This month I turned 55, and for the umpteenth time I saw a question that makes my skin crawl. In a blogging group I belong to, one of the women asked a successful mom blogger how she does it all. Having it all means different things to different people. Balance and peace are part of having it all and we all want to know how the woman who looks like she has it all does it all. Because I know successful women of all kinds, I know the answer to the question is that she doesn’t. I know this because I asked the question years ago and got the real answers from a woman I consider a supermom.
Confessions of a Supermom about having it all
That woman, my best friend, is an incredibly successful business woman. I used to marvel at how she worked 60-80 hours, went to her kids’ activities, kept her home clean, had amazing friendships and threw some of the best parties ever. I felt like a failure as a human being next to her sometimes, ok, most of the time, truthfully, all the time. How could two women with such similar backgrounds end up in such different places? One of the beauties of our friendship is our openness and honesty with each other, so I asked her. “With all you do, how in the world do you do it all?” Her answer floored me. I don’t. She then shattered my supermom illusion completely and taught me about balance and peace.
The having it all versus doing it all myth
This woman always looks amazing, drives new, paid for cars, and wears gorgeous jewelry. Her home is immaculate, and she has great relationships with her family. If that’s not having it all, I don’t know what is. Did you notice the shift there? She has it all, but she doesn’t do it all. That is huge, and her explanation changed my life. She pays someone to do nearly everything I do as a stay at home mom. Someone daily straightens up, cleans, does laundry and oversees the care of the house. They eat out or carry out most days, so no cooking and very little grocery shopping for her. She also said she attended as many kid activities as possible, but she missed some too. Her kids are grown, so she has even fewer family commitments. Her life wasn’t more balanced, but it was more peaceful.
Putting more time in your day
Did anyone else get the same lightbulb moment I did? This woman has 20-30 more hours minimum in her week than me because she pays someone to do the things she prefers not to do. That’s not to say that successful women aren’t productive geniuses, because most of the ones I’ve met are incredibly productive. What successful women learn, and implement is how to focus more on what they want without worrying about balance. They use time better, and eliminate the things they don’t want or don’t like doing which creates peace. How do they do that you ask? Well, that depends on their personality.
Choices based on personalities
Some women are task oriented and some are people oriented. Task oriented women make a list, get to work and get things done. They forget about balance and just do it. Their challenge however is they sometimes ignore or dismiss the people who mean the most to them. Their children are the ones crying that mommy missed their dance performance or game, again. People oriented women are great at supporting their loved ones, often to the detriment of their task list, again no balance. They’re the ones who attend every game and performance but have children with dirty uniforms because they forgot to do the laundry, again. Neither is ideal, but both can get better and find peace. Indeed, they may already have.
Balance versus Peace
If you’re like my friend and can pay someone to do the things you don’t like to do, I encourage you to do that. For those with more limited budgets, it’s time to get creative, especially in the areas of balance and peace. Depending upon the type of person you are, one of the following quotes will make you uncomfortable: Strive for balance in everything, balance is overrated. I love the “idea” of balance, but being 55, I know that balance, even when we attain it is usually short lived. Anyone striving for anything loses balance to stay focused, and for those of us who struggle with focus, balance seems like a fairy tale. It’s maddening.
Peace over Balance
But what if we change the idea that balance is the ideal and decide to strive for peace? When you strive for balance, you try to give everything equal attention and exhaust yourself. Work, family, health, finances, home and friends get equal parts of you until there’s nothing left. When you strive for peace, you flow among important areas not worrying about balance. Some days you focus on family and let the rest go. Some days you use electronic baby sitters to clean your home, get some work done, batch cook or plan meals for the week. If you’re like me, you break up your days, so you can focus for a short time on important things daily because 2-3 hour cleaning sessions don’t happen. Instead, 30 minutes per day means my house stays clean enough to happily welcome guests. I don’t clean like others, but I made peace with it and enjoy the way I do it. I write about that in The Magic of Fifteen Minutes.
Life is about choices. As a stay at home mom, I chose to sacrifice extra income to take care of my children, provide them the home environment they needed and be available at a moment’s notice for my medically complex child. As a work at home mom, I learned to let some things go, like sparkling clean baseboards, but keep up my daily laundry and cleaning habits because it give me peace. Several of my single mom friends gave up the idea of dating because raising their children in happy, drama free homes gave them more peace than searching for that particular relationship, especially with a full-time career. We all make decisions, and when I think about those decisions, I always remember an old Broadway song from the musical Baby., called I Want It All. The copy I found is old and dated but over thirty years later, the lyrics still resonate.
What will you opt for?
In the end, having it all comes down to choices. The women I know that opt for peace, are much happier than those who chase balance. Are you still on the spinning wheel of balance, occasionally finding peace then tipping over again? Maybe it’s time to strive for peace rather than balance and see where that leads. For me, it led to a life I love after I let the rest go. If you have this all figured out, way to go! If you need help figuring out how to create this in your own life, comment or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll figure it out together. Better yet, sign up for weekly inspiration in your inbox for living your best life, but no matter what life you choose or lead, you deserve to have peace while you live it. As always, thanks for being you and have a great day.Click here for ways to support the Moving Toward Better mission.