If there’s one thing I can vouch for since becoming a mom, it’s when someone says, “There’s no tired in the world like mom tired.” They aren’t lying. A mother’s plate is constantly overflowing with more to do than we could ever possibly have time for. But does it have to be that way? Are there benefits to doing less? Is that the key to achieving more fulfillment in motherhood?
The thought of doing less might sound daunting to many of us. But it is possible (with a bit of intentionality and willpower) to lighten our motherhood loads and reprioritize what is and isn’t most worthy of our precious, limited time. While this is bound to look different for every mom, you will reap numerous benefits by doing less.
Doing Less is Freeing for Moms
Between the inevitable social media comparison game, casual playgroup conversations, and society, moms face much pressure to do it all. Raise happy, healthy, considerate, and bright kids. Sign them up for sports and extracurriculars every season and get them to weekly activities. Plan the most Pinterest-worthy birthday parties and the most exciting family vacations. Come up with the most creative, kid-friendly meals.
All that and more, on top of everyday duties such as work (or 24/7 child-rearing), taking care of the home, and maintaining relationships. All while (hopefully) making room for self-care. However, when we let go of the notion that we must do it all, we can begin to breathe. And relish in the freedom of simply experiencing motherhood for what it is: our own unique journey. And the benefits of doing less don’t stop there.
Doing Less Teaches Our Children Balance and Rest
When we stop aiming to do it all, we begin enjoying whatever “it all” is that matters. I don’t know about you, but if I could pick between a quiet (who are we kidding, probably still chaotic) Saturday morning at home, cozied up in pajamas with my tiny humans enjoying cartoons and box mix pancakes, or scrambling out the door to one kid’s soccer practice followed by another’s fourth playdate of the week and our third trip to the grocery store in two days, I’d pick the former. As moms, it’s easy to get caught up in the habit of going nonstop, day in and day out. When we stop to ask ourselves why we need to do so – and then decide to slow down – we teach our children the importance of not running on empty.
Doing Less Allows Us to Do More of What We Value
It’s natural for moms to want to give their kids the best of everything, experiences included. Are we really trying to do it all for their sake, though? Or are we filling our refrigerator calendar with what we’re interested in for our kiddos? Scaling back on the weekly family schedule allows us to rethink what interests everyone. This allows everyone’s cups to be filled with genuinely fulfilling things.
Doing Less Benefits Our Health and Well-Being
When we fill our to-do lists with less of the unnecessary, we have more time to focus on being the most content we can be. Whether this means soaking in the tub for a solid 20 minutes, resting our bodies, getting out in nature, or nourishing our minds and souls with a cup of tea and a good book, this gift keeps giving. When we do less, we set an example for our children to prioritize their health and well-being. That’s a lesson they’ll appreciate as they grow older and navigate their habits of “doing” vs. “being.”
Doing Less Allows Us to Write Our Motherhood Stories
It’s easy to get caught up in wanting to keep up with what everyone else is doing. But a benefit of doing less allows us to craft every chapter of our motherhood journeys in a way that’s authentic to ourselves and our families. When we cut out the noise and look within to discover what’s worth making time for, we can define our motherhood experiences on our terms. This is where real joy lives.
Tips and Tricks for Doing Less
Remember Who You Were Before Becoming a Mom
Reflecting on the hobbies and interests you once had can help you to think about what you want in life now. Is everything you’ve got going on honoring who you are at your core? If not, it might be time to rethink what’s on your plate.
List What Is and Isn’t Working for Your Family
This requires everyone to have a say and to be on the same page. Even if your children are young, their input should be considered regarding activities. Everyone will be happier when decisions are made together.
Schedule Regular Rest and Relaxation Time
Downtime should be just as much a priority as everything else and should be noted by pen and paper.
Set Boundaries and Stick to Them
Saying no is crucial to learning to be comfortable with doing less. Setting boundaries (with others and yourself) can take some practice and getting used to, but you’ll be glad to have the skill in your toolbox for reprioritizing.
Being a mom can be exhausting, but it doesn’t have to be all-consuming. Even more, it shouldn’t have to be draining, and there are benefits to doing less. Although the pressure to do it all as a mom is real, the option to slow down and do less is, too. When it comes to the choices we make in motherhood, letting go of the drive to do more than what’s healthy (for ourselves and our kids) might just be exactly what’s needed to have it all.