Why You Can’t Know How I Do It All

I constantly hear, “I don’t know how you do it all.” Well-meaning folks at work, at church, at the grocery store hear about everything I have in my life right now and they say this with a bit of pity? Or is that envy? Or is there judgement there?

As I juggle a full-time job, graduate school, 4 children (ages 2–14) I pass many of these people along the way. I am not irritated by their statement, but I am also not sitting here on the Pedestal of Doing It All. The statement leaves me usually just grinning at the sheer absurdity that I could ever be doing it all — doing any of it AT ALL.

I rarely cook dinner and when I do it’s usually chocolate gravy to be served over frozen biscuits. I used to cook healthy meals and even clean up the kitchen afterwards! My vacuum beckons to me from across the living room while I am sitting on my sofa. It begs me to use it and I scoff at its neediness. There was a time in my life when my house looked like a magazine all the time. Some weeks I don’t even have time to check my bank account balance which is really good because it’s probably very low but then not good because it’s embarrassing when my debit card gets declined with a basket full of groceries. I used to obsessively balance my account multiple times a day, glorying in my ability to be exact to the penny with the bank.

Here is what I have learned. The more I try to control, conquer, exceed expectations the more life surprises me. Rather than ride a roller coaster of ups and downs as I tame life and then see it go crazy again, I decided at some point in the last few years to just go limp and let it all go. This is the only way I could be surviving doing everything that I am now doing. It’s because I am doing it all for the right reasons and with proper expectations.

Recently I was learning economic theory and one of the prevalent themes was the importance of expectations when it comes to the health of the American and world economies. Often expectations can create circumstances, even if expectations are ill-founded. Measuring my expectations has given me the ability to be FREE in my life to pursue and prioritize the activities that matter to me.

I was a perfectionist and a seriously anxious woman. I am now somewhat laid-back. I laugh a lot. I don’t apologize for my messy house anymore. What matters is what matters and those matters are what I tend to. It’s pretty magnificent actually.