By Guest Blogger Kathryn Campbell
I am known to be an outgoing, positively-natured person.
I am confident and know what (I believe) to be right and wrong.
I work hard in my career and am able to make a difference in the life of a lot of people.
I am able to balance career and home life. (Although my husband may disagree.)
And then I had a child.
That might not be 100% true, but it feels like it some days.
Ok. It feels like it most days.
The career/home life balance changed dramatically, as did my confidence and all of the things that went with it.
Someone is dependent on us: childcare, doctor’s appointments, playdates…and that’s the big stuff.
Work still needs attention.
My husband and I still need to spend time together so our relationship stays strong.
But something has to give, right?
Here’s my problem: I suck at saying “no”.
And I think I can be all things to all people.
I can get it all done.
I’m Wonder Woman who apparently has extra hours in my day and doesn’t need sleep.
And the more I try to do it all, the more I realize that I can’t.
I can’t do it all.
But I try.
And I run myself down and become exhausted – both mentally and physically.
And then I fail.
And I HATE to fail.
So it has taken me most of my 42 years to come to this conclusion: I can’t be all things to all people.
And I have to say no.
Someone reminded me the other day that “no” is a complete sentence.
Saying “no” to something means saying “yes” to something else, even if that’s me and that’s ok.
So now, I find myself saying “no” more often, which allows me to say “yes” to so many more things.
I get up early (disgustingly so) to workout because I have found a village of women that understand – sharing similar life experiences. (Shout-out to FiA Nation!)
I remind myself that I don’t need to see the inside of my office before 9 am, allowing me grace to get up and moving on my day and getting some of those pesky around-the-house things done.
Another thing I’ve learned: my life has seasons – some of them are longer than others.
These seasons are the pie slices that make up my life.
For example: one week a month holds all of my evening work commitments. So that season has a bigger slice of work-pie and a smaller slice of putting-child-to-bed pie.
That allows the following week(s) to be fully present for home-and-family, making that slice bigger yet.
It’s a steady life negotiation that I’m in charge of: while some may see this as exhausting, isn’t it more exhausting to think living a balanced life at all times is an achievable goal? Sometimes owning that the slices are different sizes is the best I can do.
The greatest thing I’ve learned and gained is that I can’t do this alone.
While I can’t be all things to all people, WE can be all things to all people TOGETHER without losing sight of our individual needs in our life.
And I do that thanks to the village that surrounds me – my husband, my family, and my friends. Without them, I wouldn’t have a mirror to hold up, making me continually accountable to myself in the midst of the seasons. In fact, someone called me on it: when sending a work-related email last week, the one-line response I received was: “Isn’t today your day off?”
Point taken. And thank you.
Kathryn Campbell is wife, mother, friend, and pastor – the last one having her serve at Starmount Presbyterian Church in Greensboro since 2009. When she’s not at work, she enjoys cooking, catching up on her DVR, and spending time with her husband, Austin, daughter, and 2 dogs.
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