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I’ve got a question burning inside me for all the moms out there: How do you stop trying to do too much?

I know you have children who need you . . . and tons of papers and projects and messes calling your name, so I’ll be as brief as I can today, but here’s why I’m asking:  In spite of all I do to be an organized, balanced, happy mother, I am still trying to do too much, and I don’t know how to stop.

Sarah, an incredible blogger at Memories on Clover Lane, wrote a post on The Power of Moms this week called What NOT to Regret, and her words really struck a chord.

I think when we mothers try to do too much, something or someone pays the price. Sometimes it’s the kids, sometimes it’s the marriage, sometimes it’s us. In this case, it was me.

(I’m with you, Sarah.)

I remember older ladies stopping me in the grocery store, admiring my children and saying, “Those were the best days of my life.” or “What I would do to have those days back.” or “It goes so fast. It’s gone in a blink of an eye.”

At the time I felt this general malaise in my heart.

I did some soul searching, talked (and probably cried) with my husband and made the decision that if I would regret anything in life, it would NOT be spending these precious days of raising my children without a feeling of peace. When I am that old lady in the supermarket, I want to know that I spent quiet days, loving and having fun, learning and NOT missing the small moments. I did not ever, ever want to have regrets. I don’t think I could live with myself.

I don’t think there’s a mother out there who doesn’t want to raise her children with a feeling of peace–having fun during the small moments of quiet days. None of us want to be the “old lady in the supermarket” wishing she’d done things differently.

In Sarah’s situation, she was able to quit a home business she’d started.

I was proud of the business I grew, but it had served it’s purpose and I let it go without a look back. Things were tight again, but I was okay with it. Because the peace in my heart was worth more than anything.

The reason I bring up this question is because in many circumstances, and especially in today’s economy, women can’t quit their jobs. In my own circumstance, I could certainly stop my work at The Power of Moms, but I feel like this is part of my life’s mission, and I would feel even less peaceful if I gave it up.

Sarah’s proposed solution is as follows:

I have found one of the best ways to examine the life you are living is by asking yourself, “Will I regret this?” I picture myself in a rocking chair on a front porch, watching my grandchildren, or great grandchildren play on the lawn. Will I look back with peace in my heart? Will I say,”I wish I would have slowed down and savored every moment?”

I love those questions, and believe me, I’m trying to ask myself those things every day. Some days I do this well. Today we folded the laundry together and talked about how Spencer’s new ready-for-preschool haircut has zapped away the cute “baby look” we all adored. I looked through a magazine with my son and made plans to play a new backyard game described in one of the articles. I sang the evening’s lullaby to my daughter really slowly, as beautifully as I could–hoping she’ll remember my voice once she’s grown up.

Those memories are priceless to me, but in the midst of all that, I also sent out dozens of emails, worried about a glitch on my website, tried to get a picnic packed for a day-trip I should have canceled (and finally did), called all kinds of landscapers and handymen to help out with some big home improvement projects, and performed lots of other little tasks for my home and family that needed to get done. In the moment, I don’t think I’ll regret those things, but by the end of the day, I sometimes do.

I need to slow down, I want to slow down, and I know I should slow down, but honestly, how do you look at your list of things you want to do and decide what not to do? Any advice you have would be appreciated (by me–and by all the other women who I’m sure are struggling with this same thing. You are out there . . . right?).

QUESTION: So how do you decide what to do?

CHALLENGE: Take a serious inventory of your activities and commitment, and then discern what it is that needs to go, and what it is that needs to stay.

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