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No, You Can’t Do It All

It's Okay to Not Do It All

I’ve been feeling underneath it all lately. Can you tell? I feel like I can’t catch up or keep up, and every day there’s something (usually a big something) that just has to be left behind. Part of me thinks it’s a passing phase because Baby #2 is just cleaning me out in terms of energy, motivation, and general well-being. But another part of me thinks that maybe this is just the status quo. That if you’re a mom and a wife and a business owner or have a job, you’re just always going to feel… behind. 

I love Henry. And I love being his mom. And I love that we have another little one on the way to make us into a party of four. And on the days when I’m with Hank, just being a mom — reading a thousand books out loud, playing with trains and cars, drawing outside with sidewalk chalk for hours — on those days, I know I’m giving him my best. He’s practicing new skills and words and we’re broadening our bond and he’s learning creativity and absorbing the world, and I’m the one that’s lucky enough to give him those things. But also on those days, I’m not at my desk. And the rest of the world is passing me by. And at the end of the day I see what everyone else has accomplished (book deals! product lines! shop openings!), and I almost feel like there’s no point in trying to keep up. So at the end of that day, I’ve been a great mom and a lousy business owner.

So the next day, Henry’s at babysitting. Or with Ryan, or wherever. And I sit at my desk and work fast and furious (because obviously you only ever have a few hours at once when you’re a parent) and maybe make a little headway. Maybe I write a great blog post. Or maybe I sign a really exciting contract. Or maybe we plan a business trip for a great opportunity. And I start feeling a little like a boss again, for those few hours. And always, always, the time is done too soon and not soon enough because there’s usually about half of my to-do list left undone, and I’m simultaneously dying to go get Henry from the sitter. At the sitter, he’s happy and babbling and covered in crayons or chalk or yogurt and I wish I could get those hours back and see everything he was up to. So at the end of that day, I’ve been a busy bosslady and an absent mom.

And somewhere in there, there’s Ryan. Oh yeah, my husband! There are meals to cook together and a yard to maintain and dates to go on and decisions to make and let’s toss in a home renovation just for fun, shall we? I’m embarrassed to say that in this season of our lives, we usually short each other in favor of keeping up with kids and work. Maybe that’s the way it just has to be sometimes? I mean, yeah, we meet at night on the couch for Game of Thrones but that does not a romantic evening make (hello, beheadings much?). Then it’s g’night and up again the next day to try to do a little better.

I admit it — I see my colleagues without kids who are just killing it in business land and a whole mess of different feelings wash over me. Jealousy, at all the time and energy they have, wistfulness, for the days when it was just us and our schedules could be anything we wanted them to be, curiosity, at what their lives will look like if they decide to have children. I look at Snapchat and I marvel at how people can even remember to pull out their phones and snap a photo of their meals, let alone how they have time to create a whole story throughout their days. (Although the pregnancy nausea is still making it tough to look at my phone so maybe I’m at a base level disadvantage there… 😉 )

So there I am, spending energy pondering everyone else’s life when my sweet kid toddles into the room with a huge grin, says, “MOMMIE!” (actually Mommie for the first time instead of Mama ) and throws me a ball. And then begs me to pull him onto my lap and let him stick his little boy fingers in my ears, his other new trick. And in that moment I realize that it’s everyone else who’s missing out. Because you haven’t lived until you’ve had a toddler who adores you stick his fingers in your ears to try to make you laugh.

The moral of the story? I’m a firm believer that you cannot do it all. (And if are a magical unicorn who has, in fact, found a way to do it all, I salute you and please take me to coffee and explain in detail.) So to the best of my ability, I hereby retract my expectation of myself to be able to do it all every day — be a bosslady, supermom, megawife, and always have my nails painted perfectly. I just don’t know that it exists, you guys. I think a more reasonable goal for me would to be 100% present in whatever I’m doing, whether it’s being with my son or my husband or at work. And maybe one day, when the kids are in school or wherever, this will all change. But for now, I’m getting better at being okay with it. xoxo

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22 thoughts on “No, You Can’t Do It All

  1. Oh, girl. I hope you get a sense of how greatly I appreciate this post. Your honesty is what keeps me loving your corner of the internet. You are doing a killer job.

  2. Do you know how many people only have just their thumb nail painted so they can hold things up on Instagram and not look janky? That is like, the anthem for a whole generation of busy ladies: mamas or not. No matter what you have going on, there are just not enough hours in a day. I won’t tell you “just do you” or “not to let other peoples’ lives dictate how you live yours” but seriously behind every perfectly painted thumb online, there are 4 scraggly nails covered in ink, cuts, hot glue, glitter, attached to a lady just doing her best. And some of those ladies painted that thumb to IMPRESS YOU. Because you killin’ it mama.

  3. Yes to this! So well written, I completely agree! Enjoy this phase of life, girl it flies by. Mine are already 10 and 12 and it feels like it went by in a blur. You’re amazing and inspiring, keep the pace that works for you!
    PS Say hello to Ryan! I still love all the work he put into my site!

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  7. Amen. I have been feeling super drained and behind lately too. I am not doing everything I want to do – mostly because I can’t. School’s out now, so I have three wonderful kids in my home every day, and I WANT to spend time with them but I also WANT to work and I also WANT to talk to my husband and I WANT to be a good friend, sister, daughter, neighbor, etc., etc. It’s just impossible to do it all. One of my best friends’ son graduated from high school yesterday, and I was sitting in the ceremony looking at all these young kids so excited for their future and I kept catching myself cynically thinking that they might be less excited if they knew what a drag being an adult can really be. But I quickly realized that is crazy and of course I would not let go of any of the complications and responsibilities in my grown up life because I love them! I mean, it’s frustrating that we can’t do it all, but isn’t it such a blessing that we have so many things we want to do? So much purpose, love, and passion? Anyway – this comment got much longer than I originally intended. Ha! Thanks for your words.

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  9. Did you read my mind?! This is exactly how I feel! I came over to this post from the “Keep It Real” one and just want to thank you for putting this honesty out here. <3

  10. Often feel so much of this… Need to find me time in there somewhere too. Trying to remember that each day is a new day and a gift when I wake up in the morning. Thanks for the reminder to be “present” in whatever it is I am doing at that moment!

    Keep up the good work Chelsea! <3

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  13. Amazing issues here. I am very glad to see your post.

    Thank you a lot and I’m having a look forward to touch you.
    Will you kindly drop me a e-mail?

  14. Thank you for writing this blog post. I feel the same. I’ll try to stick to this new mantra; it’s okay to not do it all! 🙂

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  16. I too needed to read and hear this; BAD!!!! I feel just like the author…when killin it at work we’re not there for the kids, husbands, friends, family and me time. When doing things with the kids, we are not focused on work. This article makes you feel like everyone else!!! We’re all doing it and doing it the best we know how!!!! Thank You for this A. W. E. S. O. M. E. Read!!!!