I live a life that always has conflicting commitments and priorities that are tied for first. It's not always easy to choose between a soccer game or a dance recital; or a hot shower or lunch with a dear friend. I keep seeing these inspirational blog posts and memes that say, "Remember what really matters," and I'm over here like, OK, cool, I get that. But what happens when everything that matters most happens at the same time? Which is every damn day. The answer is: I fail. I cannot be the best at everything all the time. In order to live the life that I am dedicated to living (filled with financial self sufficiency and family memories and writing and, and, and...) I let people down once in awhile. I look disheveled and a mess sometimes. I am exhausted and not able to be totally chipper and upbeat at every after-school PTA meeting. And I've come to a place where I fully accept and embrace that.
If we are going to be friends you need to know this: I am not perfect.
Being a working Mama is no joke, and over the years I've learned that balance is a myth told to sell things and create guilt. The fact of the matter is, for me, the secret is not finding a way to have it all figured out, but surrounding myself with supportive and nonjudgemental women who get it. Creating a network of other hardworking Mothers who won't fault me for not texting back right away because they know what it's like to fall asleep in your clothes on top of the sheets in the middle of reading Elephant and Piggie for the third time. We understand when we show up to the school potluck with a bag of gluten-free pretzels and 5 juice boxes that were just grabbed from the back of the pantry. We think our unwashed hair looks cute in topknots and we kidnap one another for gentle yoga classes when we haven't stopped working in 3 days. Or maybe we just let one another nap. Because, actually, unapologetic naps are really the best secret of all.
Last week I went to pick Lily up from school and I forgot to put a bra back on before leaving the house. I was wearing a white totally see-through t-shirt, so I put on a giant sweatshirt I had in the back of my car. It was like 87 degrees out and I was pretty much getting heatstroke just to save all of the other parents and staff members from being forced to see my nipples. As I was waiting, one mom came over with her youngest in a stroller, wearing mismatched socks, and I told her my situation just for fun. She laughed and told me she always carries a small bag of extra underwear (and bras, and dry shampoo) in her trunk for everyone in her family, just in case. Because who wears bras at home or washes their hair everyday? Brilliant. There are Mother angels all around us.
Whenever I get emails asking how I balance it all, I always want to say that I don't. Like, I don't even come close! I served my kids toasted frozen breakfast waffles for dinner last week! But I don't really let it get to me anymore because I have a little tribe of other Moms who are all in this together. No guilt or judging allowed. You forgot Easter was in two days? Cool. Let me overnight some Peeps and plastic eggs from Amazon Prime to your house. You haven't called in two weeks because you can barely see straight after traveling to Minnesota for a work training? Not an issue. I know you love me and we'll catch up once you can.
Soooo, I guess this is all to say that rather than put your energy into trying to get it all right and find the illusive Land of Balance, which is impossible unless you have enough money to hire a small staff, find a few close friends who still love you even when you get it all wrong. They are out there, I promise. With bras hidden in their trunks.