the balancing act


One of the questions that I get asked most often when it comes to career, children, life is how do you do it all, how do you balance it all.  Which in and of itself is an irritating question because it one simply reserved for women, not my male counterparts, but that's another topic for another day.  When I inevitably get asked this question, I have to say that the answer to that question is quite simply, I don't.  There's a great myth out there that women have to (or should want to) do it all, at least in the traditional sense.  My perspective is that you need to define your own doing it all and own that rather than someone else's definition of it. As a part of Motherhood Mondays, I'll be sharing some things to think about for a more reasonable version of doing it all. 

stop expecting to look like what you think it should look like
For years doing it all has looked like a woman who has everything all together: her work life on lockdown, her home-life pinterest-worthy, all with time to spare to get in a work out at the gym while putting a home-cooked meal on the table by 6:00 sharp every evening.  As our lives have become more and more full, I've come to realize that the traditional definition of doing it all no longer fits my narrative and that I need to carve our something that is more meaningful to my life and family.  My advice is to throw that antiquated version of doing it all out of the window and start fresh.


I shared this image on instagram last night.  I've been a fangirl of Misty Copeland's for years, but this is what I'll say in terms of how this applies to the topic today.  Misty Copeland doesn't fit the typical 'ballerina' mold.  In fact, she's far from it.  Instead of listening to the feedback surrounding what a 'typical' ballerina should be and how she didn't fit it, she pushed through and built her own mold.  So to that I say, be the Misty Copeland of your own life: Build your own mold as to what you have doing it all to look like and go from there. And that starts with.....

accept good enough, as well good enough
I am a type A control freak.  I'm a project manager by trade and have even been accused of project managing our lives from time to time.  All of this spells bad news bears when it comes to a full and complicated life.  Part of my doing it all or having 'balance' thing is based in the realization that good enough is good enough.  Which is very difficult to do in this day and age.  There are a lot of beautiful images out there of pristine interiors, well-cooked and beautifully plated meals, picturesque family vacations, and perfect evenings at home.  They are beautiful, inspirational images, but they aren't my real life.  My real life often looks like constant confusion over who is picking up from school, piles of laundry in the laundry room, and a full court press in the evenings as we careen towards bedtime.  My best advice is to throw out your perception of perfection and having to keep up with all of these unrealistic perspectives of how life should be.
Being a parent has taught me that my need to control situations, only gives me anxiety when they don't work out as I expect them to (which inevitably they never work out).  There's no point in trying to micromanage everything; it's an exercise in futility and it'll drive you bonkers.  At the end of the day, your house doesn't need to be perfect, your clothes don't need to be folded and put away, your inbox doesn't need to be all read. If your kids are fed (with anything really), you are fed(ish) (and for the record, wine counts), and everyone is relatively happy, then that's good enough.  As Elsa would say, Let it go.  (And no, I'm never letting go of that reference).

accept help where & when you can
If there's something that someone can take off of your plate - LET them.  Back to good enough being good enough, you don't have to do everything - watch your kids ALL of the time, walk your dog ALL of the time, clean your house ALL of the time, cook dinner ALL of the time.  Seriously, if you need to hire someone to do any of these and can make it work financially, DO IT.  If you need to throw frozen chicken nuggets in the oven or run through a drive through, DO IT.  If your mother/neighbor/distant cousin (who can reasonably manage a child) offers to come over so you can have a night out or run errands or just breathe, DO IT.   The additional stress off of your plate is well worth it.

put yourself first
I'm about to say something that isn't a popular statement and that is, I don't always put my children first.  Don't get me wrong, on the big things, I do, but I have to ask the unpopular question of since when does always putting your kids first 1) make you a better parent and 2) truly benefit the children all of the time.  On the first point, I actually believe that if I don't leave space to put myself first sometimes, I actually am a worse parent. And on the second point, as long as your children feel loved, supported, and are cared for then it is your prerogative to balance whatever that looks like in terms of their prioritization in your day/life as you see fit. End.of.story.

And lastly, recognize the good in your life and around you
Celebrate the wins, both big and small.  Got out of bed today? WINNING. Didn't have a trip to the urgent care today? DRINKS ALL AROUND! Didn't end up in the corner rocking in the fetal position? YOU'VE EARNED YOURSELF SOME CHOCOLATE! But seriously, I know it's hard and I am the most guilty of this, but guys, we've gotta stop being so hard on ourselves.  I promise your good is amazing.  And while you are at it, don't forget to recognize those women around you who are doing the same. GENUINELY. It's amazing what a you are doing a fantastic job or you are totally rocking that out means to people.

I truly do believe that balance and doing it all, it's overrated; it's actually garbage.  A myth that we are sold at some point in time that we need to achieve, a badge of achievement (much like the phrase but I am sooooo busy).  And if we are being 100% honest with ourselves, doesn't exist.  My perspective is that you need to define your own doing it all and balance.  Stop comparing yourself to your neighbor, that pinterest board you are keeping of perfect interior spaces (I know you are, even I do), or what you think it should look like.  Define it for yourself and I promise, it'll be like a breath of fresh air.  

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  1. This is so great. I really love the tip on recognizing the good....that's vital for a successful day...whatever that successful day may entail. Also, accepting help...I'm the worst on that, but it's so important to do. Thanks for this!!


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