Looking at ourselves and the world through the lens of the 21st century.

Monday, September 5, 2022

What Did Tyra Banks Choose?

Last fall, not long after Amber, Christen, and I decided we wanted to start a blog and podcast, I turned on the TV and caught the tail end of a local morning show interviewing Tyra Banks. The show was mostly background noise while I got squared away to do some work at my desk, but something the supermodel said caught my attention, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. The hostess asked the busy mom what her biggest challenge was, and Banks answered that some days it came down to a decision between whether to brush her teeth or take a shower. Now I don’t recall if that’s exactly what she said, and, honestly, I couldn’t even tell you what show she was on or even what station it was. The only thing that stuck with me was the concept of being so busy, so overcommitted, overburdened, and inundated with obligations that you don’t even have time for proper grooming. I’ve been there, and I bet just about every working mom in America (maybe the world) has been there (or something akin to it), too.

Rather than get off into a diatribe about why women seem to feel like we have to prove our worth by taking on everything and then beat ourselves up over it when we think we’ve failed (that is a whole episode of its own, girlfriend!), I want to talk about how we can stop this self-immolating behavior and bring a more realistic balance into our lives.

  • Set boundaries and KEEP them! Others will stop expecting you to take on the world when YOU stop expecting it of yourself. No one is perfect, and forgetting to pay a bill or serving dinner an hour late does not make you a failure. Know what your limits are, and don’t let others push you beyond them. 

  • Learn to say “NO!” and mean it. No means no. So when the PTA asks you if you can host the teacher luncheon at the last minute, do not let them pressure you into doing it. You are not their last and only hope. All those other people turned them down for a reason – they set boundaries and kept them. Say “no”, my friend, and don’t feel guilty about it at all. Your kids’ education will not suffer because you don’t have time to order catering.

  • Use an Eisenhower matrix. Remember that Eisenhower matrix we keep talking about? List out your tasks and responsibilities (all of them!) based on whether they are urgent/not urgent and important/not important. Schedule anything important that you can postpone and then DELEGATE anything you can delegate – get it OFF your plate. That includes everything that falls into the “not important” category, leaving only the urgent and important tasks for you to tackle. Use the matrix DAILY if needed.

  • Get realistic about what you CAN actually do. My therapist once asked me to make a timeline to prove to myself that my expectations were unreasonable. By writing out all the things that needed to happen and assigning time to accomplish them, I could see that I had taken on too much. I bet you will, too. Make a timeline and DOUBLE the time it takes to do each task. Yes, double. Tasks almost always take more time than we think they will. The bonus is that if you finish the task ahead of schedule, you’ve got some nice free time.

  • Did I mention boundaries? I say it again because this is one area where we often tend to forget the rules. Remind yourself and remind your family, set expectations for their contributions, and hold them to the boundaries you have set.

  • Create “ME” time for self-care. You should never have to choose between things that are necessary to your health -  they are your FIRST priority, before any of those other obligations. You cannot take care of others if you are falling apart yourself.

  • Ask for help! Just because a task is YOUR responsibility does NOT mean you have to take it on alone. Running behind making dinner? Get your spouse or kids to lend a hand. Work has you stressed out? Maybe a coworker can pitch in to help you get caught up or can give you some tips on how to stay on top of things. Ask your child to alphabetize your filing or open the mail. Get your partner to help you make the bed or dry the dishes. Many hands make light work, and sometimes the act of doing those tasks together creates opportunities for communication and bonding. That’s a big win, my friend.

  • Live a life of gratitude and forgiveness. Sometimes things fall through the cracks. Be gentle with yourself. None of us are perfect. Be grateful for what you have accomplished (make a list if you need to!) and forgive yourself for the rest. Tomorrow is a new day and another opportunity to start over again. 

I don’t know if Tyra Banks decided to brush her teeth or take a shower, but I don’t think that’s a decision anyone should ever have to make. This pressure that we put on ourselves to do ALL the things is not realistic, and it only hurts us in the end. We don’t have to be a perfect mom to be a GREAT mom, and there’s plenty of room to give ourselves grace and a realistic sense of what we can do. So the next time you feel pressure to get it all done at the expense of your own self-care, ask yourself, “Who is expecting me to do all this, and why?” Chances are, the answer is you.

Can you relate to Tyra Banks? Have you mastered the art of juggling your obligations without sacrificing self-care? We’d love to hear about it. Share your story in the comments below or over on our MMC Chat Facebook group. 

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