Last week seemed nearly impossible. It felt like I was burning the candle at four ends! Then, I spotted a list online and it made me pause.
Work, Sleep, Family, Fitness, or Friends.
That is definitely a fairly accurate summation of my life. Or at least the parts that I scramble the most to keep afloat.
But it’s the next line that really struck me.
Just that. I didn’t know the background of the saying or the person who put it in my path, but it struck a chord. Choose 3. Isn’t that the truth of it? Because as I was fighting through my week, some things had to go. Definitely sleep. And at any given point, at least one other category from the list.
This uncovered it for me — the lie we all tell ourselves. The lie we all tell each other. If we work hard enough, have enough discipline, plan enough minutes of the day, or maybe drink enough coffee, we can do everything. This lie grows with every seemingly perfect life on Facebook and the super moms at school.
As mothers, we juggle not only our own lives, but our children’s school, sleep, family, fitness, and friends. It’s time to reject the lie and accept that we might not be able to do it all perfectly. And, in fact, that is okay.
I did a little research to see where this started. This idea came from Randi Zuckerberg, Mark Zuckerberg’s very accomplished sister, who posted it on Twitter a few years ago. Her original words actually referred to the stress of a small business entrepreneur, but I think it applies to all of life. I might not be building a business but I’m working towards goals, I have a job, I want to spend time with friends and family. I think Ms. Zuckerberg also unintentionally nailed the conflict of motherhood, as well. What gets our time and energy? Because both are finite.
So what can we do with these pieces? None of us want to settle for half a life just because we realize we can’t do it all.
My own approach comes in three steps.
Step One: Forgive myself for not being able to maintain the image of perfection in my head then let it go. It’s just not possible.
Step Two: Accept that life comes in seasons. It might be a week or a month or 18 years until it happens, but things are guaranteed to change. When the kids were little, they demanded a lot more physical attention. Now they’re older and need more emotional support and taxi driving. At some point, they will need even less. Then I will miss them, but have more time for wine tasting trips with friends and six-pack abs.
Step Three: In the meantime, find ways to squeeze in what I can. Work might suck most of my time, but I can schedule a nap on Sunday afternoons or take a friend out to coffee in the morning after school drop-off. It might not be the glorious perfection of Facebook, but it can fill the gaps until a new season of life.
It could be you’ve got the juggling act of life handled perfectly. In that case, enjoy the nearly impossible beauty of your daily living. For the rest of us, just keeping doing your best and fighting the fight!