Thursday, May 12, 2016

Welcome to all of the Flamingos

You've heard the phrase "work/life balance" and probably felt badly about it. Because your "balance" was so out of "balance" and you thought, oh god, what am I doing wrong?

Liz rolls here eyes and shakes her head.

You're not. You're not doing anything wrong. Work/life balance is a lie. It's like...I don't know...being caught up on household chores. You think it can happen, you've heard other people do it...but it lasts for about 5 minutes and then, poof! In a puff of pink smoke, it's gone.

Here's us, trying to be balanced...

So we're chasing this idea of balance that is actually not attainable and feeling bad about it.


Most of us are balancing like the pile of dishes in your cabinet after your oldest child empties the dishwasher. Precariously. About to fall over and COULD make a big crash (and involve the purchase of paper plates instead of ceramic).

Work/life balance is more like work-lif-wor-LIFE-wo-li 

We are constantly switching back and forth, switching "hats," and sometimes, just sometimes, feeling badly that we're doing poorly in one of our roles (sometimes? let's talk about all the mommy guilt and the "mom wars" that go on between for example, working and stay-at-home moms).

So we feel as if we're constantly going, constantly trying to make something better, whatever that something of the minute is, but are you enjoying your something?

Let me make a suggestion - don't go for balance. Go for enjoyment. Enjoy what you are doing "in the now," make every effort to make what you're doing right this minute, whether it's playing Hot Wheels with your kid, working on their homework with them, working to get caught up on work stuff - enjoy it. It's here. It's now. Put the cell phone and computer away. Turn off your notifications. Don't let interruptions, well, interrupt being present with the things you're focusing on.

Be present.

You may realize that there are some things you just can't do. Because you can't do everything. You can't. So here's my strategy: figure out what you want to prioritize and focus on those things. Make a top 5. Those are your foci for now (and it will change of course, week to week sometimes). But then if something comes up that's not on your list, let it go.

If you're a parent, you probably get this reference.

This may sound crazy, because if you're like I was, you want to do everything well. After a stroke at age 30 and two heart attacks at 32, I made some clear decisions - I want to focus on what's important to me. It involved saying "no" to some things that I wanted to do but just couldn't. And it involved changing my focus sometimes. And "giving in" (not up) about others.

Some people would see that as settling. I call it looking out for your damned mental health.

So while you're trying to balance on one leg, look perfectly amazing in your Flamingo-ness, and be a super woman, stop yourself. Focus on Your Five. Let the rest go (at least for now - them dishes ain't gonna do themselves - but could you delegate them to someone else?).

What are Your Five things your focusing on right now? Comment below so other parents can see that they're not crazy.

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