On (Not) Doing It All, OR, I Am Not Every Woman and It is Not All In Me


ImageI’ve finally come to terms with the fact that I am way too impressionable sometimes. Especially when I read about people or I meet folks who seem to have the ability to do it all.

I read Essence magazine each month. As a matter of fact, I’ve had a subscription to the periodical every year since I was about fifteen (that’s a lot of reading). Anyway, Essence often profiles the lives of extraordinary women. The entertainers. The doctors. The educators. The Pulitzer Prize winners. The supermoms. The philanthropists. Women who give their all and do their all every day (typically in a public arena), and seem to do it perfectly.

They are amazing.

They are an inspiration.

They are not me.

A little while back I finished writing a novel and pitched it for sale, cared for three kids and a very sweet husband, trained and lost seven pounds, changed my diet, started a blog, worked as a contract writer and designer for a medical solutions company, guested on three other blogs, volunteered to serve on an executive board of a social organization, wrote a newsletter and helped promote and do recruitment for another social organization, served as Editor-in-Chief for my church news magazine, helped design said news magazine, coordinated a beta reading group for the first printing of aforementioned novel, helped critique a slew of other novels for different writers, planned a very nice surprise birthday party (which had so many glitches that I have now officially declared myself out of the party planning business), and a partridge and a pear tree :-)

The result? Most everything turned out fine. Me? I didn’t. By the end of the year I was a disorganized, burned out, grumpy, mean witch. I was depressed. I had attitude problems with everyone who demanded something from me (including my own kids).

Yeah. Um, I wasn’t a happy camper.

Those women who do it all – I really don’t know how they do it. My hat is off to them. But I hope someone takes me out back and threatens to shoot me before I ever overextend myself like I did last year.

This year, I am scaling back. My life is going to be simple. God is first. My family is second. After them, I need to care for myself (body, mind, spirit) and tend to my writing career. If I do anything else after that, it will be because the Lord specifically guided me to do so.

To quote a popular novel title, I don’t know how she (a super woman) does it. All I know is what works for me and helps me to be a better person. What works for me is to do less, but to do what I do well.

I am not every woman. It is not all in me. But I do know what is in me, and I’m going to use that to the best of my ability every single day.

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