I Can’t Be Everything All at Once
Updated: Apr 10, 2021
I often feel pulled in a million different directions. I used to think that was just the standard as a working mom. Then I became a stay-at-home mom and realized the tugging didn’t end with my resignation. Then I became a part-time SAHM, part-time teacher—and the pulling remained. Finally, I thought working from home would be the perfect fit, but the feeling of being stretched to the max remained. In my 13 years as a mom, I’ve been all types, and no matter the situation, the stretched-thin feeling remained.
No matter my job title, I constantly felt like I was bad at something.
Sitting around the table playing a game with my kids, toys and laundry scattered all over—I’m such a bad homemaker.
Working late on my computer while my husband heads to bed alone—I’m such a bad wife.
Running through my unfinished to-do list at work while loading the dishwasher—I’m such a bad employee.
Noticing an unanswered text on my phone—I’m such a bad friend.
Watching my preschooler on the iPad as I sit at my computer—I’m such a bad mom.
Realizing how long it’s been since I’ve called my mom—I’m such a bad daughter.
The failure to be able to do everything all at once settled deep.
I multi-tasked. I made lists. I tried to schedule time. But I couldn’t stop thinking about what I wasn’t getting done. And that’s exactly where the problem was.
We cannot be everything all at once.
But you know who can?
He is our Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). He goes before us and vows never to leave us (Deuteronomy 31:8). He is, was, and is to come (Revelation 1:8).
I cannot be everything all at once, but I can rely on the One who can. So I asked God for wisdom, for help in taking my thoughts captive and making them obedient to Him.
My productivity and priorities were not the problem—my mindset was.
When I finally admitted I cannot be everything (wife, mom, employee, friend, daughter) all at once, I freed myself to focus on being one thing right now.
And so I shifted my mindset . . .
With my two littles in the bath, I fought the urge to pull the laundry basket next to the bathtub. Instead, I giggled with my splashing kiddos and told myself, “Right now, I’m being a good mom.”
Later with my laptop open and my daughter watching Netflix, I reminded myself, “Right now, I’m being a good employee.”
When my kids begged me to play a millionth game of UNO, I kindly told them to play on their own and then turned to the dishes. “Right now, I’m being a good homemaker.”
Sitting next to my husband on the couch eating takeout after feeding the kids leftovers, I thought, “Right now, I’m being a good wife.”
And every once in a while, when I linger a few extra minutes in a hot shower or sneak away for a walk all by myself, I know, “Right now, I’m being good at taking care of me.”
Mom guilt is real. So is daughter guilt, wife guilt, work guilt, house guilt, friend guilt.
We fight it every day in so many ways. As women, sometimes, it seems as though guilt is our primary emotion.
We must fight that guilt, which we often impose upon ourselves. We must acknowledge our feelings and alter our thoughts. With a little help from the Holy Spirit, we can refocus.
Instead of, “I’m such a bad __,” we can think, “Right now I’m being a good __.”
Those words have changed my attitude. God has used them to change my heart. And now I repeat them often.
I hope you’ll claim them as your own, too. I hope you find the strength to fight the guilt. I hope you are able to recognize the good instead of dwelling on the bad. I hope you celebrate all you’ve done instead of being trapped by what you haven’t. I hope you resist the urge to try to be everything all at once and instead rely on the One who is.