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How I Discovered the Joy-Sucking Lie About Not Having It All

Have you ever come upon a sentiment that brought about instant shame because the connotation behind it? Years ago, I remember stumbling upon a sentiment that went something like this: 'My house might be a mess, but my kids are happy.’ Stay with me here, even if this statement has never struck you. See how you can apply the idea behind this blog to something similar for you!


This is what instinctively happens in the mind of an analytical thinker:

Clean house = not good mom.

Clean house = not happy kids.


For many years, I believed spending time cleaning meant I was lacking as a mom. At the time, I wasn't aware of challenging such thoughts. The notion that a clean house equated to sacrificing family time was deeply ingrained in me, reinforced by frequent reminders. This popular sentiment left me feeling guilty and ashamed whenever I heard it. And guess what? Feeling guilty and ashamed only made it harder to show up as my best self, reinforcing the sense of lack I already felt.


Fairly recently, I underwent a strengths assessment known as CliftonStrengths. It was during this assessment that I discovered a natural ability I had previously overlooked: the knack for accomplishing a significant amount in a surprisingly short time span.


After recognizing this ability, I reflected on the sentiment that had previously troubled me and realized it was possible to maintain a clean house while still ensuring my loved ones were well cared for. While some might see it as an 'either/or' scenario, for many, it isn't. Though I wasn't with my kids every moment, I made deliberate efforts to engage with them and provide enriching experiences. I took them to library story times, organized playdates at the park, and volunteered in their classrooms. I prioritized reading to them and singing bedtime songs each night. Additionally, I actively sought out and supported activities they enjoyed, arranging transportation to music lessons, dance classes, sports, and school events.


Am I claiming to have the perfect house or be the perfect mom? Definitely not! But balancing both is achievable and fulfilling.


Here are some other sneaky ways this same joy-sucking lie can manifest:

  • Advancing in a career OR being a 'good' dad.

  • Having good grades OR maintaining a fulfilling social life.

  • Being productive at work OR risking burnout.

  • Having a career OR being a 'good' mom.


When being highly efficient and driven is in your strength skillset, it's essential to challenge the assumption that it's an either/or situation. Instead, ask yourself: How can I achieve both? How DO I achieve both? And if you happen to be one where it truly does need to be a choice, kudos to you for prioritizing in a way that is aligned with your values.


As always, I invite you to share your experiences with this concept or add your thoughts to the comment section!


High Five!


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