A few years ago I was featured in an interview about work-life balance for Moms and what that meant. I said then and I will say it again now, there is NO SUCH THING for those of us that are really living this life of raising kiddos. So PLEASE do yourself a favor and stop feeling bad trying to achieve something that does not exist. All these “experts” out there have all this advice about how to make you a balanced human and since in my opinion this is impossible to achieve all this stuff does is make you feel bad that you are so off point.
After almost 19 years of raising a human single-handedly, owning and working for companies and being solely responsible for the running of a home I can assure you that life is meant to be ‘perfectly imperfect’. At no time during the last 19 years did I ever feel ‘balanced’ nor do I now:)
At the best of times it’s a flow that moves along pretty smoothly and at the worst of times it feels incredibly overwhelming and like you are drowning in too many things to do. There is nothing wrong with you if you are feeling this way, this is honestly natural and a by-product of the lives that we are living. Just keep doing the next task in front of you whether that is a work task or a home task or a kid-based task—-whatever it is just complete it and move on to the next one. Don’t beat yourself up because you had a work thing that made you miss a kid’s game or you left dirty dishes in the sink etc. You are truly doing the BEST that you can and you are doing GREAT…and never mind what anyone else thinks about it. Honesty, unless you have lived this life of single parenthood you have no idea…none. Also even if you are a parent with help juggling lots of things, there is no amazing balance to be achieved for you either. It makes me so angry when I read all these articles about how Mom’s can achieve work-life balance…such horseshit.
So in the midst of the juggling act that is our lives what IS really important is that you figure out how to say NO to things that don’t work for you and
establish a system for taking care of yourself. Taking care of myself is still kind of a foreign concept…evidenced by the 25 hour bug from hell that I just had likely because I have been running myself in a million directions since the end of June.
Let’s cover the saying NO part first—-you have got to learn to start saying NO to things that don’t serve you or support you. The needy friends that steal your energy, the family members that stress you out, the work stuff that people are trying to overload you with and you are so nice you just keep saying yes…all that stuff is wearing you down whether you realize it or not. Saying NO is ok and even healthy, remember that if you go down from exhaustion or illness everything goes down so protect your time and your energy. It is important, your well-being is very important!
The taking care of yourself part you sort of have to figure out as you go, maybe its yoga, or a walk on the beach, a good novel, a movie night with friends, sitting quiet somewhere, a spa day, a regular workout, a weekly binge watching session on Netflix. Whatever gives you peace and some moments to yourself—maybe it’s getting up an hour early to have an hour of power for yourself. Whatever it is you need to figure it out and commit to doing it. Your health, your peace and your peace of mind are vital in this mix…in order to keep moving and to keep doing the next thing you must be in good shape, so you have to commit to self-care. By the way I always made fun of that statement in my mind…self-care…until I realized that I had to actually be the one concerned for my OWN well-being because it was nobody else’s job. I have two speeds…go like a bat out of hell or crash and get sick for 2 days…pretty much that is all I know, at 51 I am learning a new way, learning that I can say NO, that I can go a little slower, that I can do what works for me….I am hoping that I can get you guys to avoid the errors that I made along the way.
Take the time to stop, breathe and appreciate the moments…they really do pass quicker than you think and inevitably you will look back and wish that you did something different. Let’s try and make sure that you don’t have too many regrets…appreciate how far you have come and take care of YOU.