Life's just one big balancing act, isn't it? It's been talked about to death, that idea of striking the perfect balance between motherhood and career. In the past few decades we've seamlessly transitioned from the 80s 'working girl' trope (you know the type, running around the city in a pantsuit and sneakers) to the 90s stay-at-home mom, perfectly poised at the forefront of PTA meetings and now we're being sold (pretty aggressively) on the idea that we can have it all.
It seems so tempting and achievable. Why can't we have everything all at once? Of course we can be perfect mothers, perfect wives, perfect employees and bosses... all at the same time. Who needs rest? Sleep when you're dead! Just drink more coffee. But not Starbucks... that's not real coffee. Give your children all of your attention and resources, they're everything after all. Be sexy and interesting... date your husband! Have laser-focus in the office. Don't let them see you split your attention, they won't take you seriously. Don't call in sick, don't take PTO. How could you possibly miss the Kindergarten field trip? Freelance! It's so much more rewarding and you get to make your own hours. Don't forget the gym! Carve out an hour for yourself and head to hot yoga/pilates/Pure Barre/Soul Cycle... you've earned it and to be honest, your ass could be better. Higher. Tighter. TV dinners are antiquated. What do you mean you don't source your produce from a locally owned organic farm? Didn't you stop at the farmer's market this week? Are those eggs free range? Do you have a spiralizer? Don't your kids and husband love spaghetti squash? Why are you tired? Don't forget how #blessed you are!
That. Is. Bullshit.
You can't have it all. There just aren't enough hours in the day to strike the perfect work/life balance. That picture of the 'perfect' woman in your head? She's a lie. She's the culmination of a thousand different women. She's the sum of countless hours spent consuming clean living rooms designed by award winning bloggers and polished fashionistas toting the newest handbag on your Instagram feed. She's the very best of every woman in line at school drop-off (and none of her moments spent breaking down in the fabric softener aisle of Target). She's not real. She has been planted there by men looking to put you in your place (I see you Donald Trump), women who gain self esteem by tearing you down instead of building others up and corporations looking to capitalize on your insecurities.
I've spent all of my motherhood years and a long time before that trying to find balance. Trying to be perfect or the best. Trying to roar and win but stay soft and caring. You know what? There's no such thing as balance. It's unrealistic to expect to spend the rest of my life teetering between different facets of womanhood, evenly distributing my time and attention. You can't have it all either and that's perfectly okay.
So don't clean your house (every day), pop your kids in front of the TV for 20 minutes so that you can shower in peace, play hooky every now and then, go on dates with your husband when you feel like it (not the Buzzfeed mandated once a week because who says Netflix binges aren't dates?) and let it go. Let the idea that you can find balance go. When life is pulling you one direction, lean into it because it's okay to funnel focus into one thing and let the others fall by the wayside (within reason). Give yourself grace to fail, grace to be imperfect. Balance is bullshit.
photos via Spell Designs