One Piece of Pie At a Time

Have you seen this article? http://www.inc.com/jessica-stillman/work-sleep-family-fitness-or-friends-pick-3.html

I’ll give you the gist of it…it basically says that we cannot do it all. As hard as we try, to have balance, we either have to sacrifice things or be content with the notion that we are doing a crappy job with SOME aspect of our lives. This is the battle that moms go through every single day of their lives. I’m not saying that fathers don’t fight to keep things in balance, I’m just saying they aren’t as affected by it as women seem to be. I think that’s because as mothers, we are constantly feeling the need to be superwoman. It’s in our blood to want to be everything for everybody, often sacrificing ourselves in the process. For me it’s not only about balancing family obligations (being a good mother AND wife), my “real” job, my writing, keeping the house from falling apart, not gaining 400 lbs by eating donuts and drinking coffee non stop to stay awake, and still having a life. It’s about being good, or at least semi-decent at it because otherwise I feel like a big fat failure at all of it. And no, I’m not trying to sound like a martyr (I can hear my husband singing “Wind Beneath My Wings” as I type this), but I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. I think it’s ingrained in almost every single mom with a pulse.
The article says “Family, Fitness, Friends, Work, Sleep…pick 3”. While those categories are a little broad, it’s so true it’s almost scary. As much as we strive to have balance, we can’t devote what we need to to all these categories. I think there’s more like “Family, Housework, Fitness, Eating Healthy, Work, Sleep, Friends/Leisure…pick 4”, but that’s just my personal opinion. However many categories you think there are, the idea is still the same. Life is like a pie. You need to divide it as best as you can. You can cut it into 8 pieces for sure, but those pieces are going to be thin and likely to fall apart when you lift them out of the pie. And even if you manage to get the slice on your plate, it’s not going to be as filling as say if you had divided the pie into 4 or 5 pieces…you’re going to be missing the filling or the crust and you’re still going to be hungry.
The same thing holds true with balancing work and family and all that other stuff…while you may be able to pull it off, you’re not going to be doing anything to the best of your ability, leaving yourself feeling like a failure. The pie represents a day…there’s only 24 hours and only one of you. There’s only so much you can do. If you manage to work and cook and work out and do all the housework…you probably got 3 1/2 hours of sleep. I can write amazingly funny novels and help my kids with their homework, but I’ll have an ass the size of Canada.  Or I can chose to stay home and not work at all so I can clean the house and be an amazing wife, mother, and friend, but we’ll be dirt poor and live in a shoe box (at least it wouldn’t be hard to clean!). Likewise, if you are healthy and fit and spending lots of time with your friends, you probably are sacrificing your family time to do it. And I’m not saying that’s necessarily a BAD thing. Because honestly, that’s the only way we CAN do it all. One piece at a time. We cannot be there for everybody AND ourselves every single day.

Some days we need to call out of work to take care of our sick kids. Some days we need to leave the kids with a sitter and have a date night with our spouse. Some days we have to put in the extra hours to get the work done that pays our bills. And some days we need to blow it all off and go to the spa and take care of ourselves. Balancing isn’t necessarily about giving something up, it’s more about knowing WHEN you need to sacrifice one piece of your life for another. I think the hardest part about this is that we don’t want to neglect the other pieces of our life, but unfortunately, that’s the only way to keep it together.
I wish I had the answer….I wish I knew how to not lose my mind from feeling overwhelmed by the pressure of doing it all. But I’m starting to see how impossible that is, how unhappy that makes people, how unhappy that makes me. Instead of doing it all I’m going to focus on staying sane and trying to enjoy each piece of my life. After all, why eat the pie if you’re not going to enjoy it?

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