How do you do it?

How do you balance work and life and self and all of the bullshit in between?

This week I was a big fat failure in the balance department. I got flooded with freelance (which is awesome) and I ended up on some sort of bizarre hamster wheel ride that felt like I was simultaneously sprinting and getting nowhere all at once. And let me tell you, I don’t sprint. I worked my little (ok, shrinking) ass off and still managed to feel like an utter failure.

Yes, I got my projects done. I even managed to squeeze in a workout every day this week. But getting dressed? Pshhhhhht! Only on Tuesday when I had to take Ellie to preschool. And there was definitely no makeup or hair grooming involved. Sleep? Yeah right. I was up until one each night. That might have been nothing during the college years, but with a child who enthusiastically wakes me up at about 5:30 every morning, it made for a smidge of unpleasantness. I was kind of a raging bitch.

The kicker for me though, was when my sweet terror of a child climbed up onto the couch next to me with a big book of princess stories pleading “Momma will you read to me?” and I heard myself telling her that I was too busy.

What the what?

I work from home so that I can spend more time with my babies. It is the main reason I didn’t go back to my job after Ellie was born. I wanted to be home with them. Luckily writing and editing gives me a little leeway in the location department. I wanted to read stories and paint pictures and bake cookies all day. But I also have to work. How the hell do I do all of it?

I’m slowly starting to realize that, like most things, balance isn’t something that’s stagnant. In fact, it’s in constant motion, ebbing and flowing with whatever life throws at you. You have to adjust and catch yourself when you get thrown off a little bit. And that’s not always easy.

It’s impossible to be all things. Or, I guess what I mean to say is, it’s impossible to be good at all things all at once—no matter what social media wants to tell you. Chances are, if you’re doing really well in one department, another area is seriously lacking. You just have to be sure to get yourself back in check once you catch yourself so that you don’t remain all lopsided. Putting all of your attention in one area isn’t good for the whole. Maybe that’s why so many Oscar winners end up divorcing after they take home their statues.

But do you know what else doesn’t help balance? Obsessing over it. Becoming so concerned with perfecting it and building it up into this Big Thing can only make it too heavy.

So you know what? Today my kids get an extra book at bedtime. They get to decide what we do after school—without a computer or an iPhone in sight. And I’m not going to beat myself up about it.

photo credit: Josh Liba via photopin

Written by Jennifer Garry
Jen is a freelance writer and girl mom from New York. When she's not knee-deep in glittery crafts and girl talk, you can probably find her sprawled across her couch in the middle of a Netflix marathon with dark chocolate smeared on her face. The struggle is real.