I just hit my 9th month at my job. NINE months, people.
Nine months of working 6 days, 40+ hours per week. Nine months of early bed times and early mornings, packed lunches, carpools, and so much hard work.
Okay. In the grand scheme of things, nine months isn’t really that long. I know that. I feel proud to have met this milestone, though. It’s felt both like a lifetime and like 3 measly days. In the early days I struggled finding balance. How was I supposed to be good at my job AND good at home? How was I supposed to go to work all day and then come home and be 100% present for Dave and Neeson? Would I have the mental capacity for that? What if I mess up? What if I let someone down? What if Neeson thought I didn’t love him as much as his daddy, who spends every day with him, does?
What if I couldn’t do it?
I think those fears are normal at first. Hell, I think those fears are normal no matter what point you’re at in your journey. What’s important, though, is breaking free from those fears and trusting the process. Because that’s exactly what it is – a process.
In my nine whole months of experience, here are 5 things I’ve learned about finding balance. 😉
1. It’s not going to happen over night. You’ll probably mess up a lot. I have. And just when you think you’ve figured it out you’ll have a week from hell that seems to set you back months. It doesn’t though. You’ll get through it and you’ll be better for it.
2. Find your people and love them hard. I’m can only be good at what I do because of the people who love me. I go to work every day for Dave & Neeson – to support our family, to show Neeson that women are strong and independent – but also for me. This job has opened so may doors for me to find people who love hard. Community over competition – that’s so important, isn’t it? In the end, if you love what you do and the people you do it for and with, that makes it a whole lot easier to feel energized and balanced, rather than dragged down and overwhelmed.
3. Be present. When I first starting working again, I thought I would crumble at how much I missed my baby. Yes, some days are harder than others, but I force myself to be present at work. To give my all when I’m there, so I can give my all when I’m at home. This makes me better all around. Yes, I still spend the occasional few minutes scrolling through my pictures of Neeson while I’m at work, just like I spend time responding to emails while I’m at home. I’m working on this. Which brings me to…
4. You aren’t perfect and you can’t do it all. Some days I need to step away from my computer and ignore a phone call or two to just simply b r e a t h e. The emails will still be there and phone calls can be returned. Sometimes when I’m home I need to walk away from the scattered toys, piles of dishes and just b r e a t h e. The toys can be picked up later and the dishes definitely aren’t going anywhere. I can’t do it all. No one can. You just can’t be “perfect” all the time. What an exhausting standard to hold yourself to. As soon as I learned that, I felt a huge sense of freedom. My to-do lists have gotten shorter and my “someday projects” list more realistic. I know what I can take on and I leave the rest.
5. Find (and then DO) what fills your heart. I’m one of the lucky ones. I have a job that I love and the sweetest family to go home to. Even still, I’ve found that I need do make time for what fills me up. Writing. Simple crafts. Bubble baths. When I get a little time for me, I can wake up more energized and go to bed feeling content, which makes me better while I’m at work and better while I’m at home.
I don’t have it all figured out. That’s for sure. I’m learning what works for me, though, and that’s all any of us can really hope for. If you’re currently struggling to find balance, I hope, if nothing else, this has been a gentle reminder that you’re not along! If you have this balance game all figured out, let me know your secrets!