This week has been a week of recovery for me. I went a conference about 2 weeks ago and I just now feel like I’ve got the house back in order. Keeping the house in order has been a struggle even before having a kid.
You see, in 2009 I stepped down from my Administrative Assistant job and decided to be a stay at home spouse. After about 1 month of sleeping in and running errands, my entrepreneur itch kicked in and I started trying to find ways to make money from home.
I experimented with a few different projects but ultimately there were times I was neglecting housework. That led to a little conflict because my husband didn’t understand why the dishes were dirty when I was a stay at home spouse. It was an excellent question. One that I actually struggled with. I felt guilty working on anything other than housework because that was basically my only job at that point. But since then, I’ve grown to understand myself a little better.
First of all, I’ve never been diagnosed with ADD but when I read the symptoms I exhibit about 98% of them. (Note- I didn’t say ADHD.) I just lack focus and it genuinely feels like an uphill battle most of the time to be focused on stuff.
Then came the kid…
So when I had a baby it all got amplified by 1 million and the worst part was that my perfectionist side kicked in during the newborn season.
Therefore I tried to put myself on a rigid daily schedule in my life when my life had just had a MAJOR change. That’s not a good combination. I felt extremely guilty. Guilty that I couldn’t nurse better than I was. Guilty that I was too tired to clean. Guilty that I wasn’t giving everything the attention it needed or deserved. I had to fight off feelings of depression and self-doubt everyday.
Almost 4 years later I’m starting to have peace because I keep hearing the question, “What’s your greatest contribution?” I’ve heard this discussed in many of the business and entrepreneur podcasts that I listen to. In fact, my husband is even buying into this idea.
The truth is, I only have 24 hours in a day. I have been given specific strengths and therefore I have some specific weaknesses. If I live my life spending all my time working on my weaknesses, my strengths will never fully develop and I’ll just live an average (guilt ridden) life.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t try to improve yourself or work on problems but I personally spend too much energy trying to better at stuff I suck at and neglect mastering what I’m AWESOME at.
Do you do this too?
For example, I was not born with the gift of being a preschool teacher. I have felt guilty that I’m terrible at home schooling my preschooler for sometime now. However, I enjoy blogging, writing and using my creativity to earn an income for my family. My husband thinks I’m good at that. Therefore, to be able to do more of what I’m good at and less of what I’m not good at we put my son in Preschool for 3 half days a week. Guilt gone. My son’s getting what he needs and I’m getting what I need.
For the last 3 months my husband has been telling me to hire someone to clean our house every few weeks. My brain interprets that as- “You are a terrible keeper of the house and we need to call in reinforcements.” So I get aggravated and frustrated and feel guilty because even though I’m cleaning and doing what I need to do, it’s not a perfect system and there are deadline heavy weeks when things get messy and stay messy for a few days at a time.
Recently when this discussion came up again my husband stopped and looked me right in the eyes, “Kim. Cleaning isn’t your best contribution to our house. Running your business is your best contribution and you need time for that.”
Michael Hyatt brought clarity to this thought process for me when he stated in his podcast that there are people out there in the world who are good at cleaning. They are awesome at it. It’s there highest contribution. In letting them clean your home you are allowing them to be paid to offer their highest contribution. He’s right.
As frugal loving people it can be hard for us to let anyone do something that we know we could do. For example, last summer we decided we were going to paint our house ourselves. After the 5th weekend of doing nothing but painting and only having 1/4 of the house done, we called in professional painters. It wasn’t my husbands highest contribution. He’s not a painter, he’s an electrical engineer. The same thing happened when my husband decided to take some trees down himself. About the time that the cable broke just before he cranked up the chainsaw- he realized this was not his highest contribution to our house. He needed to call in someone who knew what they were doing before he landed a tree on the roof.
Now I’m starting to see the truth in these statements and I wanted to write about it to encourage any women out there are that struggling with guilt.
Sit down and figure out what your best contributions are. What are you naturally good at? What makes you happy?
Then decide what you are bad at and think about how someone else might be able to pick up that slack using their highest contribution.
When you start to struggle, remember the things you are good at. Try to hold down the rest to the best of your ability. (I still clean and pick up my house each day as best I can.)
Then let go of the guilt associated with the things you just aren’t good at. It’s okay. Now start embracing, cultivating and investing in your strengths so you can make your home and life more AWESOME!
Kim’s is the party planning, cupcake loving, celebration catalyst behind the Thrifty Little Mom Blog. Kim was a pro event planner for over 7 years before she became a full-time blogger. Kim is the author of: Live, Save, Spend, Repeat: The Life You Want with the Money You Have. She’s been featured on Time.com, Money.com, Good Housekeeping, Women’s Day and more! Kim aims to inspire you to create parties, celebrations and gatherings that everyone loves!