The never-failing question that comes up every time women get together. Historically, women were the ones who did the laundry, raised the kids, cooked the meals, and kept the home spic-n-span while wearing a perfectly pressed dress with fresh lipstick and an enviable coiffure.
But today’s woman also works, sits on boards, has a social life, needs to nurture her romantic life, and participates in a multitude of fitness classes and other hobbies. So how do we do it? Where’s the balance?
Ok, we take a deep breath and assess: well, we send the kids to daycare (or hire a nanny or enlist a generous relative) to watch our kiddos while we work. But the house doesn’t clean itself so we keep up with it as much as we can and maybe, if we’re lucky, hire a cleaning service on special occasions. And for the girls’ nights we hire a sitter or have our partner stay home with the kids. Our clothes might not be perfectly pressed and our makeup might not always be perfect so we do it when it matters most, or maybe it doesn’t even matter at all. But you know what, we’re still exhausted, we’re still not doing everything we want, and we feel like we’re failing at everything so we talk about it: “How do you find balance?”
I don’t. And you don’t either.
We sacrifice a little bit to do it all. We are well-rounded, modern women who carry the burden of the expectations of the “housewife of old” while trying our best to even the pay gap. We are a generation stuck between this massive cultural gender shift.
We automatically prioritize our activities based on our values – but this doesn’t mean we find balance, it means we decide where to cut corners. So we dig deeper into our heads and we find some grace to give ourselves: we forgive ourselves for cutting corners, we understand the worth of self-love and our mental health, and we savor and lean into the moments that make up our lives.
…we externalize our anxiety. We run on fumes, beat ourselves up over the relentless “mom-guilt,” forget how to prioritize and feel like we’re always one step behind.
But ladies, we all do all of this. And that’s ok… sometimes. We have to make the choice not to dwell in the self-pity of the anxiety that comes from the realization that balance isn’t possible but to celebrate the beauty of the dynamic women that we and lean into the solidarity that we ALL feel this way.
I might be a single-mom who’s dating long-distance, going through a divorce, navigating the media, and trying to work (and work-out!) and you might be a married woman without children who’s slammed with Zoom calls all day – but we aren’t that different.
My advice is to remember everything is relative – meaning we should never compare our situation as “harder” or “easier” than anyone else’s because you know what, she can’t balance it either. We do our best every day and go to sleep reminding ourselves that tomorrow is a new day and we get another chance to try it again.
This is all I have to say on balancing/juggling life (from my humble) perspective. Did it sound a little bit preachy or haughty? I’m in no way licensed to write on any of this, I’m just another person you pass in the grocery store – I’m a random person to you. But I do know that there’s no right answer and I do know that judgment is a toxic emotion that we don’t have room for in our lives. Just know you’re not alone.
And keep juggling!