2018 · career · parenting

managing the chaos

There was a time, many moons ago, when I was fresh-faced and bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and completely convinced that if I just tried a little harder I could achieve the unicorn of adulthood: a harmonious work-life balance.

<cue hysterical laughter here>

For a hot minute or two, I really thought I was a failure because I didn’t seem to be nailing the whole balancing act the way I thought I was supposed to. Thankfully, I came to accept and understand that balance doesn’t exist – it’s a juggling act.

(Also: Holy shit, I wrote this post four years ago today, so it must be something about November?)

There is a sense of peace in knowing I’m not alone, but it doesn’t reduce the anxiety in the moment when I’ve inevitably found myself at a cross roads where a decision must be made. I don’t have a work life balance, but I’m trying my best to just manage the chaos that seems to be the one enduring constant in my life. 

I could roll on the floor laughing when I recall that I used to think my life was chaotic and busy. But then we became a hockey family. My kid has a spectacular social life. Everyone we know is pregnant, engaged, or getting married so we’re at some sort of shower or ceremony just about every weekend. Then there’s work events, work pressures, school stuff, homework, and I feel like I have no downtime – but I sometimes feel like I’m being lazy, too. I’m so paradoxical, you guys.

On Sunday, I spent several hours cleaning. Bathrooms were scrubbed, floors cleaned, closets purged, dinner made, laundry done, and I even had a shower myself. The boys went out of the house for a few hours which gave me loads of space and time to do the big clean I wanted to do and then I plopped my butt down with a little bowl of chips and I played video games while my slow cooker butter chicken made the house smell delicious from the kitchen.

But, when I went to bed I felt the anxiousness tugging at me: There were still a few dishes in the sink. Those boxes could have been collapsed and taken to the trash and recycling room downstairs. I could have taken time to mop. I should have spent more time with the boys. 

I got up early this morning – a real feat on Monday, let’s be real – and I contemplated the busyness and the hours I’ve lost worrying about whether or not I’m “doing it right” or “doing it well enough”. I’ve come full-circle this morning as I realize once again that life is not about balance but mitigating and managing chaos when you can, and surrendering to it when you need to. 

(And I kind of like it that way.)

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