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Confessions of a Multitasking Mama

I often get asked “how do you do it all?” The answer is “I don’t”. I don’t do it all. You see the things I DO on this website, in my Facebook events and updates, newsletters, etc. You can easily find out about my therapy practice, my music career, my media appearances, speaking engagement, and my family life. I admit, I do A LOT, but I definitely don’t do it all.

Here are some of the things I DON’T do:

I don’t cook (unless you count heating up a Dream Dinner cooking). I value family dinner time but I don’t cook from scratch. I’d like to, but not enough to actually take the time to do it.

I am not the room mother. I am the assistant room mother.

I don’t attend every soccer, baseball, lacrosse, or basketball game, recital or school program. I attend “more often than not”.

I don’t make my kids breakfast before school. They have cold cereal or cinnamon toast every morning (unless its Sat. and my hubby makes waffles with ice cream).

I don’t have a clean, organized home. I generally know where to find most things, but home organization is not my strong suit. I don’t deep clean my home. I hire a cleaning crew twice a month.

I don’t feel guilty having other people help take care of our kids. I have a part-time “home assistant” who keeps things moving when my husband and I are not home, and we have an amazingly supportive family.

Even though I take a detailed list of birthday gifts my children receive every year, it is the exception that we actually send out “thank you” notes.

I don’t work in the yard on a regular basis, much to my husband’s chagrin.

I don’t sacrifice sleep. I get at least 7 hours of sleep nightly and a 3-4 hour nap on Sundays.

I don’t separate my life into categories of mother/wife/work/music. It’s all one big amazing mess called “my life” and that big category encompasses all of the people and causes and activities I’m passionate about. My life is NOT perfect, but its pretty darn good. There are many sacrifices for trying to pull off as much as I do: my house and yard aren’t spotless, I’m often tired, and sometimes feel like I’m not doing well at anything. But for me it’s worth it to have a life overflowing with wonderful opportunities to love and help others during whatever time I have on the planet. I don’t want to do it all. I just want a lot of the things I care about.

No, a girl can’t have it all but she can have A LOT.

I’d love to hear some of your confessions! Enter comments below.

About Dr. Julie Hanks, LCSW:
Dynamic self & relationship expert Dr. Julie de Azevedo Hanks, LCSW loves to make a difference for women. She owns Wasatch Family Therapy and regularly contributes to KSL TV's Studio 5, and her advice has been featured nationally including Wall Street Journal, Parenting, Fox News, and others. Connect on Facebook & Twitter. Her books The Burnout Cure and The Assertiveness Guide are now available.

Comments

Linda Brown

We women will wear out from multi tasking, but that’s what keeps us going. Want to wear out, not rust out. And……it just keeps on going. Had an older man come up to me at church and asked me about my everready batteries that keep me going and going. Thanks, Heavenly Father, for a body that can keep up.

Jonathan D. Sherman

My wife has always said, “I can have it all. Just not all at once.” It’s a great reminder to pace self, to be content an patient with life and self. I just spoke on “Solutions to Depression” with the core message of, “Ease up. You ARE doing enough. Be kind and compassionate to yourself and not just to others.” Your article is a good example of that. Peace, Jonathan.

Debbie Hamilton

Thanks for the reality check with “Confessions of a Multi-tasking Mama”
My house is less than stellar and I don’t cook hardly anything from scratch! Nice to be reasurred that I’m in good company ; ). There are so many things that make my heart sing that deserve my time more than polishing the bathroom chrome! Life is a cocaphone of opportunities to
love and feel and give! Wonderful…

Carrie

This is a great format to realize that we don’t have to do it all. I don’t seem to have trouble letting go of the house work to my husbands dismay, I’m sure. I enjoy a small garden, but I don’t start it from scratch and I keep it as simple as possible. I like to cook dinner, but I keep a list of quick and easy dinners that are healthy, it helps with my guilt. I have been asked how I have energy to do what I do, and it surprises me, I never think of myself as a high energy person. I just want a lot out of life. When someone or something reminds me that I can’t do it all, my reply is I can try and I will get farther than I would have. Looking back though, I really think that it is a positive perspective, sleep, and healthy food that really carry me through. However, I always wonder which angles on the other side are also carring me through it all. I try to remember that the people in my life are more important that my to do list, and sometimes that’s hard for me. My biggest help is a helpful husband, I wish this for everyone! Enjoy what you do and do meaningful things… Life is hard, but Good.

Lisa

I learned from you that guilt is for sin. So I try very hard not to carry any guilt around. I am happy with who I am and although I like in many areas, I try to do the best I can. I have also learned through the death of my mother that life is short and we should cherish each moment. There is not need to try to do it all and have it all. We must find balance and do and have the things that make us happy. I have weeds in my flower beds, I hide things in closets and under the bed and I take naps also.

Chelsea

So what do you do when you can’t afford the cleaning service twice a month, you can’t seem to fit in any “personal time,” the disorganization of the house seems overwhelming, the kids are screeming, pay gets cut at work, and you’re still expected to be a good and happy mother? Seems like you still get more help than most of us.

admin

Chelsea, I’ve been there too, overwhelmed and feeling like there are few options to get support. That’s when I had to get REALLY creative with bartering, and more comfortable asking for help. What do you like to do, and offer to swap with a neighbor or friend. If you love to cook offer to make a meal once a week in exchange for her taking your kids for an afternoon. If you have extended family, ask for help. If you have a spouse does he get how overwhelmed you are? Maybe he can do more to support you. Just some thoughts.

Janet

Julie, I just recently found your website, but I’ve been a fan of your music for YEARS! This post inspired me. I thought about it for days and eventually posted my thoughts on my blog:jprserenity.blogspot.com

Becca Dulgarian @ Blue Cricket Design

Never again will I ever get bamboozled into being a room mom! It was trickery I tell ya!There is a time and a place for all things and good intentions and good deeds are one of them! Being a room mom with two kids still at home is like volunteering for a weekly guilt trip, the dreaded “ask your neighbor for yet another favor,” teacher/public school resentment fest! I think grandparents should be room moms! That’s when we’ll have the time! I’m with ya on that one Julie!

What a great read! Thanks for a refreshing dose of honestly! Loved it!

Emily Hill

I am not a member of the PTA, (or the room mother LOL!!) I enlist my Chefs helpers for meals (kids rotate helping along side myself and they learn to cook too) Friend B-Day parties are only every other year etc…I am a firm believer in focusing on the things that matter. I can bring in help for cleaning, cooking etc. Who doesnt love a frozen pizza every once in awhile?? (or let it go temporarily) but nurturing and teaching my children is where I feel irreplaceable and this is my first priority.

Pam Baumeister

I identify with you so much, Julie. I don’t let my kids have extracurricular activities more than once a year. That means no soccer, piano lessons, dance classes or other things to drive them to and from every weekday. I also instituted “no playdate days” during the school year. They are Monday, Thursday and Sunday. This brings me both sanity and allows me to see my children more often than throwing them in the car and bringing them places. I DO cook from scratch, but I make easy meals. Most kids don’t appreciate the nuances of gourmet food anyway, so why put the effort into it just to hear “ewwww, gross!” at mealtimes. Great post!

Debra Breitenstein

I exercise “Planned Neglect”. I have a long list of things that need done. However all I do is take care of the ones that rise to the top. Those high priority “to do’s” that demand action. The rest take care of themselves or they rise to the top for their turn. Also, I confess I don’t do it all because I allow others to do a majority of things. It doesn’t make me a better wife or mother to do it all myself. It makes me a great one to share, create a strong team, and to allow others to learn in the process. Aren’t mothers suppose to teach? And doesn’t every husband want to feel needed? I skip a bunch of cooking by eating about 80% raw. Cutting up veggies and fruit is fast! And yes, you can “cook” without heat and make yummy recipes!

allars

I think something that drives me crazy more than almost anything in my life, is that yes, I feel overwhelmed. I do try to do it all, but at the cost of my sanity. I have lost myself along the way. I’ve got a pretty great looking yard and house, I’m usually put together, meals cooked from scratch, I don’t let me kids watch a lot of tv, etc. I try really hard to fit that ideal. But if I somehow have a bad day, or my list isn’t done, I feel like a failure and beat myself up about it. My husband is the first one to point out any flaw, he notices everything and will comment and complain if something isn’t perfect. What a nightmare, sorry to leave such a negative comment. :[ I’m lost in the trying to be perfect and do everything world, and nothing else seems to matter especially to my husband. Sad but true.

Rachael de Azevedo

As a mom of two young boys and starting my own business I struggle to find a happy medium with my family and my “me wants”. I have given up making myself pretty. I rarely spend the hour doing my hair and makeup that I did before I had kids. Instead I opt for an hour at the Gym (extra bonus away from my kids). To me it is looking good on the outside or feeling good on the inside. I choose the later 🙂 Besides the endorphins I get from the working out keeping me thinking that I still do look good, even without make-up 🙂
I have also given up talking on the phone…anyone who has tried to get a hold of me through this form of communication can attest to that! An hour on the phone just takes up time when I could be playing with my boys or editing photos….sorry family, you’ll just have to e-mail me.

[…] have a lot on my plate and that I like to get things done. However, I recently wrote a blog called “Confessions of a Multi-tasking Mama” about all of the things I don’t do – the things I leave undone. I received many emails and blog […]

Marsha

I too use to be hard on myself and guilty for things I hadn’t got done. Then I decided I was the one that was being hard on myself. So I started giving myself credit for the things I had done and didn’t worry about the rest. That took a big load of me and helped me concentrate on the things that mattered most.

adrian

Your life is a complete reflection of mine, with the exception of a full-time job and two home businesses – yikes! There’s a reason, we call it Adrians Crazy Life! But people ask me all the time how I do so much, but really that’s how I do it – DH does the cooking, I do very little housework (blush), and I generally stay up until 12 or 1 in the morning tying up the loose ends and getting a little “me” time in. Hey, that’s my life and I must like it because I keep doing it to myself!

Winnie Yu

I love this post! I gave up trying to do it all a long time ago. My house will never be perfectly clean, and I will never be the mom at every event. I’m perfectly happy being a beta mom these days — someone else can be the alpha mom!

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