i cannot 1

‘I cannot’… or ‘I can but not yet’

Baby T: Mummy, Noooo, I don’t want to wear a diaper’

Our gorgeous baby T turned 3 a week ago…whoop whoop! She has been off diaper in the day for about a year but still wears them at bedtime. Few weeks before her birthday, we’ve been telling her no nappies after you turn 3 as you’re now a big girl.

What we didn’t know was we had put this high expectation on her and her little mind believed she would be letting us down if she wore nappies again. So a night after she turned 3, she was crying and kicking, refusing to wear a diaper. This made me so sad, we’ve burdened this little soul with an unrealistic expectation without any support from us. By support, I mean we weren’t taking her for toilet trips at night or reducing her fluid intake in the evenings. 

Do I sound ridiculous to you? Please don’t judge me…I’m only a learner too. But can I put it to you this is how ridiculous and unrealistic many of us are with the assumption we can do everything all at once.

feel free

At a time where motivational pep talks seem to be increasingly popular, I dare say I cannot.  In a bid to give their best to every aspect of their lives at the same time, many people have driven themselves to frustration and eventual failure. This is not to say there is anything wrong with giving your best or working hard to achieve your goals (trust me, I’m a goal setter). I only write this to make you aware certain limitations are real and contrary to popular opinion, it is smart to recognise and accept them.

     From the perspective of a mum with a fuIl time job working 40 – 50hours a week, I sometimes chose to say I cannot or I can but not yet.

  • I cannot work twelve hours a day and exercise 2hours in the same day.
  • I cannot spend 4hours everyday reading to my kids and making crafts.
  • I cannot ensure my kids have fruits and vegetables everyday.
  • I cannot spend 3hours everyday reading my bible and praying (even though I wish I could).
  • I cannot always dress nicely and wear makeup daily.
  • I cannot read 6 books in a month.
  • I cannot prepare freshly made meals daily.
  • I cannot speak to my close friends and family on the phone daily even though I love them.
  • I cannot take up every new project at work.

    While aiming to do all at the same time, many people especially women have lost their joy and feel inadequate. In setting goals, we’ve to be realistic and also understand it’s a difficult if not impossible task to balance every aspect of your life at the same time. 

There are times your health is optimised through exercise but this means you’re spending less time with your spouse and kids. There was a time I was going to the gym every day after work, I realised I only had an hour or less with my kids before their bedtime (this wasn’t a sacrifice I was willing to make) so I stopped it and tried going in the mornings but I became too grumpy.

When you aim to increase the time spent with your family, you might lose some money not doing extra shifts at work and this is just one example of what the cycle looks like. I find it distasteful how the internet tries to make a ‘Superman’ out of simple people. The media is constantly shoving the achievements of others in our faces like we are all in a race or a competition with ourselves.

     ‘You need to be content with small steps. That’s all life is. Small steps that you take every day so when you look back down the road it all adds up and you know you covered some distance

Katie Kacvinsky

     So what CAN I do? I’ve realised I can do a little every day in most areas of my life knowing this will bring a cumulative effect

  • I can exercise for 10 – 15mins every day in my bedroom before I leave for work (Dr. O, is that a smirk I see on your face?).I don’t always do this but you get the point. This is easier and more achievable than aiming for 2hours exercise that might never happen thereby leaving me frustrated.
  • I can commit to reading a chapter of a book every day. It might mean I won’t read 4 books in a month but I will finish a book eventually. 
  • I can spend 15mins reading my bible at break time or before bed. I can pray for 20mins before getting out of bed and stay in constant communion with God throughout the day.
  • I can ensure I always dress neatly every day without daily pressures of looking my best. Some days are better than others. 
  • I can spend a productive hour or two with my children daily. I believe this is better than spending 4 -5hours with them only on the weekends.
  • I can start a new audit or Quality Improvement Project at work when my rota is not too busy.
  • I can ensure my kids have fruit at dinnertime or at least once a day (My excuse is the school gives the fruits anyway).
  • I can text my family and friends as a reminder they’re on my mind even if I haven’t got the time for a proper phone call.

      These are just a few changes I’ve made in my lifestyle to improve my productivity and I can definitely say it has made me happier and more fulfilled. There are times you need to push yourself hard into achieving a goal (Trust me, I’m almost always on one diet or the other) but this shouldn’t be all the time and it has to be for all the right reasons.

      Remember the next time you read a quote that says ‘I can’, feel free to give yourself permission to say ‘I cannot’ or I can but not yet’. 

I will like to hear back from you guys, please share your thoughts and experiences in the comment section. Don’t forget to subscribe and share the post with your friends!

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Still trying to learn this as I derive some joy from supporting family and friends even when I probably need to rest up.

You also forgot to add the superhuman task of starting a blog in your busy life as well 😄


Thanks for this beautiful piece dear friend. It really spoke to me. As a busy mum too it’s easy to feel you’re not doing enough when you look at others. However, I have accepted that life is in phases. so yes I can but not yet. Thanks darling. Xx


Thank you for pointing out the blog bit, I don’t think I started it honestly, God did because left to me, it will be project 2028.

About the first bit, some people derive joy from being available to others and you might be one of them which is good but don’t forget to look after yourself also.

Aderonke Oshungbohun

Thank you for pointing out the blog bit, I don’t think I started it honestly, God did because left to me, it will be project 2028.

About the first bit, some people derive joy from being available to others and you might be one of them which is good but don’t forget to look after yourself also.


“I cannot come and go and kill myself”. Haha. Beautifully said re recognising and working around limitations

Aderonke Oshungbohun

Thank you!


Mr Joe Wicks have you heard I can but not just yet. Lol .

Aderonke Oshungbohun

Mr Joe Wicks is also attending for his own limitations

Itunu Akinware

This is really nice.

Its really a piece for me.

We can succumb to the pressure that we even forget why we are doing what we are doing or even if its the right thing to do.

I can do anything but i cant do everything….at least not all at once….
We must choose wisely and stay happy doing so

Aderonke Oshungbohun

Thank you! I completely agree we sometimes miss the point and go with the flow. Regular checking -in with ourselves helps with that!


Beautiful write up.
I admit i fall victim to unrealistic expectations and then end up achieving nothing.
Im learning so work like the tortoise, slowly but surely.
This is a reminder that im not alone 🙂

Aderonke Oshungbohun

Thank you dear! We are all on the race, when we know better, we do better

Beatrice olubusi

Our plans can determine how far we can or can’t in life. As human, we can do things within the limits of our capacity. If we do things gradually we can achieve our goals . This write -up really inspired me.

Aderonke Oshungbohun

Thank you! One day at a time and we can achieve our goals

Busola Omotosho

Beautiful write up! I have been telling myself to take things easy lately. There are pressures all around from work, home, kids. I will do my best each day and leave the rest for another day. I cannot kill myself biko.

Jola Okebiorun

This is really nice Ronkus babe
Time management is very important in achieving goals
Kudos to you dear

Aderonke Oshungbohun

Thank you auntie!


“I can but not yet”….the pressures are real .someone once told me those people are in a different phase of life than you are.be kind to yourself…I try to remember that but it’s not easy…..thanks for being true and practical. We are all humans afterall

No superpower tonic hidden


Thank you for this mirror!
A reminder to say no to the things i want to do but can’t physically do, just because energy is a limited resource.

Omotola Awotunde

I absolutely love this,
thanks for being a blessing. I have been a victim of unrealistic dreams, but thanks to God who rescues us
I’ve had to remind my self that i have a race that is set before me…not another, hence no comparison
I can but not yet
Thanks 😊

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