The Most Important Lesson I Learned From My Mom

My mom has always been a strong woman. Honestly I admire her for all she’s been able to accomplish in her life. She built a blossoming career and a loving family. She climbed the corporate ladder while raising her daughters to be strong, smart, and hard-working. I have often sat in awe wondering how in the world she did it all.

Now that I’m a mom, I’m even more astounded with my mother. I have often found myself feeling overwhelmed with all the tasks I need to accomplish as a wife, mother, and writer. How am I supposed to be there emotionally for my family while earning money and getting a home cooked meal on the table every night? It seems impossible! And then my mom told me something recently that changed everything. I was lamenting to her about feeling overwhelmed when she said, “You can’t do it all, and that’s okay.”

Up until then I was believing the lie that I was supposed to do everything. Isn’t that what society tells us women? We’re expected to be perfect, spinning many plates at once, juggling many responsibilities, and doing it well. We’re told that we can have it all, but can we? I’m a feminist raised by feminists, I definitely believe in the strength of women. But the truth of the matter is, no one can do everything. If we try to do everything on our own, we will fail. Something will fall by the wayside. That’s why it’s important to have a support system. It’s important to have a strong community to lean on. It’s important to identify our weaknesses and ask for help.

When I look back at my childhood this is exactly what my mom did. When I was young, we lived next door to family. There were times when my aunt would take me to school in the morning and my uncle would pick me up. My mom never enjoyed cooking so my grandmother would step in and prepare dinner most nights. My dad shared many of the household duties with my mother. It wasn’t uncommon to see both of them folding laundry at the end of the day instead of just my mom.

I don’t have to feel guilty about not doing it all. I am thankful to have family and friends around to help me. They step in when I need childcare so I can work. They give me meal and budgeting tips when my mind draws a blank. They play with my kids when I’m tired and need a break. I don’t do it all. I can’t do it all. And that’s perfectly okay with me.

I’m thankful that my mom shared her secret with me. Otherwise I would have gone on believing that I was a failure. I would have continued in life feeling stressed all the time. Instead I can breathe a sigh of relief and make room in my life for a helpful village.