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Doing it all

Fat Mum Slim /

beach

One day last year I walked in to see my accountant, my head heavy with the flu and the onset of my very first ever cold sore on my lip. As soon as I sat down my accountant remarked, “I don’t know how you do it? You’re amazing.”

Amazing? Had she noticed the glistening of snot in my left nostril, or Clarissa {the cold sore} erupting on my bottom lip? Had she?

She could tell that I was puzzled. I think the perplexed look on my face was a dead giveaway, “You know the blog, the App, all the things and being a good mum as well. I don’t know how you do it all?!”

I laughed it off, wiped my nose and we got busy working out how much money I owed the kind people at the tax department.

For most of last year I didn’t feel like I was doing it all, at all. I didn’t feel amazing or inspiring or like I was a good… anything. I felt like I was treading water. I felt overwhelmingly overwhelmed most days. There was more than one day that I cried driving up the hill after school drop off because I just couldn’t do it all, and it felt hopeless {it wasn’t depression, just a huge sense of feeling overwhelmed}.

I was running a small business on my own without childcare, and taking care of two kids {one under two} and tackling a to-do list a mile long and never feeling like I was making an impact on that list at all. Ever. In fact, writing the bloody to-do list was too hard for me to do too. I couldn’t get a straight thought out of my head. I was dragging myself around each day, feeling like I was in a fog. I couldn’t get focused and I was just… knackered.

I wanted to do it all. Not for anyone else, but for myself… and I guess my family. I’ve always been driven, which I don’t know where it came from but since being a kid I’ve never stopped trying and thriving for something. I don’t know how to do nothing. Or to do less.

There were times regularly last year that I’d throw my hands up in the air in despair, and say to myself, “I give up! I can’t do it!”

Do it, being all the things I had to do. I was struggling with the juggle. Oh that stinking juggle.

The reality is, I wasn’t doing it all. I guess people thought I was doing it all. I even get emails now asking, “How do you do it all? How do you do it?”

The truth is, no one really does it all. No one. I think learning that was pivotal to me. It wasn’t that I was trying to keep up with anyone, but I honestly thought others were doing everything, and doing it well. I learned that something always has to give, and that it’s OK not to be a master of everything, because it’s really quite impossible.

We’re all just doing the best we can.

This year I made some big changes. I never planned on running my own business. It kinda just happened, and I have no experience in doing it. I’m photographing stuff, writing things, putting together invoices, answering all of the emails {except the ones that have sadly fallen to the bottom of my inbox} and being a wife/mum/friend/daughter/sister/human. Running a business is harder than I thought it looked. Sometimes I need outside help to make me realise that I don’t need to be a one-woman show.

My biggest struggle was around the whole balance thing. I work from home so I never really leave work. I wanted to be an awesome mum, and to be good at my job too, but I felt both were falling a little flat. Without childcare I didn’t know when I’d get an opportunity to get my next block of work done. I was all up in my head, and it was noisy.

This year I got help, and it’s made the biggest difference. I have a beautiful babysitter that comes two days a week to look after the girls and I work like a machine to get stuff done… and then the other days I focus on being mum, and I steal pockets of time to do little bits of work when Hubby is home. This has been a game changer for me. I still often feel overwhelmed, but nothing like last year.

Why am I writing this? I don’t know… I think because I want you to know that I don’t do it all. I drop balls. I eat Weet-bix for dinner regularly, but I definitely have more calm in my life this year than last year. And it’s all a work in progress.

And it’s good to remember that with anything online, you’re only ever getting a snapshot. I honestly believe that no one does it all, they just do the best they can. They’re human like the rest of us.

  • Great post Chantelle. The juggle is full on without Childcare. I know the juggle, the struggle and overwhelm well. I’ve also felt like I haven’t been my best self to my family or my work. But often those feelings are caused by high expectations that we put on ourselves. We are doing the best we can and we are being good stewards with the time we have. I too got a babysitter and do most work at night. I find being grateful that I can work from home and be present with my kids during the day, absorbs my feelings of feeling negative about the overwhelm. Hope you have a great day lovely. Xx

    • Bec, I’m glad you got some help too. It definitely makes a difference, doesn’t it? We’ll look back on these years and wonder how we did it, but be glad we did. xx

  • Yes to all these words! I have two days of Childcare for my miss 2.5 which is when I run my business. But then the washing starts jumping up and down at me or I need to take the car in for a service. And working at night I feel guilty for not spending time with hubby. But I just let it go. Some weeks the house is messy but I am happy because I have had MY time doing what I love – working. Other times the house sparkles while I wait for my creativity to pop back up. Baby number 2 is arriving in November and I’m slightly terrified how my world will change but the joy of another person in our house will be worth it!

    • Oh wow! Congratulations! I didn’t know you had a bub on the way. You have exciting times ahead. And bubs always change things, but always in a beautiful way. Oh gosh, I’d love another baby. Your news has made me clucky! xx

  • Tash

    Fabulous words! Thank you for acknowledging that no one is doing it all. We need to let go of what we believe ‘doing it all’ or ‘having it all’ should look like and choose to spend our time working on the purposeful stuff… Which is different for everyone. The rest can be delegated or supported by help. After all, the whole point is to enjoy the ride 🙂

  • I’m pleased you’ve got help and that you’ve found a way to juggle the struggle. This post reminds me of that saying “you can do anything but you can’t do everything” 🙂

  • Amen to getting help when you need it!

  • Charmaine

    I hear you ? I feel the same, when I’m head high in dried fruit orders that I struggle to do because I’m working my day job, when the pruning is looking at me (and I’m talking 17acres here) and I have to pack that fruit, when I can’t get to my gym classes because it’s all priority stuff…. When we get up at 4.30am on Saturday fortnight a to travel 2 and 1/4 hours to a farmers market where people genuinely love to see is and we love going there ? It’s tough! I’m lucky I don’t have little people.
    But in so saying, we are so blessed to have the opportunity and until we decide to give it all up, it’s one foot in front of the other here…. My lifestyle seriously makes it all worth while and even though I have little whinge fests, I am happy, humble and grateful and to have been given this opportunity ???

    • Oh gosh your business sounds delicious. I think when I’m burnt out and wishing I had a regular job, it’s good to step back and look at it all with a real sense of gratitude… because it’s important to be present and grateful, and give yourself a high five for all the hard work that has been put in.

      Keep putting one foot in front of the other. xx

  • Oh Chantelle, don’t worry we ALL feel like that. The reality is that as women, mothers and human beings we are going to feel like we are getting piled under the massive lists, jobs and obligations- I know I do regularly!
    I guess, as you said, we are all human and it’s all about asking for a hand and just keeping on going! I’m so glad you have some help in the form of a babysitter- I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have the support of friends and family nearby to help with the kids when I’m in need! But you are an inspiration to so many women, because you are achieving so much, whilst being pretty much in the same situation as a lot of us- you are a Mum, a wife and yet you produce a beautiful blog, etc- don’t forget, we think you rock hon!! 🙂

  • Gold Coast Mum

    Gosh I hear you! I have 2 child-free days a week to get as much work done as possible when my 2yo twins and 4yo are all at kindy.
    The rest of the week I start work when the kids go to bed and stay up til way past midnight to get it done. But I love it. It’s a constant juggle isn’t it! :-O Lauren xx

    • It is! And one week you can think you’ve got it sorted, and the next it comes crumbling down. I don’t know… it’s a juggle!

  • I relate in so many ways to this! I felt that pressure of having to do it all and for some reason asking for help was completely out of the question. Then I burned out and finally asked and I am finally starting to see a glimmer of myself again. Love seeing other moms have the same thoughts and paths and that we’re all in this together 🙂 cheers from Texas!

    • Isn’t it beautiful finding yourself again? Like laughing and being joyous and not a shadow of your former self. I like that. Here’s to more happy days. xx

  • Oh my gosh, I’m perpetually exhausted! I’m working full time, running a blog and being a single Mum to 4 girls. Trying to find time for myself, look after the house and make time for the kids is a constant juggle!

  • Sarah @sarahdipityblog

    Thanks for sharing this Chantalle, I think it’s always important to remember that we can’t do it all!

  • The juggle is threatening to overwhelm right now, just so much work to get done in a short amount of time and no one to mind my ‘baby’ while he family daycare mum away… it’s a battle but we’ll get there x

    • Oh Em. I hope you can get through it. Too much work is a good thing, too much stress isn’t. 🙁

  • Tanya Day

    Chantelle, you’ve captured the feeling and reality of being divided between being a mummy and an engaged member of the workforce, especially in a IT connected world. I’m glad you got help to balance the juggle a little better. I’ve trodden the same path and like you, went too far one way on the continuum before admitting that I needed help with the house and extra babysitting. It seems you have to experience the extremes before you can find your ‘happy place’. Thanks for sharing your journey. X

    • I think we just want to try and see if we can make it happen, and then it gets so hard we have no choice but to surrender! Or maybe we’re just suckers!

  • Jenni from styling curvy

    Oh I feel ya. You can have it all but just not all at once. Good for you for getting some help X

  • Tash Jay

    Oh this speaks to me! With a few substitutions I could have written it myself. Running a small business is HARD, especially when you’re doing it all (and learning it all) yourself. Add in trying to parent & keep on top of other work, study, life responsibilities and it gets to be pretty much impossible. Over the last year I decided to allow myself a little breathing space & just accept my business would crawl (or limp!) along so I could enjoy the time with my baby.
    You have such a lovely way of speaking to people in a way they can relate & keeping it real <3 Thank you!

    • Oh thanks Tash. The kids are only little, so I don’t care in my business plateaus for a while. I just want to make sure that I never look back and think, “I wish I’d spent more time with the kids.”

  • Luckily I learned how to outsource the works for my online business because doing it all is such a hard work.

    God Bless! | Brotherly Creative | Instagram

  • Dannielle

    Love this, thank you Chantelle. Keep fighting the good fight and I will too!

  • I’m halfway through writing a piece called “Having it all feels like shit” but ironically I haven’t had time to finish it!!! GOOD ON YOU for getting some help in to mind the girls — I have never quite understood how anyone works with young kids under hoof without going craaAaaaAzy. This will be so much better!!! xxx

  • Lauren Russo – Love_Live_Loz

    Oh I feel ya lady! Last month, after 2.5years at home (with a 5yo now started school and a 2yo), pregnant with my third and while living in our shed while our house is renovated, I decided to go back to work because I felt like it was what I was supposed to do.

    I did two days, (involving morning daycare drop, school drop, work, school pick up, daycare pick up) served my kids pre-packaged slop for dinner (because: knackered) and ended the day with a two hour panick attack resulting in an asthma attack and crying myself to sleep with the worry if how the heck I was going to “do it all” (read: do lots of stuff all in a half arsed manner). I couldn’t do it. I quit the following Monday and for a VERY short time I felt like I had failed. Then my amazing hubby reminded me that actually I was being an amazing mother and wife and I quickly got over my self feeling like a failure. For now, doing what I’m doing feels like enough, and that’s ok.

    • Lauren, I love this story… not because of the struggle but because you tried and quickly realised what wasn’t working and did something about it.

      Sometimes what we’re supposed to do isn’t what we should be doing at all. xxx

  • Brilliant Chantelle. You’ve said what we all feel all. the. time. Thank you. Just… thank you. x

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