"How can you be so productive?" she asks.
I turn around to see if there's someone behind me she's speaking to.
"Me?!" I say with a nervous giggle.
"Yes, you homeschool three kids, write blogs and books, and make maple syrup! How do you get so much done?"
Oh mama, sweet mama. I have the undone scattered all over my brain.
I carry around an inner voice that says "You're not doing enough!" more often than I'd like to admit. I rarely feel as though I'm keeping all the balls in the air-- a juggler who spends more time on the ground than looking up in the sky.
It's true that I have three children (who more or less function like triplets because of their ages and development), homeschool, write for two blogs, have written two books and now I'm working hard on my third.
If that sounds productive to you, then let me pass on my secret:
I only do what's mine to do.
But that isn't as easy as it sounds, is it? When I was a new mama, I didn't know what was mine to do! I looked at the blogs, read the books, tried to knit, hated it, felt like a failure, made homemade yogurt, loved it, felt like a winner, and generally tried a lot of the things.
It takes a while to figure out who you are as a mother, who you are as a person now that you are a mother!
Often you only get there by trial and error, and that's okay. The errors don't mean you're doing something wrong; they mean you're one step closer to knowing yourself.
Amanda Soule's lovely blog was the first I ever read. Her readers would comment at times that they didn't understand how she could blog, sew, knit, farm, homeschool, and cook from scratch. Her days overflow with work from the heart, work that matters to her and her family. This isn't a productivity secret--Amanda's just doing what's hers to do. And so she thrives.
Our society has made an idol of getting things done, making that our top cultural priority. But instead of asking "Am I doing enough?," why not ask "Am I doing what's mine?"
Here's what's mine right now: Love my kids through the ups and downs of parenting, homeschool, read, write, edit, cook, clean, be a friend to Steve.
It's a short list, but a full life. And it's enough...for me.
Knowing what's mine in this season lets me fully concentrate without being pulled in all the directions all the time.
Busy mama who works all day and feels like you have nothing to show for it, don't compare your season of spring with another mom's season of harvest.
Run your own race...this minute, this second. Be you unapologetically. Only do what's yours to do right now, and watch how your family, yourself, and even the world is changed because of it.
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you
something else is the greatest accomplishment.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson