Every now and then when my husband tries to get me to help with plans he’s made for me, I’ll break down into a recollection of what I’ve already done to help him this week (because I have my own stuff to do- hello), and he usually replies with, “You can do more.”
Now don’t get me wrong, he says this in his smirky, smart-ass kind of way and then moves on about his business, but deep down, I sometimes feel guilty because I CAN DO MORE.
I mean we all can, right?
There’s 24 hours in a day and we’re already doing about 30 hours of work in the time we have, but I'm sure we can do more.
The questions is, should we?
Obviously, if you feel like you can do more and want to, go for it.
But when the constant notion of “I can do more” does not help you to do MORE but rather pushes you to the brink of exhaustion or burn out - it’s no good.
The constant thought alone, creates pressure and lasting guilt in us.
We could have done more, but we didn’t and now what?
The kids are fed, the house is clean, and that project for work is almost done, but there’s still laundry and organizing and helping your partner with their projects.
Do you do more or do you eat that cold dinner that’s waiting for you and finally get some sleep?
Telling ourselves constantly that we can and SHOULD be doing more doesn't only apply added pressure to us, but it contributes to the belief that we aren’t enough-and as women, we definitely don’t need anything else to add to that.
It also gets in our way of making progress.
Yes, this is definitely an area of self-sabotage. Each time we measure ourselves up against these impossible standards, we create internal beliefs about who we are and what we are capable of that will cause us to hold ourselves back in the future.
I believe the message of "you can do more" originated to encourage us to do more, if we are able, for others, for our community, and for our world. It was meant to extend beyond our personal little bubble. I'm pretty sure it was NOT intendeding to turn us into a bunch of caffeine addicted working moms buying into hustle culture who are always exhausted and feeling like we’re disappointing everyone.
Yet here we are.
If you’re constantly feeling like you should be doing more, I encourage you to make a daily “It’s done” list. Like a to-do list, but rather than focusing on an endless list of things to accomplish (with most of them not being crossed out), it’s a list of all the things we did on top of the usual stuff. You know, like making sure our kids, plants, and/or pets are still alive and that all of us are aesthetically and hygienically pleasing.
My list from yesterday would look like this:
This was in addition to the normal stuff- work, sending out client messages and emails, making sure my family ate, washed a load of laundry, did the dishes at least twice, took the kids to school, showered, etc.
You know how it goes.
But looking at my list (or running through it mentally) reminds me and my brain that:
1) I can do more and I often DO do more.
2) I am doing the best I can.
3) I am enough.
4) I get ish done!
We all need to remind ourselves of not only what we CAN do, but WHAT WE ARE ALREADY DOING.
Now, when my husband retorts with his smart ass remark, “You can do more.” I reply, "I can always do more, but today, I’ve done enough. “