Doing It All

Erika Petrelli
Erika Petrelli
Doing It All

Last week I tried to “do it all” in the most over-used, traditional doing-it-all way: I tried to act as both a stay-at-home mom and a full-time-working mom.

For those of you that are thinking “Hey, Einstein—the laws of physics and gravity and the time/space continuum actually prevent that from being possible.”  Well. Yes. Apparently you are right.

It started off innocently enough—there were a few planned doctor appointments and volunteer obligations at my daughter’s school. I carefully scheduled those throughout what was already a busy work week. But then a myriad of unscheduled things occurred, like sickness (which meant more doctor appointments).  And snow days.  And unexpected deadlines. And broken printers. As a result, I spent much of the week running around in crazy circles, punctuated by frequent exclamations of “$#@$*&!!!!!!!”

Now, in general I am fine with—and am, in fact, a fan of—having more to do than is actually possible to accomplish. I have been known to tease my staff that if they are able to actually get through their to-do list in one day, they clearly don’t have enough responsibility. I think that constantly seeking, striving, doing… well, that’s all good. But last week taught me that there are limits.

And this week will be Valentine’s Day, and I will be out of town for a work trip so I will miss it; and as a result I’ve been scrambling to make sure the kids have their valentine’s ready and the teacher goodies are ready and did I forget one for the school office? And oh yeah I should probably think about something for the hubby too… and I have to send in my contribution to the Valentine Party… and of course the money for the yearbook is due… and I better leave extra detailed notes so everything gets where it needs to be when it needs to get there… and I can’t forget the supplies for the workshop I’m doing at the conference, and did I print my PowerPoint in case the computer isn’t working… and oh, crap when is the last time I fed the fish? … and do I have directions for where I’m going today… and SEE WHAT IS HAPPENING HERE?     It’s enough to make you go bat-cuss-crazy.

So how do we balance weeks like this? How do we manage to keep it all juggling? How do we “do it all” when all the laws of nature are conspiring against us?

I honestly have no idea.

But I do know this: when I think about the entirety of what I was trying to fit in last week, it makes me twitchy and reeks of failure. But when I think about the individual moments within the week, well, I got a quiet afternoon with my son as he dealt with strep throat. I got an inspirational morning with some colleagues during a professional development workshop. I got to see my daughter interact with her friends as I volunteered in her classroom. I got great feedback to help shape a workshop I’ll be presenting in Georgia this week. Where’s the failure in that?

It has got me thinking once again about the latest video from Kid President (have I mentioned how much I love him?): “A Letter to a Person on Their First Day Here,” where he says … “some days you’ll get ice cream. Some days you won’t. Some days your kite will fly high. Some days it gets stuck in a tree.  It's just how it is here. There's plenty of reasons to dance.  You just have to look for them.”

And now I’m going to go pour an extra large glass of, um, grape juice,  and celebrate a job well done, sort of.

 What’s Your Approach to Doing It All?  


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Erika Petrelli

By Erika Petrelli

Erika Petrelli is the Senior Vice President of Leadership Development (and self-declared Minister of Mischief) for The Leadership Program, a New York City-based organization. With a Masters degree in Secondary Education, Erika has been in the field of teaching and training for decades, and has been with The Leadership Program since 1999. There she has the opportunity to nurture the individual leadership spirit in both students and adults across the country, through training, coaching, keynotes, and writing. The legacy Erika strives daily to create is to be the runway upon which others take flight. If you enjoy these blogs, you should check out her interactive journal, On Wings & Whimsy: Finding the Extraordinary Within the Ordinary, now available for sale on Amazon. While her work takes her all around the country, Erika calls Indiana home.