I know I’m preaching to the mom choir when I say this, but having it all IS a total crock; most days I’m lucky if I have a little.
I often feel like a conductor of my own life – furiously waving my baton in hopes of achieving a perfect harmony – doing my best to organize the chaos and direct each of the players in a careful and methodical, yet creative way.
But the reality is, no matter how furiously I wave my baton, no matter how well I direct my players, nothing is ever perfect and there is rarely any harmony. In fact, I can’t recall a single day since Colby was born where I haven’t forgotten something, run out of time for something else, or failed to finish a project, either because I was too distracted (ahem, babies…), or my time just got stretched in too many directions.
At first, my inability to do it all really bothered me. I felt imperfect. Inadequate. Incapable. And ultimately, I became way too stressed out and overwhelmed. I started snapping at my husband more frequently. I forgot to drink water during the day. I would even forget to eat food. I was agitated. I was anxious. I was frazzled. I was on an emotional spiral. And I was constantly distracted. All because I was trying to be the perfect mom, partner, professional, yogi, blogger…you name it. I was trying to have it all.
And then, I met Petra Kolber and got the opportunity to hear her speak at BlogFest with Sweat Pink about The Perfection Detox. During her talk, I thought to myself, omg, that’s me. She’s talking about me. I’m that person who is constantly trying to please everyone else. I am trying to be the perfect mother, daughter, wife, professional, runner, yogi, dog mom, and on and on and on…… And I am stretched too thin. I am overworked. And tired. Constantly anxious and overwhelmed. Always doubting myself. Sometime during her talk, while she was making a serious point, I almost burst out laughing. And not because what she said was particularly funny, but because everything she was saying had started to click for me. I realized that in order to save my sanity, and be a good mom, partner, professional, and human that I was going to need to put my aspirations of perfection aside and settle for enough.
Over the past couple of months, I’ve been doing just that – I’ve been working on shifting my expectations and priorities and giving myself some much needed grace. If something doesn’t get finished one day, I bump it to the top of my to-do list for the next day. If I run out of time or feel stretched too thin, I reprioritize. If I can’t run as fast or as far as I’d like, I shrug it off and think to myself, there’s always tomorrow. Instead of stressing about the minutiae or constantly racing to catch up with my own life, I’ve allowed myself to slow down, take deep breaths, and figure out what really needs to be done and what can wait.
Shockingly enough, I feel less stressed. I’m finding less reason to snap at my husband. I am eating and sleeping better. I’m even fitting in exercise. While it’s still very much a work in progress, I’m letting go of the need to be perfect, and loosening my expectations from having it all to having just enough.
As I continue to devise ways to let go of perfect (mostly through imperfect trial and error), I’ve found a few ways that are helping me be the best perfectly imperfect person I can be:
As a former fly by the seat of my pants person, I’ve become almost annoyingly meticulous about my schedule. I literally schedule everything now – groceries, errands, chores, meetings, work, “me” time, and even kid time – I literally write every single thing down (yes with pen and paper on a hardcopy calendar) and I also put it on my Google calendar so that I can feel good and organized going into each week. While it doesn’t always work out perfectly, it helps me feel organized and productive, and most importantly, more sane. It not only helps me stay organized, it also helps me become more assertive with my needs, more compassionate with myself, and better at prioritizing my weeks. It has helped me say no when my plate is too full, taught me how to better delegate and ask for help, and kept me more accountable.
Protecting my time:
Before Colby, I never realized how much time I actually wasted. I never really understood how much I was actually getting done in an eight hour workday versus what I could be getting done. Now that I have less time to waste, I fiercely protect it. I have learned to optimize my days so that I can spend enough time working, playing with Colby, and also fit in exercise and other me time. To do this, I’ve become pretty bullish about my schedule: I say no to extra activities during my designated work hours and anything that generally feels like time wasted, I schedule early morning workouts with friends to help hold me accountable and stick to those plans, no matter how much sleep I got the night before, and when it’s time to be with Colby, that’s my time to be with Colby. I don’t use that time to scroll mindlessly on my phone or be in what I like to call the half mom state, I use it fully. The more I protect my time and assert my needs, the more I realize just how valuable time really is – and how much better I am at all parts of my life when I’m fully focused and present.
Taking care of myself.
I’ve been a mom for over four months now, and I am still plagued by mom guilt, and also shocked by it’s enormous power over me. Nearly every time I leave to do something for myself (or even for work), I experience a strong twinge of mom guilt. To rid myself of it, I usually have to take a few deep breaths and reassure myself that taking care of myself is one of the best things I can give my family. I often have to remind myself that if I take care of myself – my body, mind, feelings, and soul – that everyone will fare better for it.
I’m leaning on, not in:
Having a baby is hard work; recovery from having a baby (while actually having a baby to care for) is even harder work. To stay afloat, I’ve been allowing myself to lean on others – my friends and family for continued support and sometimes even babysitting help, the amazing community of new mamas that I’ve met online (or IRL) who I share frustrations, triumphs and humor with day to day, and the amazing Sweat Pink community who always keeps me feeling inspired, motivated and encouraged to live my best life.
Speaking of leaning on, I’m about to embark on the Gerolsteiner Sparkling Detox for the third year in a row because I need all the support from the community I can get. The truth is, I’ve been drinking way too much coffee, and I really need to be drinking more water. I know that giving up coffee for a full week will be really challenging for me – especially as my sleep is not as regular these days – but overall, I know it will be good or me and my overall health. I figure with the support (and accountability) that comes from this challenge, I’m sure to come out the other end feeling better from the inside out. Maybe even…sparkly?
If you’ve never joined us for the Sparkling Detox challenge, join us this year. It’s one week of replacing all your beverages with Gerolsteiner Sparkling Mineral Water. It’s a great way to establish healthier hydration habits, and soak up all the extra benefits of drinking sparkling mineral water (hello magnesium, calcium, and bicarbonate). Join me (and all the #SweatPink ‘ers) from Aug 27-31 – and let’s get hydrated and SPARKLY!
Thoughts? Do you have it all or enough?
Stay sweaty (and sparkly!).
Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Gerolsteiner Sparkling Mineral Water. That being said, all of the thoughts, mom rants, words expressed and typos are my very own. I truly appreciate all of the brands that support the Sweat Pink community.
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