Jenna Kutcher is a blogger, photographer, entrepreneur and social media maven with 800,000 Instagram followers.
She gave birth to her first child, a daughter named Conley, in December.
Jenna’s recent Instagram post about slowing down in her “new season of motherhood” started a conversation about what it means to be “busy,” especially for moms.
Here, Jenna explains the ways she is “prioritizing a slow down” in her life, and how you can, too.
I remember a few years ago, I was laying on a blanket in the grass, taking a yoga class while my mind was racing when the instructor said, “No one needs you in this very moment.”
I immediately got defensive — of course someone needs me … my team, my husband, someone.
The more I thought about that statement, the more true it became. Very few things in life are urgent, and I kept that mantra top of mind when I knew I needed time to refuel myself or slow down … that is, until I had a baby.
My journey to motherhood wasn’t smooth, and after three years, two miscarriages and a lot of prayers, our little girl was born.
The months leading up to her birth were filled with me working overtime to get my business in a place that allowed for a true maternity leave. When I think of the past year of my life, it was riddled with pregnancy sickness, hustle on the work front and a sense of urgency that I needed to finish things in order to slow down — ha, slow down … haven’t you told yourself you’d do that eventually, too?
When one of my best friends sent a text asking if I’d like to get breakfast with her, my immediate thought was, “I can’t get breakfast on a weekday. I have a little baby and I need to get work done and I am just too busy.”
Then I realized the date she mentioned was her 30th birthday and it stopped me in my tracks. When did life get too busy to spend time with my best friend?
When did a baby become an excuse to not be present with the humans that have walked the road with me to get her here.
We arrived to the diner, ordered a coffee (with cream, because YOLO) and started talking like old friends do. Partway through the conversation about life and business, my friend made a comment about how busy I am.
I halted the conversation with my newfound realization … “No, I’m not SOOOO busy.”
I am not too busy to slow down and eat a three-hour brunch with my best friend. Heck, I didn’t start work until after noon, and I was okay with it.
Isn’t it funny? When we are asked if we are busy, we want to say yes.
We’ve used “busy” as a badge of honor for a long time and part of us equates busyness to success. Running a business should really be referred to as building busy-ness because that’s what we do to feel successful, to feel purpose.
We want to feel needed — just as I defensively thought that, of course, I had to be needed, all those years ago during that yoga session, that thought had crept back in to my life again.
I smiled and said, “Actually, nothing in my life is urgent right now. Everything can wait.”
This new season of motherhood has encouraged a slowdown. Work can wait. Texts can wait. Emails can wait. I can feel purpose without pressure. It can wait for afternoon snuggles or diaper changes, it can wait for coffee dates or a long walk, it can wait for a nap or a chapter in a book … it all can wait.
Come to think of it, very few things in life truly are urgent, and my business shouldn’t be one of them.
Here are 5 ways I’m prioritizing a slow down
1. Every day I write down three tasks that I need to accomplish, not a laundry list of to-dos that will leave me feeling like I didn’t make progress, but naming the top three things that need to get done. I start with those things first. Nothing else happens until those are accomplished.
2. I’m learning how to flex my “ask for help” muscle, the one that was never used before. So I’m practicing how to vocalize my needs and asking for help on one thing each day. Whether it’s having my husband swing by the bank after the gym or seeing if Nana could babysit while I get work done.
3. Intentionally reaching out to three friends every day to check in on them, encourage them, or say hello. My favorite method is sending voice texts and starting them with, “No need to respond, just want you to know I’m thinking of you.” It helps me to feel connected to those I love without adding pressure to them to answer the phone or respond immediately.
4. Protecting my yes-es. I’ve learned in life that if it isn’t a hell yes, then it’s a no. With new opportunities being presented daily, I am protecting my schedule and what I am saying “yes” to. So unless I’m super excited about something, it’s probably a “no.”
5. Taking control of what I am consuming in the form of social media and media in general. Social media is what we make of it and we are in control of the weight and the presence we give it in our lives. I “Marie Kondo’ed” my feed to include only people who spark joy in my life!
I’m settling into this new normal, embracing the fact that balance doesn’t exist, becoming a nap time warrior and enjoying the slowdown. Perhaps you can, too.
I refuse to be frantic over what was supposed to be fun. The only thing that’s urgent is my ability to be present and that’s something I’m happy to get busy being.
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