How I “Do It All”

IMG_2638This is another question I often get : How do I “do it all”?   The people who ask me this question are also asking another question : “How can I do it all (like you)?”

I most certainly do not ‘do it all’. But what I do is besides the point. My answer to this question is another question that I direct back to the person : What exactly is your expectation? What I do is irrelevant because my expectation is most certainly different from anyone else’s because we are all different. The real question is actually our expectations. To put it simply, if you have very high expectation of yourself and what you wish to achieve, then you most certainly will be overwhelmed and end up thinking you cannot ‘do it all’. Conversely, if your expectation is something within your reach, then of course, it is not that difficult to ‘do it all’.

For example, I know of people who insist on doing their marketing every day so that whatever they cook for the day is fresh from the market and nothing comes from the fridge. To me, this is a luxury. Imagine if you were to live in a place where the market is at some far away place that you can’t just drop by every morning. What would you do? You have no choice but to make perhaps weekly trips to get all your groceries and use things out of the fridge throughout the week until your next trip. To me, it is pointless to insist on this kind of ‘freshness’ when millions of people in the world make do with the fridge. We are still all fine. Therefore, I do not impose this expectation on myself. If I were to insist on daily marketing, I most likely will not be able to survive and ‘do it’.

Another example : Do you insist on eating fresh food every single meal and will not permit leftovers to enter your mouth? Again, to me, this is a luxury because if you were watching your pennies, you will not be discarding food just so that you can have freshly cooked food every single meal. Personally, if I can’t make use of leftovers and have to cook every single meal fresh, I will be spending the whole day in the kitchen. This is time I don’t have. I want to have time to spend with my kids and time to devote to their education. I want to have time for friends and for myself. Therefore, I do not impose this expectation on myself.

Another example : Do you insist on mopping your floor every day and washing your toilets every day? I know of families that have that requirement and most of the time, they have domestic helpers at home. Again, this is a luxury to me because they can afford to have that requirement only because someone else is doing the job for them. I have to do things myself and I most certainly do not have the time nor the energy to clean my house thoroughly every day. I also do not exist to be a slave to a house. Therefore, I do not impose this expectation on myself.

So in the end, it all boils down to our expectations. If you find that you are overwhelmed and don’t seem to be able to ‘do it all’, maybe it is time to re-examine your expectations and your priorities. What is more important to you? Perhaps a compromise of some sort can be made to make things a little less overwhelming.

Also, such examination of our priorities and expectation has to change with the times of our lives.  When I have a baby at home, I do not expect myself to do as much as when I have more independent kids at home.  If you are at a different stage of your life from me, e.g. if you are a new mother, then of course, your priorities will be very much different from mine.

Lastly, do not compare yourself with another person. Do not compare what you can do with what another person can do. Everyone’s priorities are different. Appearance can be deceiving. I have said it before and I will say it again : I actually do not do that much at home even though it seems like I do a lot. Well, it is a lot but not as much as what other people think! Another thing to think about is that sometimes a task may seem daunting to you but in actual fact, it is not as difficult as you think. E.g. does cooking a meal from scratch sound daunting? Hence, you may think homemakers who cook meals from scratch are doing something really incredible. In actual fact, our tasks are not that daunting. It depends on your expectation again. Simple meals are really not that overwhelming. But if your expectation is restaurant standard several courses meals, then yes, perhaps it is a bit scary there.

OK, so here is my answer to the “do it all” question : How I ‘do it all’ is to have realistic expectations and prioritise accordingly. This is something everyone can do.

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