Veering from the regular fashion posts today because a few friends and readers posed the “how do you do it all?” question to me and I owe them an answer. While I consciously omit writing about my everyday struggles in my outfit posts, I do want to paint an honest picture of my personal and professional life.
First thing’s first, let’s squash any notion that I’ve got work/life balance figured out. Yes, I am a working mom/wife with a blog and looong commute, but my days are not executed flawlessly or without stress. I do NOT think I can do it all. In fact, I don’t think any one can. (Well, Beyonce can, but as someone pointed out on an Instagram post about her ability to accomplish everything, most of us don’t have nearly as many assistants as she does.)
Balance in life is something that comes and goes just like your balance in yoga practice. Clearly, I don’t have all the answers, but I do know what usually works for me and, more importantly, my family. Here are three things that have helped me out:
We are all capable of making time to train for a half marathon, cook healthier foods, manage a blog or whatever else we want to accomplish. Sometimes making time to achieve goals means saying ‘no’ to things that are not in our current values system. I make a lot of sacrifices to be a good wife, mother and friend, write this blog, build my career and maintain a fitness regimen. I am at peace with those sacrifices because I know I couldn’t do these very important things well if I tried to do everything.
Days are busy and if you’re a parent you know nights are too. In addition to making sacrifices, I schedule events with friends well in advance and do everything in my power not to flake on that time. Seriously, I wouldn’t be shocked if some friends think I’m obsessive because I will contact them in July to make plans in October. It is a little obsessive, but that’s how I make them a priority.
My job is demanding, but I make a point to leave before 6pm as often as possible. I use evenings to do something for myself (which usually means family time). After my husband and I put Harlowe to bed we scramble to eat dinner, catch up on each other’s days and then we both log back in to our work emails to finish things up before bed. It’s not ideal, but it works for us, for now, and really makes us look forward to weekends together.
Dealing with stress:
While I’ve found some ways to take ownership of my personal time, there are not solutions for all of my problems and sometimes that becomes stressful. To deal with stress, I try to meditate for five minutes a day to rid my mind of negativity and I’ve started using an app called Headspace to help with this. (I even fall asleep to it sometimes.) Download it if you don’t have this already – it has helped tremendously!
My workouts, while time consuming, alleviate stress as well. The moment I cut them out – to make time for something else – I notice I’m more irritable.
I not only married my best friend, but also my fitness partner. In fact, what really attracted to be to my husband, aside from the physical things, is that he picked me up for our first date with a basket ball, road bike and yoga mat in his utility vehicle. Those things showed me we shared values and our next dates were runs, bike rides and yoga classes, which proved to me that he would be a good partner.
In my professional life, I get support from a professional women’s group that meets for monthly discussions. I’ve found them to be incredibly enriching and have discovered strengths I never knew I had simply by opening up to them and allowing them to confide in me.
One thing I remind myself when I am feeling stressed is that support can come from several sources and it’s important to be open to all of them at all times.
There’s no easy answer here; work/life balance seems like a concept of the past. But I’ve found the above bullets help me keep my priorities straight. And what can be more balanced than that?
Next, I’d love to hear about you. Do you meditate or do you find it’s not your thing? Any tips on maintaining balance?
Photo credit: @sethsmoot