I can't come to the party this weekend. Yes, it is because I am hugely pregnant, but also, I don't really want to. Not right now, at least.
As women, we have all heard the notion that you can "have it all" right? A career, a family, a relationship, friends, hobbies, ALL OF IT. All at once. Yessirree, we can have it all and do it all but lately, the thing is, I don't even want to do it all, because quite frankly, that sounds exhausting. I'm ready to embrace the not doing it all, the saying "Nah, I think I'll pass". Because I'm too busy to do it? No, because I don't want to be "too busy", and guess what? I won't give you an excuse for not doing it either.
Have you ever noticed, the more things you say yes to, the more people ask you to do? It's a vicious cycle that people can fall into (I'm just going to say it here, it's usually women) where the more they do, the more that gets asked of them to do. Makes sense, since the line of thinking is probably "Well, she seems like she's willing to help out, let's ask her first". And as women, some of us just don't feel comfortable saying no. We can make time, we can fit it in, we can help out. Lean in. Make it work. Make it happen. The problem is that you will always get asked, you will always find something that needs to be done, so being able to accomplish and go to everything is not even achievable. And since when is "I'm just really tired" not an acceptable excuse? Is that not valid anymore? Tiredness is real, especially as a parent, and the only thing that cures it? Rest. Not doing stuff.
Don't get me wrong, helping out and volunteering and giving your time and spending time with friends is great, if you have the time to do it. But if you don't, you also don't need to feel guilty about it. We as women don't prioritize down time, with the kids or just for ourselves, and we sometimes confuse down time with "free time". That isn't free time, ladies, just because you might not have an appointment or a practice to bring the kids to or something on the books doesn't mean you need to fill it. Let it be open. Do nothing. Don't be ashamed about doing nothing. This time isn't free, it is incredibly valuable, and you should choose how you spend it wisely, and guess what? Kids need down time just as much as you do. Time to do nothing.
The simple truth is, there really are just so many hours in a day, and so many things you can cram into a day, and unless you prioritize what needs to get done first, you'll risk winding up doing everything only halfway. Studies have shown that we are actually less effective when attempting to multitask. Even when we think we have accomplished more in less time, in reality we are getting less done, we are doing it with less accuracy and depth, and we remember less about it later. Doing more at once robs all our activities of the attention they deserve, and rather than experiencing life, we are just checking things off a to do list that will never actually be done.
The other truth is, our lives as parents change so much. What we don't have time for now we will have time for when the children are older, so why try to cram it all in at once? Sure, my social life might be pretty non-existent right now, but that's because my plate is full with other stuff (okay it's mostly children right now). The other day Facebook's little "Timehop" feature reminded me of a time when I was riding horses three times a week, taking polo lessons, and competed in horse shows on a regular basis (see the photo above, yes that is ME six years ago and three pregnancies ago). Sure, I haven't been on a horse now in, well, it's been a while, but there will be time for it again. And the truth is, I don't even really have "time for myself", let along a ton of other things right now. Maybe I turn down the party invites or the social engagements because really I'd rather be in bed by 8 than really do anything at this point (yay sleep!) but that won't always be the case, and I'm okay with being a homebody who is more interested in what's on Bravo tonight than what's on the menu at the local hot restaurant tonight. I have no qualms about using my kids as an excuse to skip the party, because they are the best excuse out there, and one day in the future, I'll join you, just not this weekend. This weekend I'll be staying in and watching Norm of the North and going to bed about fifteen minutes after the kids do, and I will be so happy doing it.