When Progress Feels Slow

In her popular self-development book Girl, Wash Your Face, Rachel Hollis reveals the lies she has been told and believed, including what to do when your progress feels slow and everyone else seems to be having so much more success.

My Progress Feels Slow

This morning as I was mindlessly scrolling Instagram, I saw picture of a friend and her daughter in Europe. They were in front of famous monuments and statues and museums. I dream of taking my kids to new and exciting places. I want them to hear different languages, try different foods and experience different cultures. I want to give them the gift of adventure.

But we are not in a place to take vacations like that. We can’t afford to take six people on an international vacation. I thought by the time I was approaching 40, I would be able to do things like this. I thought my life would have settled into a stable income, enabling us to live in the neighborhood we want and take trips that our kids will always remember.

That is not the life I’m living. We are still trying to figure out how to move into that ideal neighborhood. My kids have never been outside the country. I just started back to work three years ago and am working to make a name for myself in my field. My progress feel slow when I see other people living the life I thought I would have by now.

Lies we Believe

Rachel Hollis lists 20 lies that we all believe at some time in our lives. That’s a huge number, and I can identify with almost all of them. What they all boil down to is that we allow other people to determine what our lives should look like. A few of the lies she talks about are

  • I don’t know how to be a good mom.
  • Other people’s kids are so much better.
  • I need to make myself smaller.
  • I need a hero.

These all sound ridiculous when we say them out loud. I KNOW I don’t have to be a certain type of mom, woman or wife. In my head, I know that there a million kinds of great moms. I know that meeting needs in my family looks different than meeting the needs in another family. But my poor heart. Sometimes it just want what someone else has. Sometimes it pleads for the “easy life” someone else appears to be living.

parents and children

The Lie of Slow Progress

I thought by now my family would be different. I thought we would feel settled. I thought we would have left the town we are living in because it’s not the place I thought I would be raising kids. I dreamed of a city far away from all that I knew. I’m still living in the area I grew up in. I’m still bemoaning the neighborhood. I thought my husband would have a career, not just a job. I thought we would be making more money each year. I thought we would consider ourselves successful by this age.

When I started this blog, I joined all the blogging groups I could find to learn more about the process. When I see young moms in their 20s killing the blogging game and bringing in six plus figures a year, I’m happy for them, but at the same time, disappointed that I’m so much older and so much further behind. I never wish someone else didn’t have amazing success, I just wish I had it too.

And while I know all good things take hard work and time, I’ve spend lots of time, energy and tears trying to make my family successful. Yet, I am no where near where I thought I would be at this stage of my life. I took ten years off from the workforce. Ten years that I could have been earning an income, advancing my career and improving my skills. In those ten years, I perfected a cloth diaper washing routine and meal planning for a large family. I learn that I’m a terrible housekeeper, but that I love taking my kids to story time at the library. I’m so very thankful for those ten years, but I sacrificed parts of myself to give those ten years solely to my family.

I know that if I hadn’t taken those ten years, I would be on a completely different career path and would not have my current job, which just happens to be the most fun job I could image for this stage of my life. It’s perfect for me.

My progress feel slow compared to those dreams I had 20 years ago. But my life has so many good things right now that I would never dream of changing.

when progress feels slow

Accepting When Progress Feels Slow

This is my life. And it’s good. Yes, I have goals to make it better. But holding those goals with an open hand instead of a tightly clenched fist lets me see when my path is veering in another direction and maybe… possibly… eventually… be OK with it. One of the adult lessons I’ve learned (a la Gretchen Rubin) is to accept what I have because it may just be so much better than what I dreamed of. I still want to have the extra money to travel with my kids. I still want to live in a better neighborhood. But what I have inside these four walls is OK.

I still have goals for those things I dream of, but I’m really trying to hold them loosely. I’m trying to accept change and transformation, even when it’s not what I thought I wanted. This is the life I have. The only one. I’m not going to waste it dreaming of something different.

Do you get caught up in wanting something different than what you have? How have you accepted what is instead of mourning what you thought you wanted?


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