At least once a week I get an acquaintance who asks me or emails me this one question: “How do you do it all? Teach me your ways!”
And I get a good laugh.
Two things come to mind: 1. I’m doing a really bad job of portraying myself realistically on social media, and 2. Doing it all is bullshit and no one should feel like they have to. I sure don’t.
I think about the Four Burners Theory a lot. Like, a lot a lot. It is a concept that represents work-life balance. Imagine your life is a stove with four burners: the first burner represents family, the second represents friends, the third health and the fourth work. In order to be successful, you must completely turn off one of the burners. To be really successful you must turn off two. NO PRESSURE OR ANYTHING.
Or, if you’re me, you half ass it. Turn all of those burners to 50% heat and you’ve got enough of yourself to go around. This is a different form of “balance” (side note: hate that word) and it helps me function.
Take these photos for example. On the right is an Olympic inspired photoshoot I did in my home office for an outfit post I was working on. On the left is Sullivan, pissed that I won’t give him more Cheerios and didn’t let him wear my American flag shorts until I was done. He sat there the entire time I was shooting (maaaybe 3 minutes). I had to turn that mom burner down so I could fire up that work burner and not miss a deadline.
This is the half-assers version of balance.
More often than I’d like to admit, my kids get PB&Js for dinner. Some nights, I sit next to my husband and mindlessly scroll to decompress. I ignore text messages. My BGD shipping turnaround time is terrible right now. Multiple times per week, I plop my kids in front of screens so I can answer emails. I watch trashy TV. I sacrifice running for sleep. I sacrifice sleep to run. I have hid in my closet with a glass of wine. I avoid making new friends because I’m terrible at keeping up with the ones I have. I never do laundry. I forget to wash my face.
I used to let these things eat at me until I was driven crazy by guilt. But now, when I know one burner is going cold I focus on the one heating up.
The boys ate PB&J because we had a blast swimming at a friend’s house all afternoon. I ignored texts because I was super inspired to create new BGD products. I don’t seek out new friends because the ones I have are beyond stellar; they understand who I am and what I stand for. The laundry suffers but I keep the kids fed and (mostly) happy all day. I’m exhausted but still get up and run miles with friends in the mountains, for my sanity.
It’s a little give, a little take and a freakload of flexibility.
It works for us. It works for me.
The kicker that allows me to be at peace with being a half-asser is that I know these days won’t last forever. This season of my life will end. Kids grow up and won’t need me to fulfill 732 snack requests before 8 a.m. (Ok, maybe I won’t miss that part.)
What are your day to day tricks to keep it all in “balance”? Comment below!