Q) Your idea to declutter our plates totally speaks to me! I overflow my plate and I barely juggle it! But, my main problem is that I consider all my To Dos as being Have Tos. It’s easy to clean my plate and take things off, but then I keep looking at all the things that aren’t getting done, and I get stressed out. What can I do to be okay with taking them off?
Just about every mom falls into this trap of trying to simplify her life only to stress over all the things that aren’t getting done. As the guilt grows, more things get piled back on her plate.
That’s why a balanced mindset is such an important part of a balanced life. Not only do we need to remove some To Dos from our plate, but we also need to remove them from our minds for the time being.
Get out of your own way
I love this quote from Brene Brown (and if you don’t know who she is, you must watch this).
“If we really want to live a joyful, connected, and meaningful life, we must talk about the things that get in the way.”
We get in our own way when we beat ourselves up for what we’re not doing.
We get in our own way when we compare our plate to someone else’s.
We get in our own way when we tell ourselves that we should be doing something more productive instead of taking time for ourselves.
Guilt and shame get in the way. Our belief that we are not good enough as we are gets in the way.
We can get out of our own way by staying focused. When you get the Shoulds (think mental shits) and beat yourself up, use your decluttered plate as a reminder of where you need to focus.
Be confident in your decision of what is important for you and your family right now.
Get your priorities straight
When that guilt rears its ugly head, remember that your plate is temporary. It is full of what is a priority in your life now.
Just because you’re choosing to focus on one thing versus another doesn’t mean you will never address that other issue. It will get a turn on the plate when it makes sense to prioritize that issue or task.
Take Jessica for example:
She probably had the fullest plate of anyone I had worked with. She was trying to balance a growing business, a busy home life with three small girls, and the need for a bigger house now that their youngest was starting to walk. Her plate was overflowing, and she was overwhelmed!
She and her husband had to get their house ready to sell and save money for a new house. Unfortunately, their finances were a mess.
In order to prioritize their finances, we had to take some things off her plate.
Creating a budget took priority over fixing up their house. Once they achieved some financial balance, she would be able to shift her plate around to focus on other things.
Every time she started to feel bad about what wasn’t on her plate, Jessica reminded herself of the budget. She was reassured by the fact that getting their finances in order was a necessary first step to her overall goal buying a bigger home.
Staying focused on our priorities can help us overcome that nagging Should voice that says, ‘You really should be doing this instead of that.’
Tired of Should-ing all over yourself? Signup for my Finding Balance eCourse and learn how to stop the flow of negativity.
Click HERE to download my free Clean Your Plate life decluttering guide.
Amanda is a licensed counselor with a practice in Westfield, just north of Indianapolis. She counsels worry warts, distant couples & also offers online coaching packages for busy moms who want to have it all on their terms. She lives with her husband, two boys, and not-to-be-ignored cat Sphinx.