I had lunch with a close friend yesterday, and we were doing our usual lunch and chat, and chat, and chat. I love her, cuz she’s my no bullshit friend. We cut right to the chase. No small talk. Open hearts on the table, raw emotions. And for yesterday’s session, her feelings were that of many of us women, “I feel like I’m constantly keeping the balls in the air. The juggle never stops. Quite frankly, it’s exhausting.”
Calling all jugglers and working moms!!
The work-life balance. Such an ancient topic. One we women love to vent about to whomever will listen. After dropping kids off at school and working a full day, the responsibilities still fall upon us to do the groceries, get the dry cleaning, go to Walmart, stay in touch with friends, attend a PTA meeting, prepare a tasty meal, play happy wife, happy mommy, happy employee, and all with that Mary Poppins-like smile.
But here’s what smart women know. Most of the successful “jugglers” understand that things don’t come together at the same time. Meaning, the three components of balance; meaningful work, fulfilling relationships and personal rejuvenation rarely happen at the same time, and without stress. Superwoman may be able to juggle 10 things in a movie, but that’s just what she is… a fictional character.
Now, my goal isn’t to depress you and make you feel like you’re doing a crappy job. Because really, all working moms are doing the best they can. And they are also like a cult, by the way. I swear. All you have to do is work and be a mom, and you’re invited into this “momtrepreneur,” career mom, working mom, “insane mom” group. It’s quite nice, actually.
But my point in all this, is to really help you come to terms with a few things. It’s not to give the usual advice on how to re-balance your life. You can read my other blog posts for those tips. It’s to help you engage in the act of surrendering. To truly surrender to the control to life.
For years, I never surrendered. I pushed as hard as I could. I went as quickly as I could. And I was pretty good at it too. I got so frustrated with slow responses, slow people. In fact, when I owned my business, most of my days were spent frustrated, waiting for an answer from a supplier, waiting for people who I thought were incompetent. I was burning so much negative energy. I went into therapy because of it. I stopped sleeping. I was all consumed with work, and doing the best job I could. Until my therapist told me, that my behavior was not serving me well, in the least bit. And if I kept it up, I was heading into a full-blown burn-out.
So, after months of therapy (and much money spent), my mom, my second therapist, took over! She taught me the art of surrendering. Surrendering to life. That life really is a juggling act. A balancing act. It’s not about finishing first, or finishing best. It’s about being steady. I felt so caught up in the expectations I had placed on myself, that I felt constantly disappointed in myself. Once I learned to surrender to perfection, and accept that I wasn’t going to be my best every day, and that some things would have to wait, I started to relax a little. I started to get healthier in my head and in my heart. I felt freedom. I truly did.
So, once I got the hang of it, I REALLY started to surrender. And it felt YAHOO great! Hey, my kids are only young once. That email will have to wait once I’m home from work. My house will get a little messy on the weekend and thankfully, no one will die because of it. My presentation at the office wasn’t my best ever, but hey, shit happens. All with a grain of salt, because really, we don’t transform overnight. But, I was much improving.
So I encourage all of you, whether you’re struggling to keep those balls in the air, or struggling at work, or in your home life, learn the art of surrendering. Perfection is an illusion. I learned to stop trying to swim upstream. I try and go with the current, and I’m much more balanced because of it.
Happy Thanksgiving my American friends!!! I’ll be back tomorrow (or the day after).
Ladies, what are you juggling in your lives? How have you managed the juggling act?