I’m 29 years old, a first time mom to a beautiful and energetic 8 month old, and an overachiever who happens to be self employed and loves creating projects and volunteering with charities.
I’m surprised I have time to breathe, let alone eat and sleep.
Its funny. When you’re a kid, time is this vast, unknowable concept. A minute is sixty whole seconds, and an hour is forever. Have to wait a week for something? That’s an absolute eternity!
But as an adult, time does a curious little flip. A minute is only sixty seconds. An hour is eaten up in the blink of an eye. A day? A week? Over before you realize. Riff Raff said it best: time is fleeting. The more you realize it goes by too fast, the faster it seems to go.
Finding a healthy balance between work and play is essential, and often toted as key wisdom. But there is another sort of balance that gets overlooked, and it’s this I’m finding difficult to grasp as my life shifts from twenty-something independent to domestic mother goddess.
There is a balance between being a mother, being a wife, being a homekeeper, and being a business woman. Its a balance I have yet to master. I feel like Shakti, frequently depicted with multiple arms, should stop being so selfish and help a sister out with a hand or two. When I spend time building my business, my housework suffers. When I focus on housework, I feel like I’m neglecting my baby. When I spend the day engaging and enjoying my Ewok, part of me feels like the day is “wasted time” that could have gone into business, and the house is a mess when the husband gets home. And let’s not even start on my marriage – after all, who has the time or energy for sex when you’re juggling three separate time-consuming entities?!
I know I’m not alone, and that thought gives me hope. I don’t know a single woman who has “it” together: the beautiful house, the perfect family, the successful career. I hear you, Sheryl Sandberg, and I do want to lean in; just as soon as you teach me the black magic you utilize to give yourself more hours in the day. Or sell me your time turner. Whatever works for you.
Despite all my complaining (of which I have much more stored up, just follow me on Facebook), I have developed a couple tips to get me through a day without hating myself or running ragged.
- A schedule is everything. My calendar has a list of events, business meetings, personal outings, and appointments and tasks to finish within every category – from the complicated business projects to “go to freezer. defrost chicken”. If its not in my calendar, it doesn’t exist in my world. If I were to ever lose my phone and computer, my life would literally (figuratively) crumble into dust.
- Don’t be strict with the timekeeping. After the baby was born and I became a WAHM and began scheduling everything from outings to work webinars to using the toilet, I quickly learned that I have absolutely no concept of time. Whatsoever. I would schedule a task and think, “Oh, a half hour should be plenty of time to vacuum the floors!” And then the baby gets hungry, and a phone call comes in, and the cat vomits into the laundry basket and all of a sudden its two hours later and the vacuum is still sitting in the closet. My schedule needs to have the flexibility for me to rearrange at a whim – especially since before the baby came along, “schedule” was a dirty word in my house. I LIVED by the moment. Now I live by naptimes and diaper changes.
- Don’t forget yourself. As stupid as this sounds, make time for yourself. And DON’T FEEL GUILTY ABOUT IT. I am the biggest culprit of this, and its a daily, continuous battle of reminding myself that I’m a human with needs too, and that one day I’m going to wake up dead and regret not having pancakes for dinner that one time. (Or something.) I have a tendency to put others first, which I’ve been told is a very noble and lovely personality quirk, but after the baby came, it became a crippling flaw that was very quickly driving me insane. Where before, I could put my things aside to make a special dinner for my husband, or run an errand as a favor for a friend, now I have a tiny little helpless life that demands my attention. Lovely as she is, she counts as a baker’s dozen people when it comes to errands and favors and acts of kindness. If I were to put her first (and I do), and everyone else in some random order between her and myself, I would probably cease being an actual human and fully devolve into some version of a Mombot. But I’m not a robot. I’m a person, and I need to relax and unwind and eat that god damn bag of chips while binge-watching Nashville every once in a while. (And do it while not being a hypocrite to my clients.) So to maintain my sanity, and the safety and wellbeing of those around me, I make sure to take time for myself: monthly Red Tent gatherings with the ladies, stupid smart phone games before bed, and coffee. every. damn. day.
Do I have it all figured out? Hell no. I’ve only been a mom for 8 months, only recently started getting my business off the ground. Do I have days where nothing gets done because I’m trying to do a little bit of everything? More often than not. But slowly, with practice and experience, I’m growing into the kind of woman I always wanted to be. One that has it all together. One that can balance work with play with kids with romance. One that is happy, and healthy, and succeeding. I keep tweaking the weights, but I know one day, my scales will even out. Balance will come.
Hopefully it doesn’t come in death.
(But only kind of.)
Now what the hell are you waiting for? Get off your computer, stop listening to my babble, and get to work! Me? I’m going upstairs to snuggle my husband. He seems nice, or so I’ve been told.