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Hi, I'm Chelsea! I’m on a mission to help you find joy and goodness in every day.
On this blog we talk about the big things (like chasing dreams) and the small things (like what books we're reading) because happiness comes in all sizes.
A few weeks ago, Jack was on Christmas break. I still had to work (I work remotely, if you’re new here!) and had an important phone call. He was being super loud, so I thought I’d take him on a walk with my headphones in so I could calm him down and still hop on my call.
We rounded a corner near the pool and he jumped off his bike and RAN to it. I was in the middle of my call, and he was jumping up and down and yelling that he wanted to go swimming. I was trying to whisper to him that it was way too cold to get in, trying to make sure he didn’t actually jump in, and trying to keep up with my work call. Guess how that went?
What Jack wanted from me in that moment was 100% of my attention. What my work wanted from me was 100% of my focus. They both lost.
A woman was enjoying some sun and saw my struggle. As I was leaving, she called out after me: “You’re doing a good job. And I want to tell you something: Balance doesn’t exist. So don’t feel guilty that your life isn’t balanced right now.”
I made a joke about it being so obvious that I wasn’t balanced, but she was so sincere. We talked for a few minutes, she was so kind, and I cried the whole way home.
My life will never be perfectly balanced, because perfect balance doesn’t exist. I can’t give 100% to being a mom and 100% at my job and 100% in the gym and 100% in following my dreams because I only have 100% to give.
Sure, I can be all in on being the best mom I can be. I’m all in on following my dreams. I’m all the way in on getting a paycheck so I can continue living in my home. But I have to be realistic – being all in doesn’t mean 100%, because it just can’t. Being all in means giving what I have, doing the best I can.
I have anxiety, and for me, part of that is that sometimes, I replay things over and over in my head until I make myself sick. Had that woman not said this to me that day, I can tell you how that night would have gone. I would have replayed my work conversation over and over. I would have convinced myself I didn’t actually deserve my job, that anyone could do a better job than me. That I was probably getting fired, and that I deserved it because I was distracted by my kid.
I would have drowned myself in guilt for not focusing on Jack. I would have thought of him as an adult in a therapists chair, telling a kind-faced woman of a memory he had of a time that he just wanted his mom to take him swimming, but she ignored him because she was too busy with work.
Those are absolutely ridiculous things, I know. But it’s reality for me sometimes. Not that night, though.
That night, I basked in the compliment she gave me. Thought, you know what, I really am doing a good job. Several good jobs, actually. I’m not balanced, but no one is.
Let me be like that woman at the pool and tell you: You’re doing a great job. Don’t ever let anyone, including yourself, make you feel guilty for not having a balanced life. You’re doing your best, and that’s the best you can do. True balance doesn’t exist, and the sooner you come to terms with that, the sooner you can forgive yourself for not having achieved it, and the sooner you can relax and stop chasing that ridiculous idea of perfection. It’s overrated, anyway.
Tonight, when your head hits the pillow, do not replay your perceived failures. Instead, think about how freaking amazing you’re doing. Balance? No. A good job? Absolutely.
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