I get a lot of comments these days saying something to the effect of, “I don’t know how you keep up with all the things you’re doing. You must be superwoman!”
While I do appreciate this sentiment, the truth is I am not superwoman. Actually, I’m not super-anything. I don’t have any super powers, unless you count my ability to sense when the toddler is up to no good, and I could never pull off a skin tight super hero outfit.
I am ordinary…and that’s okay.
Most of us are ordinary. Perhaps even all of us are ordinary (unless you happen to be the actual superwoman reading this, in which case I’m willing to concede that you are more than ordinary).
We’re all doing the best we can inside each of our unique circumstances.
I used to think that in order to be successful, one had to be constantly in motion. But the more I push my way through this ordinary life of mine, the more I realize that success comes in the quiet moments – those quiet pockets of time when the frenzy dies down.
A few years ago, I attended a conference that was designed specifically for moms. On the second day, a woman stood in front of us, and she acknowledged the obvious: Moms don’t have a lot of time.
“What do you do,” she asked, “when you want to build your business, but the children are clamoring at your feet, and the moments in your day are parsed out?”
I leaned forward, ready to accept her answer to this question that often left me befuddled.
“You do one thing every day,” she said. The room was silent as a hundred moms with dreams soaked in this freeing nugget of wisdom.
“You can’t do all the things when you’re a mom, but you can do one thing. So do one thing every day that helps grow your business, develops your ideas, makes you money – whatever it is you’re working toward, keep pressing on, one step at a time.”
Yesterday was one of those days that seemed to spiral out of control. Between homeschool and toddlerhood, and all the life that crept into the cracks of my day, I found myself antsy and frustrated.
There simply wasn’t any time yesterday for me to sit and work.
By 8:00, I felt panic beginning to well up in my chest. I just wanted the kids to go to bed so the house would grow quiet, and I could find a moment to complete a thought.
It was 9:30 before I found that moment, and by then I was so exhausted the thoughts were tangled together, and I just wanted to go to bed myself, but I knew that if I could do just one thing I’d sleep a little more soundly.
As a writer, I’m finding this process of marketing books in the new media age to be rather intimidating. I’m not good with video or images – I’m a word girl. Facebook is my happy place because WORDS, all the WORDS!
Instagram bores me, and Pinterest intimidates me, and don’t even get me started on Periscope. But I need to step outside of this little comfortable box of mine, and I need to learn how to better utilize these online tools. So before bed, I went to Pinterest and poked around a bit.
I added a few photos to some character boards I’m developing for my book launch, and I looked at what other authors are doing on that platform.
This didn’t take a lot of time, and it didn’t require me to formulate any ideas. This was my one thing and it was all I had, but you know what?
I slept like a rock last night.
Doing one thing every day frees us up to enjoy the bigger picture. This season of my mothering life doesn’t offer loads of free time. I’ve got slivers of time in each day, and so I have to utilize those slivers to the best of my ability.
I slept so well last night because I went to bed knowing I’d done one thing. I didn’t toss and turn all night, chasing down ideas or fighting bitterness at all the stolen hours of my day. I felt a peace knowing I’d done something – one something – to get better at my job.
There will be other days when I can conquer my to-do list; days when the house is quiet and I can do a slew of book-related things. But those days are not the norm.
So I’ll keep doing one thing every day, then focus my attention on the children clamoring at my feet. And in this way, I manage to survive this ordinary, maybe even slightly extraordinary, life.