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No one can do it all perfectly! We each have to decide what we’re okay at failing at.
What do I mean?
Well, in spring of 2017, I worked more than normal, as I wrote an ELA curriculum for a client. I took on the work because we’re really trying to pay down our debt, and the money was nice.
But, I don’t have unlimited hours in my days. By choosing to take on more work, I had to purposefully decide where failure was acceptable. Otherwise I’d be overwhelmed and fail at everything.
So I cut back on my housekeeping expectations, and let the kids do more. My fridge is not in good shape right now! I’ve kept up on huge spills and removing old food, but it needs a good deep clean. (It’s on my must-do list today! :D)
We ate a few more convenience meals, as I streamlined my meal plans even more.
I stayed up a bit later, and the kids watched some extra TV.
We adjusted and adapted and survived the extra hours.When life gets crazy, we all must prioritize. As a result, our standards are lowered in some areas.
You don’t want to be reactive in life. It’s much better to be proactive.
How can you be proactive in deciding where failing is an option?
By keeping tabs on your priorities and schedules. Watch for days or seasons that are going to be rough. Perhaps it’s summer for you, when the kids are home and you have more on your plate.
Maybe you’re gearing up for a vacation and have way more to take care of than normal.
Whatever your circumstances are, you have the power to decide what will be a priority and what isn’t.
This decision-making process gives you back control. You are no longer a victim to your circumstances. Rather, you’ve evaluated the situation, and have proactively decided what you’re going to focus on.
And that subtle mindset shift makes a ton of difference.
The overwhelm reduces. You no longer feel like your struggling to stay above water. Instead, you adjusted how much water there was in the first place, making it easier to stay afloat.
Areas I’ve Been Okay with Failing At
So what areas of my life have I decided to fail at?
Well…here are a few of the tasks I’ve chosen to lower my expectations on since launching my business:
- Housework (we do the basics, and the kids do some of the deep cleaning)
- Meals (I used to make all our bread from scratch and spend way more time in the kitchen!)
- Ironing (Good thing my husband is a pro, because I don’t have time for this!)
- Milking (The Busy Mom’s Guide to Owning a Milk Cow for the win, thank you baby calf for handling this for me right now!)
- One of my blogs (I deleted it…)
- Some homeschooling (we dropped the extras and buckled down on the basics as we finished the year.)
Failing Isn’t Really Failing
Failing might not be the best word, but it was what initially came to mind. The tasks in that list are all places in my life where I’ve decided that not doing my best is okay.
They’re areas where I am comfortable choosing to do less (or dropping completely for a season). Or tasks where I could reasonably pass the responsibility onto someone else.
None of the decisions I made were the end of the world. We all still ate, kept the house at a reasonably clean level, and ensured all the animals were cared for.
They were just done differently. And that’s okay. Life went on, and we were able to give more energy to the areas that really mattered.
Communicate with Your Family!
Communication is essential when you make these decisions. Talk to your spouse and children. Get on the same page.
Otherwise they might wonder why you’re no longer making bread, why the fridge isn’t as clean, or why your aren’t doing as many art projects in school.
Changes affect everyone, so keep them in the loop. Also, take your spouse’s priorities into account as well, as much as possible. As you discuss, you may discover your spouse needs to take on a task that is super important to him!
Also, when you’re ready to bump your expectations back up in any area, be sure to communicate that too. My kids know that this summer we’re picking back up with our afternoon chores and will be doing more in-depth cleaning. They’re prepared, because I told them in advance.
And when kids know what to expect, they whine a lot less!
Your Priorities Will Change
No two seasons of life are the same. What I need to fail at today may be a high priority next month. Life is always changing, which is why flexibility is essential.
As you take on new clients, or have a new baby, what you’re able to do will change. So prioritizing and dropping is essential throughout life. There will never be a time when we can do it all perfectly! No one can.
Your Priorities Aren’t the Same as Mine
You and I have different responsibilities. We have different expectations in all areas of life. So your priorities aren’t going to be the same as mine.
If you’re still making your bread from scratch, that’s great! I had to drop it right now.
Are you hiring a sitter to get more undistracted time to work? Woo-hoo, do what works for you.
God made each of us unique. We are all different. And that’s okay.
So do what works for you, and stop worrying so much about what everyone else is doing. Remember that everyone tries to look good on social media. They really aren’t perfect all the time!
You’re only seeing a snapshot. You don’t know what it looks like outside of the camera frame.
So focus on you and your family. Make decisions that work for you, right now.
And deciding to fail at the rest is okay.
What Are You Deciding to Fail At?
I’d love to hear what expectations you’re lowering! Is your fridge a disaster too? Please share in the comments.
Lisa Tanner is a former teacher turned homeschooling mom with 11 kids. She's also a successful freelance writer. Lisa enjoys helping other busy moms find time to start and grow a side hustle of their own.