Supposedly you can never be too rich or too thin. We all know that’s a lie.
But do you think it’s possible to be too kind? Or too generous? Too compassionate? Too hard working? Or too intelligent?
Unfortunately, there have been times in my life when I’ve realized this is most definitely possible. Let’s take a look at some of my lovely mistakes and find out if you have also experienced too much of a good thing in your life.
Too Much Service? Raise your hand if you’ve ever agreed to volunteer for something when you didn’t have the time for it. (Seriously, nobody’s looking – raise your hand if you want!) I’ve never met a mom who hasn’t made this mistake. It’s part of our natural tendency to serve. We agree to take on way more than we can handle.
Like the time I offered to help start a middle school youth group at church. Every Sunday afternoon I found myself holed up in the office planning the activities instead of spending time with my family. And on Tuesday evenings I had to hire a babysitter to drive my kids to sports practices that conflicted with the youth group meeting. The ironic thing was that my son, who was in middle school, could not even attend the meetings. I should have seen it but I was blind to the fact that my desire to SERVE others resulted in a willful neglect of my own family.
Do you have too much SERVICE in your life?
Too Much Philanthropy? My sister and I were just talking about this one – we pretty much buy whatever the kids in the neighborhood are selling. And we support charities whenever we are asked by our friends. Plus, we have our own charitable causes we choose to support as well as the church. So what’s the problem with being generous? It’s a problem when you are not a good steward of your finances.
Take, for example, the several years when I was making monthly contributions to three different charities on my credit card. I was spending $250 a month being philanthropic – yet I was carrying a balance on my credit card. I was paying interest on my charitable donations. I know. That’s completely irresponsible and ridiculous. But I did it. I did it for a few years before I woke up and made a change.
What about you? Are you being a good steward of your finances or do you have too much PHILANTHROPY in your life?
Too Much Mothering? Ok, so you can never really have too much motherhood. In fact, I know women who have 8 or 10 children and they haven’t had too much motherhood! But can you have too much “mothering?” I think so. I think we can spend so much time and energy mothering our children that we neglect our husbands. Or our health. Or our spiritual lives. We can get too focused on the laundry, groceries, homework, car pools, etc. that we forget our real job as mothers – to train them up in the way they should go. And let them do a few things for themselves. So we can turn our attention elsewhere.
I don’t know about you but I’ve collapsed into bed many nights and felt my husband’s frustration that we haven’t really talked in a week. I’ve seen the look in his eyes that says “What about me? Remember me?” I know I’ve been guilty of having too much mothering at the expense of other priorities.
Can you say the same? Have you had too much MOTHERING in your life?
Too Much Work? If you think working from home makes you exempt from being a workaholic, you couldn’t be further from the truth! In fact, I think it’s difficult to separate business and personal when you live and work in the same space. If you listen to any of the entrepreneurial experts, you will hear a common theme – to succeed in business you have to be willing to work hard. The general consensus is that it takes hard work and dedication to get a business off the ground and keep it running. And that’s a good thing – because it helps us achieve our goals and serve others in the process.
Before I had children, I typically worked 60 hours a week, building my reputation and my revenue as a freelance writer. It was a healthy choice for me at the time because my husband worked long hours and we didn’t have any family in the area. So my work was also my social life. And we needed the money so it was a blessing to have the work. But at this season of my life, too much work would be too much of a good thing. Because it would come at the expense of my family or my health.
What about you? Is there too much WORK in your life?
Too Much Learning? If you are a life-long learner like me, then you’ve always got a “project” in the works. Maybe you’re learning about eating real foods or how to start a blog. Or maybe you’re running your first marathon and you’ve been absorbed in running magazines. Or you’re learning to invest. Whatever it is, you’ve probably spent countless hours researching and reading.
I tend to go a little overboard in the learning phase. Like when I bought 12 separate books on breastfeeding. Who needs a dozen books on something women have been doing since the beginning of creation? Apparently I thought I did! And I also tend to learn about things for months and years before I ever actually do them. This is why I’ve taken umpteen courses on self-publishing a book or starting a podcast. And I have yet to do either one of those things!
Learning is a magnificent way to spend your time. And it’s important to learn the basics before you dive right into a project. But when the learning becomes a procrastination tool, I cry uncle! When the learning actually prevents you from DOING, then it’s time to stop.
Are you guilty of too much LEARNING at the expense of doing?
Tell me, which of these five areas do you think is too much of a good thing in your life? Or is there something else I’ve overlooked?
Copyright 2015, Theresa Ceniccola
Image credit: Photodune. Licensed by author. Text added by author.