Tuesday night, I hosted a Moms Night In for some of my wonderful friends/colleagues/clients. We all brought a wrapped book we love to share with one another. It was loads of fun to hear who had read what and who loved which books. We all came out with books we had never read and it was glorious. Adult conversation. Dessert. WINE. Reading material.
The book I got was the Kristin Cavaleri book, Balancing in Heels. It is the perfect book for me to read at this point in my life. It got me thinking just as I simply paged through it. See, earlier in the day, I got a text from my dear Aunt J commenting on how she recently found my blog. She commented along the lines that she is so proud that I wear so many hats. And I do. I am a mom, wife, animal mom, aunt, sister, business owner, instructor, friend, hostess, blogger and writer, consumer, house manager, CFO of FINN enterprises. (plus butt wiper, potty cleaner, house cleaner, paw wiper, puke magnet and other glorious things that can be classified under “mom”).
Just over two years ago, two of my dearest friends, M and J (a fantastic couple who are the soulmates of hubs and me) talked some sense into me. I was sitting around their kitchen island complaining about my job while drinking wine. To be fair, my job had some wonderful parts to it, but the job was not right for me, and the emotional toll some of the deep rooted problems that position had took a major toll on me. I was drained and empty. I put so much into my job, that I had barely enough to squeeze into any other part of my life. I brought work home and my heart hurt and my brain never took a break. M and J mentioned a business that may be something to look into for me. On the way home, I clicked “send” on the inquiry form for the business opportunity. The rest is history. The sense they talked into me was that I needed to quit complaining and start DOING. Once I changed the hardest part of my life, I was able to put on SO many more hats and had the heart and hustle to give to the parts of life that mattered.
I try to do it all. Admittedly. And I can’t. But, here is what I have learned about balancing all the things while being a real person:
1. Get rid of the negative. This is no easy feat. I’ve done this with toxic relationships, jobs, and negative self talk. Quit complaining and purge the negative. This is by far the biggest life lesson I have learned.
2. Ask for help. Whether its your work, kids, or personal issues, just do it. Ask for the help. I have been fiercely independent for most of my life. I spent the majority of my life thinking that asking for help is a sign of weakness. It is the opposite. My business, home life and personal life ALL took off when I learned this important skill. Yes, its a skill. And its hard for some people. Once I got help for the business, my kids, and home life, I was balancing much easier. And everything grew.
3. DO something for YOU that you LOVE. I became a mom in 2015 and I struggled with my identity thereafter. The transition is hard and takes time. I felt this insane need to give every ounce of myself post-work to my daughter and that wasn’t healthy. I needed to be ME. In my search for what I love, I found running and writing. They actually are one in the same for me, as I spend most of my long runs blogging in my head. Regardless of what it is, don’t ever skip out on it. You can’t take care of others until you are taken care of.
4. Put yourself out there and make yourself live in uncomfortable, even for just a minute. When I started my business, I was a one-woman show with a toddler and a big old pregnant belly. I had no mom friends in my area, and certainly no clients. That first “official” day, I took S to a park and introduced myself to every mom there. Though I had worked on starting my business for months prior, THAT was the moment my business was born. I met K, who after two years now works for me. I now have more mom friends than I can count, and I have a thriving business and a village to help raise my kids.
5. Reflect often. While I was in education, we constantly hammered into our teachers that reflection was key. It totally is and is so hard to do! I reflected all the time on my job performance. What I wasn’t doing was reflecting for real on the things that matter. Reflect on your marriage, time spent with kids, personal life, self care. Prioritize what needs help. Do this often, weekly works for me. CHANGE what needs to be changed and move on. Dwelling on a crap week is a waste of energy.
6. The most important thing you can do for yourself and others is smile. Just do it. Pause, and smile meaningfully. Like when little kids do. Its always a real smile. Be genuinely happy. If you aren’t, start back at the top of this list and get there.
So, am I balanced? No, not always. There’s no “I made it” in life. I am a work in progress. I learned that life changes as we live it, and its ok to not know what the next 5 years will look like. What is important is that the little moments each day are spent being the best that they can be. I can’t wait to read my book and grab some more pointers. (There is a section on doing makeup and staple wardrobe pieces that I NEED to read like yesterday). And I remember that things are going to be hard. There will be days full of tears, tantrums, poop in places it shouldn’t be, wasted toddler food and scraped knees, but THAT is the color that adds to the pages of life.