What Matters Most

In this installment of Tough Love, Anissa Mayhew from Aiming Low offers her advice on how to balance work, kids and all of your other responsibilities.

tough love

Busy mom on the phone

Tough Love with Anissa Mayhew

The question

I'm trying to balance my life -- work, my kids, my family and all of my responsibilities. And I feel like I'm failing miserably. In fact, I've felt like this for five years -- that's how many years I've been a mom. Is this just a feeling or am I really failing? And what can I do?

Anissa answers

What matters most?

As the editor of a site named Aiming Low, I'm tempted to tell you to just grab a cocktail and relax. In all honesty, we've all felt that way one time or another about one thing or another. What you have to remember is that there are things that MATTER and things that matter to those that have enough time to get all judge-y. There are only so many hours in the day and if you get to spend some of those hours with your family and kids you've done what's important. Everything else that can be bought, replaced or dipped in chocolate can wait...some wait a little easier than others.

People before things

There are few things in life that are irreplaceable. I've been in the situation where I had the vital things spotlit. When you're lucky to be alive, you find that your definition of "failing" changes. Your expectations of what you SHOULD be doing needs to be replaced with what you CAN do. Your expectations should never put "things" in front of "people". EVER.

We can be told that not having a spotless house, spotless children and spotless record happy marriage is a sure sign of failure. Did we mention the job you're keeping too? When you hear the voice that tells you that you should be doing more, doing BETTER, kindly tell that voice to SHUT UP.

If you were really a failure as a person, you would fail to care.

You have obligations that matter beyond any other. They can't be done by anyone else but you. Go for walks when there are dirty dishes. Clothes will wait to be folded until you have played hopscotch. You can ignore dust long enough for that cuddle with your honey.

I hope you will learn to stop being so hard on yourself. If not, make giving yourself a break one of the responsibilities you have to yet do.

You'll get my point one way or the other.

  About Tough Love

Tough Love

We're taking your parenting questions and asking for advice from some of the web's most popular mom bloggers. These thoughtful moms are not afraid to tell you exactly what they think. The result? Tough Love.

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Comments on "How do I balance work, my kids, my family and all of my responsibilities?"

Connie Dossin February 10, 2011 | 5:45 PM

I love you, Anissa. This is me totally squishing you. You are brilliant.

jessica February 09, 2011 | 9:22 AM

you always know how to put things in perspective. Being a single mother gives me even more of a reason to say I suck as a mother. I do the best that I can. I ask no more of my kid, so why should I ask more of myself

Erin February 07, 2011 | 7:14 PM

This is the same advice that my mother has always given any mother she runs in to..and it's probably some of the best advice anyone can give or get. Even though I don't have kids...I'm living with a six month old baby and his mom..and we all need reminders to slow down, to not worry so much about all of the things we use to be able to do and to take what comes...to enjoy the giggles, the smiles and forget that there is a sink full of dishes..and a room full of laundry..because they'll get done eventually and in the grand scheme of things..they're not that big of a deal. Plus, if the years go by as fast as the last six months have..we will be living with a teenager who wouldn't even think about being seen in public with us by next week. Teenagers TOTALLY do their own laundry..right? My mom use to always sing a song (I have NO idea what it is..Strike that. Google tells me that it's a Canadian folk singer that my Mom LOVES.) that goes: Relax, what's your hurry Why don't you slow down Relax, what's your worry The world will still keep goin' round It's so true..as are all of your beautiful words! Thanks for the reminder to slow down and just..enjoy life..exactly what I needed to hear right now :)

Jennifer L February 07, 2011 | 3:09 PM

This really made me feel better: "If you were really a failure as a person, you would fail to care." And with that, I am going to leave the clothes in the dryer and the dishes in the sink and go read "The Magic School Bus Arctic Adventure" to the kids.

Jessica Gottlieb February 07, 2011 | 12:01 PM

This makes me feel so much better, especially since the last time you were in my house I'm pretty sure you helped me make the beds. Oy.

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