This week we celebrated “international women’s day”. It got me thinking about what being a woman in today’s world is all about. I realized that for me it is all about finding balance. And no, I do not mean balance between genders, though that is important too of course. What I am referring to is the actual daily struggle of finding balance while juggling the many “balls” we have up in the air.
“A strong woman looks a challenge dead in the eye and gives it a wink.” – Gina Carey
I tried to break down all the roles I fill every day in my life, write them down in a list. There are the three obvious ones – A wife, A mother, A working woman. It’s just that each of these encompasses a whole universe of duties, tasks, aspects. Working from home makes these roles bleed into each other even more, which can be confusing.
Some days, I can find myself transitioning between different extremes so fast my head literally spins. I am focused and laser sharped, keeping to a schedule one minute, and soft and relax the next. Having to be though and disciplinary one minute and silly and patient the next. One hour I need to be creative with content I make for my clients, the next I need to be creative with the dinner I make for my kid’s ever-changing tastes.
Just today I started my day being an organized mom who sends her kids to a field trip equipped with the longggg list of things they were supposed to bring. The next hour I had to be a mini Marie Kondo decluttering the mess my excited kids left behind. Then had to switch modes and be social on the client’s social media accounts that I run. Next, I was being a travel agent finding accommodations for our summer family trip. After that, I had to go back to being a writer, and the hour is now just 12 pm.
So how can us women find the balance? More importantly, how do we find the time to just BE, in all of this constant onslaught of thing that needs to be done? here is what I try to keep in mind while keeping the balance between the different components that make up my life.
“Be a first-rate version of yourself, not a second-rate version of someone else.” Judi Garland
Or in other words -YOU DO YOU. No more playing the comparison game.
That’s a daily reminder I give myself. I am not perfect, I will never be perfect, I don’t strive for perfection anymore. I just want to be the best version of myself, a version that I am happy with. Embrace the fact that if YOU are happy people around you will be happy too. This is what I measure myself by these days. Are the people in my life feeling loved? secure? appreciated? Do I? If the answer to these questions is yes, then I am doing ok. Comparing myself to others is something I stopped doing when I realized it serves no one and contributes nothing to my well being. There is a song I love called “scars to your beautiful” one of my favorite lines in it is – “No better you than the you that you are”. We should all remeber that.
“We need to do a better job of putting ourselves higher on our own to-do list.” Michelle Obama
A few days ago I found myself talking a girlfriend of mine off a proverbial ledge. The word I kept using over and over in that conversation was priorities. She was on a brink of nervous breakdown. Trying to please too many people in too many areas of life, while pushing her body through fertility treatments. She was trying to hold it all together while ignoring the fact that she was mentally falling apart. I knew EXACTLY where her head was at. I was in the same position years ago. Working in a toxic workplace, turning myself inside out trying to please people who really weren’t worth my efforts. Feeling frustrated with myself about that, and with my body after going through fertility treatment for months with no results. My nerves were shot, I was crying constantly while trying to still keep everything “picture perfect” to the outside world.
I was lucky. My husband really saw me and understood my struggle. He pulled me from the brink. He gave me the “Get your priorities straight” talk.
What he told me was what I told my friend this week. Prioritize yourself. No one else would do it for you. All these people you are trying to please? they are serving their own agendas, while no one including you is looking out for you. You and your loved ones come first. All the rest is a means to an end and not the goal.
Years back, the morning after that talk with my husband I got to my office and handed in my resignation effective immediately. Exactly a month later I was pregnant with my twins, after a year and a half of fertility treatment that led to nothing. All I had to do was be kinder to myself instead to everyone else. My next pregnancy came about naturally. That is a lesson that stayed with me. Prioritize yourself with no guilt. If you take care of yourself you can take care of the rest. To me, that is THE KEY to getting some balance your life.
“I’m courageous enough to know I can accomplish great things. I’m humble enough to know when to ask for help” – Katrina Mayer
This is one of the things I still struggle with, It’s so HARD for me to ask for help, but I trained myself to do that because I have to. If I could, I would split myself to 4 parts just so I could do everything on my own, but I can’t. Like I wrote in the beginning, we all have many balls up in the air at all times, at some point, something will slip through our fingers. I tried. Trust me when I say, I tried to do it all on my own. I ended up being lonely, snappy and stressed. It wasn’t good for anyone. So I made changes. I had to stop expecting my husband to know when I had too much on my plate without me telling him. I stopped pretending everything was a walk in the park. Who was I trying to impress? who was gaining from me plastering on a fake smile when inside I was fricking out? Absolutely no one.
I had to learn not to get to the breaking point before expressing my needs. I also had to learn to sometime in the words of another incredible woman, Barbara Streisand, “Let go and let God” which for me means – I can do my best to keep it all running smoothly but sometimes things won’t work out exactly as I planned, sometimes someone will get upset or disappointed. Sometimes I will fail. As long as I dust myself off, grab an offered helping hand, pull myself back up and try again, I will be alright.
I wish all you fierce women out there, a life filled with balance and self-care. I would really love to hear about the way you find balance in your life. What works for you?
I’ll leave you with another line from my favorite song again (you can listen and watch the empowering beautiful video here).
“You should know you’re beautiful just the way you are
And you don’t have to change a thing, the world could change its heart
No scars to your beautiful, we’re stars and we’re beautiful”
If you found this interesting you can try reading my post about learning to say no without guilt, it talks in depth about setting boundaries and learning to prioritize yourself.