When you look this picture what do you see? Is it a perfectly balanced handstand? I want you to think of this picture as a representation of what we see on social media. It is so easy to share the perfect snapshot of the perfect moment. When we are only sharing the best moments, or the highlights of our lives it is easy to give people the impression that our lives are "perfect." What you may not know from seeing this picture is that I am still not very good at handstands, and I cannot hold this "perfect" pose for more than 3 seconds. As soon as we snapped this picture, I promptly fell down!
Since I started sharing my fitness journey, the NUMBER 1 QUESTION I get asked is: how I manage to find the time to workout regularly and take care of myself while being a mother and working. Today, I want to share with you what "balance" looks like in the real world. In the life of a working mother of 4, who is trying to take care of her family, her responsibilities, her health, help others achieve their fitness and health goals, and make time to work on her own self growth and healing.
What people think balance looks like
Life is busy! And I think we are continually expected to fit more and more into our already busy days. The analogy "juggling" is often used to describe how to balance all of life's demands. Trying to grab and release each responsibility in perfect timing so that not a single "ball is dropped." Trying to keep everything up in the air at once. My issue with this analogy is that if we are spending all our energy trying to keep the balls in the air....we are never really properly tending to any of them! It looks nice, but it is not the best way to accomplish things.
What "balance" looks like in my life
How I manage ALL the things in my life:
I leave all the balls on the floor.
I grab one ball at at time and tend to it.
When I am done, I place it back down and pick up the next one.
What this looks like in real life is that I prioritize. I never expect myself to accomplish everything in one day. I pick the most important task(s) for the day and make a plan on when I am going to get them done. If I finish that task, I am happy and feel accomplished. These priorities change from day to day, week to week, and sometimes season to season. I usually look at my week and determine what needs to be done on each day and then I plan each day accordingly to make those things happen. The analogy of fitting your biggest rocks into a jar first, then placing smaller ones around them, and finally pouring sand in last is a great analogy when it comes to prioritizing and making sure you can "fit everything in."
Multitasking decreases productivity
It is proven that we do not do our best work, and that we are a lot less efficient, when we try to jump from task to task! I personally find that when I have 50 things running through my head at once I am very scatter brained. It leaves me feeling like I have not achieved anything, and leaves me constantly feeling like I have forgotten to do something!
Possibly my worst parenting moment...
In fact I do forget things from time to time. Sometimes little things like my water bottle, or medium things like a soccer practice. But I have also forgotten BIG things too. My biggest fail of all happened just this summer. Let me set the stage for this disaster: my youngest son's Birthday is the beginning of August, right in the middle of the summer vacation. So it is always very hard to invite his school friends to his party when we don't have all their contact information. So we sent out the invitations before the end of school, which was well over a month in advance. We picked a weekend that I did not have the kids (they were at their father's) but I said I would host the party at my house.
Since I didn't have the kids the couple days before the party was due to happen it did not enter my mind. I made plans with a friend to go to the beach. I was in my car on the way to the beach when I got a text from my son's father asking if I needed anything for the party. First thought: OH SHIT THAT IS TODAY! It was 2:30 when I got this text and the party started at 3! And I was not even home!
I immediately called my friend, told her what happened, while trying to decide whether or not to laugh or cry. Luckily she just laughed at me and asked me what I was going to do?! I said I am going to take the next exit, stop at a grocery store and high tail it home! And that is exactly what I did! I zipped off the highway, stopped at the nearest store: grabbed chips, hot dogs, burgers, buns, a cake, veggies, juice, and was back on the road within 10 minutes. I pulled in my driveway at 2:55pm and psycho cleaned my kitchen in the 5 mins flat before the first person knocked on the door.
No one except for my friend knew that I had completely forgotten about my son's Birthday Party!
In conclusion: Be kind to yourself
There is no point feeling guilty or beating yourself up over these things. If you are doing the best that you can do, that is all you can do! If you are holding down your job, if you are making time to take care of yourself, if your kids are fed and loved and turning out to be somewhat descent human beings....then you are doing ALL the things and you are doing a damn good job! It doesn't have to look pretty and it doesn't have to look like someone else's "perfect" life. I guarantee you that everyone else is struggling in some way, some of us are just better at hiding it than others (see story above!)
Take home messages:
Do not compare yourself to others, especially not to their social media or "highlight reel" because you will only see the snap shots of their perfect moments in time
Do not feel guilty for scheduling in time to take care of yourself! You need self care in order to keep taking care of ALL the things. You need your mind to be healthy, your body to be healthy and your spirit to be happy
Learn to prioritize! Pick only 1 or 2 tasks per day that NEED to be accomplished. You will be setting yourself up for feeling accomplished and you can ditch the guilt on the other tasks that can wait another day
I would love for everyone reading to share in the comment section below, their most memorable moment when they "dropped the ball" in the biggest way possible. To remind us that we are all human and all have these moments! Am I the only one who forgets BIG things from time to time?
BTW you rock and you totally got this! ;)