This is part 3 of a series about the myth of Having it All. This is Part 1. Part 2 talks about setting Big Goals but having them be fluid over time. And Part 3 I talk about how to try achieve actual balance and in essence your happiness (FYI, this is always a work in progress).
The mainstream idea of “Having It All” implies that there is no sacrifice. That you get to have your family life and your career–and that because you are pursuing both they will magically balance.
The truth is that no matter what your obligations are, life is a huge balancing act. We, as humans, choose to fill our time so that there never seems to be enough of it. Now throw some tiny humans into the mix and your time choices just got a lot more complicated.
Trying to "have it all," for me, came with stress, regret, guilt, and pressure. This year has been a whirlwind of ups and downs and a whole lot of burn out.
At the beginning of the year I had the best nanny in the whole world for my youngest kiddo 3 days a week. These were the days that I piled most of my work for this business. A few weeks into the year I was given a bombshell, and it was a miscommunication and it was entirely on my end. With the start of a new quarter she was taking full credits at her college so she would be unable to work for me until school let out for summer.
Honestly, I had put off signing my son up for daycare because I love her so much. However, if I wanted to have any unencumbered work time it needed to happen.
My son is a barnacle. He thinks I am a tree and he is a monkey–and when he isn’t climbing all over me he is getting into trouble. No work ever gets done when it’s just the 2 of us together.
Finding a daycare is difficult–and if you have kids you know this to be true. Finding a place (at short notice especially) that not only has space but is a place that you feel comfortable leaving your kid at for an extended period of time is a pretty tall order. I called over 10 places in a 3 mile radius before finally finding one that had space–and even now about 8 months later I am considering finding somewhere new.
When he started he hated it.
He screamed and cried hysterically when I would drop him off. I felt guilty. I felt like I was torturing him with a place he didn’t want to be when the only reason I was doing it was so that I could get work done. I felt pretty selfish.
The other wrench in my productivity plan was that even though my youngest was in daycare for those 3 days, my second child was in morning only preschool. After factoring in commute times, I had only 2 hours to get work done on those days before I had to pick her up. I had to figure out how to not only maximize those 6 hours, but to use it in a way that didn't force me to shift the lofty goals I had set for myself and my business for this year.
I spent a lot of time trying to make it work. I kept up my blog for a short while, waking up early and writing and then doing more work on the other core pieces of my business late into the night once the kids were in bed but this type of schedule was not sustainable for the long run.
There is really only so long you can burn the candle at both ends before you just can’t do it anymore. I have felt the pull and drive to have the Hustle Mindset. I thought that it was something I needed in order to succeed.
But do we? Do we need to drive ourselves to our own detriment down into the ground in order to realize our lofty dreams. When you really stop to think about it makes zero sense.
I am starting to see a shift in the entrepreneur industry. A shift towards more self care. I think a lot of people have been burning out and looking for other ways to be fulfilled in their businesses but also live a good life.
Part of that requires us to build a village. When “They” said it takes a village "They" weren’t kidding. I am still building my village, this is something that I will continue to do forever.
Building these relationships are paramount. Not only for self sanity so that you can have the time you need to do the things you want without feeling guilty. When you have kids and you know they are taken care of by people you trust it becomes a lot easier to rid yourself of the guilt that comes with trying to do too many things all at once.
We are creatures that crave community, we aren’t meant to go through life alone and pile all of the burdens of everyone and everything onto ourselves. When we all help each other out, we all win. Friends. Family. The friends that are family. These people are our village and when we all work together we will be stronger for it and be able to accomplish so much more in a shorter amount of time.
We need to remember to tell our village what they mean to us. The stronger our village bonds are the better we all are off in not only our own lives but also in the the the shared lives of our community. I am working on sharing my gratitude with unexpected thoughtful letters. How do you like to share your gratitude?
In the next post I am sharing what I learned this year about the difference between setting Big Goals and completely Unrealistic Goals. (Hint: The secret has to do with how to handle roadblocks and detours and still make it to your destination in the end.)