and your children grow. This is not a lifetime commitment, so you don’t have to be scared to get it “wrong.” There are no wrong answers.
The next step is being willing to take risks and experiment and get comfortable with being uncomfortable so that you can start living life according to your own unique vision, your life compass.
That’s the fun part.
And the scary part.
And the part that makes all the difference.
So, now it’s time to make this real. Send me a message on your favorite social media platform and tell me what a day in your ideal life would look like. It could just be one sentence. One sentence on the way to simplifying motherhood.