Raising a family takes a lot of time.
Building a business takes a lot of time.
Attempting to do both and retaining time to meet your own needs can feel like mission impossible.
It’s no wonder so many moms and women who work outside of the home struggle to stay fit, get enough sleep, or fit in time with friends. Even when we do theoretically have time to meet our own needs, there is often that nagging feeling that we “should” be somewhere else doing something else. That feeling alone keeps many of us in the grind. Head down. Doing what we are “supposed” to do. Completely ignoring what we need. To EVERYONE’S detriment.
The responsibility of taking care of ourselves is ours and ours alone. How magical would it be if our husbands, children, boss, or clients figured out how they could help us meet our needs without being asked. Or, if they just didn’t make it harder for us to meet our needs. But, the truth is that even though others are willing to help, they can’t when we don’t even know what we need. It is our job to communicate and create what we need. It’s not really fair or effective to secretly hope that someone else figures it out.
For the sake of transparency, let me first say that I am a work in progress with this stuff. Some of it is a habit now. Other parts require a ton of intentionality. As a matter of fact, the only reason I came to know these things is because I got tired of being rundown and resentful when no one else figured it out for me. Crazy, right? But, I bet you can identify.
Here were my steps to stop being so rundown and resentful. It is the blueprint to how I started consistently meeting my own needs mostly guilt-free WITHOUT neglecting my commitments.
One of my mentors and friends, Jill Coleman, often says, “you can do anything but you can’t do everything at the same time”. The first time I heard her say this, I thought, “pft. You don’t know ME. Yes, I can”. Well, I was wrong. Here’s what I learned the hard way…
I used to believe that my willingness to work hard excused me from being selective about activities and embracing routines. A husband, two kids, and a business taught me that there is some stuff that you can’t out work. You have to choose because not choosing usually leads to self-neglect.
The first step in meeting your needs while fulfilling your responsibilities is to decide. You need to be crystal clear about what, what YOU must do, what doesn’t really have to be done, and what you won’t do.
Here’s a small sample of each of those lists from my life:
Must Be Done (by someone)
- House Cleaned
- Laundry Done
- Groceries Purchased
- Blogs Formatted
- Social Media Scheduled
Must Be Done (by me)
- Work Out
- Dates with Al
- Quality Time with AJ & Jackie
- Clients Trained
- Live Broadcasts
Doesn’t Have to Be Done (but would be nice if we have extra time)
- Daily Meals from Scratch
- Daily Cleaning of the Entire House
This is a little embarrassing.to admit but I used to take pride in doing everything myself. Well, that was until I realized that’s how I became so rundown and resentful. Is this you?
Now, I delegate much more than I ever have in life. My husband sometimes teases me about the things that I delegate. For example, one day I ordered a tripod to be delivered to my house that day. He thought it was comical that I didn’t just go to the store around the corner and pick it up. When he inquired about it, I told him that I choose to save that time for something else.
Delegating doesn’t have to be expensive and it’s wise- not lazy. I didn’t pay one extra cent to have that tripod delivered. I didn’t need it until later that afternoon. By ordering it online, I was able to finish my work for the day and preserve my workout time. WISDOM!
Listen. If you are just getting started with delegation, the biggest thing you are going to have to fight is inner resistance. There are so many things that I delegate that I can do and theoretically have the time to do. However, when you add up all of those seemingly small tasks, they crowd out time to take care of myself. The time I save by delegating is the time that I use to work out, read, talk to a friend- all the things that working women and moms everywhere feel they don’t have time to do. Delegate like your life depends on it because it kind of does.
This is the part that requires commitment. Once you decide what must be done by you and you only, you have to do it. I will be the first to admit that I have wasted a lot of time.
I can remember letting a quick check in with a friend drag on to an hour-long conversation because I didn’t have as much pressure to get a laundry list of things. The result was that I was still not getting to my own needs. Instead, I would waste time. Then, I would hurry to complete the things that I needed to do for my business and family with the remaining time. I am a naturally social person (huge surprise right). So, I still have to be really intentional to ensure that I follow through on my daily plans.
Even when we do our best to make things more feasible, there are times where we simply have to dig to get things done. I still have days where we are rushing out of the door because someone needed a last minute outfit change. Even when I time block and stay on schedule, technology can fail making my work take longer than planned.
These are the days that I have to tap into my inner bad mamma-jamma to get things done. This is where the staying up late or getting up early to finish is required. This is when I call a babysitter or use the drop in playcare to create the time I need. And, because this isn’t how I operate all the time, it turns into a little game. I am excited and willing to kick things into high gear to do what I said I would because I am no longer rundown and resentful.
You may have thought that you were the only one struggling to keep your needs on the list. I’m here to tell you that you aren’t alone. And, I’m sharing what has worked for me in hopes that you too can use a few of these strategies to make a little room in your life for yourself. The good news is that you can do it without flaking on those you love.
So what do you think of all of this? Are you already doing some of these things? Scared to take the plunge and ask for what you need? Can’t wait to hear what you think. Sound off in the comments below.
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