Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Truth About Appearances

I was asked on twitter today about balance--and I knew they weren't talking about my Wii Fit score. They wanted to know what advice I had on getting it all done. It being, all of 'it'. I sat at the other end of the screen, surprised, because Wow Do I look like someone who has it all together?

How did that concept ever appear? I wanted to apologize if I made it seem that way because I am no master of my universe. Instead I said "There is no balance. Only daily work and reminding myself to be my personal cheerleader."

Later this afternoon, I googled "Balance+Life+Women" and found out a few things that made me laugh out loud in an ouch that hurts to know way. For instance, did you know you're supposed to do certain things daily?

True, one site suggested that for balance in life, you need to outline time needed for your daily non- negotiables.

And then they gave The Big 7:


They offered the tip that if you must, let some things slide, like TV. As if I didn't feel bad enough already about not meeting The Big 7 up there as it was... I find out that I should have had time to watch TV in there? I was even failing at watching TV??

Here's how I handle my Big 7:

-My exercise is speed walking for 50 minutes like I'm in England. Then I do 10 minutes of arm exercises. I also ignore all articles that begin with "Get that bikini body ready now!"
-My sleep is wherever I land in the house between the hours of 1 a.m. and 7.
-Homecare? (hire out, says the article) Yeah, no, tried it. By the time I picked up the house I decided I might as well clean it. Or not.
-Work hours for me are easy. I have one of the best jobs that suits me more and more each year. I get paid to play with preschoolers.
-Bills? I don't like to talk about money. That's not good, I know.
-Childcare. Schedule it? I am on deck, on call, that's how I like to do it all--with the kids in the background.
-Cooking? Now you hit on a non-negotiable. Food allergies, five hungry people. I'm the one who does feeding time because I'm the smartest, fastest, and best at it.

We are all scrambling for time. If we compare what others accomplish to what we've done, this won't ever work. We don't know if someone has a friend who comes over to help, or a mother that lives just six minutes away. Someone might have kids who play well by themselves, and still others may just have the knack for organizing their time.

Each one of us sees what someone else is doing and it's kneejerk simple to go to a chastising inner dialogue. Why aren't we writing more, exercising more, laughing more, funning more? We want to get things done and be productive, but what is THE TRICK?

I've thought long and hard about a better answer to give to that tweet from this morning. Almost 12 hours later, I'm pretty sure I know what it is.

The Big 7 up above don't count if you don't start with the mother of them all: if you don't have this one thing, the one you must do, nothing will work. Everything we do takes energy and without This One Thing, you'll be sapped of it. So-

Take care with how you talk to yourself.

That is all of it right there. Nothing will have your shoulders landing on your knees faster than the spiral of self-talk of how you're not as good as anyone else, how you can't keep up with everyone else, and how all that you do is half assed and slapped together.

Want to feel overwhelmed? Tell yourself you'll never find the time to do anything.
Want to feel muddled and confused? Just think of all you have to do over and over.
Going for anxious? Remind yourself of how far behind you are from your goals.

We need to feel good about ourselves to find the energy and drive to pursue and commit to the things we want. If you want to fire yourself up for all that you want in life, remember where good feelings come from. From hearing something good. That means no more of how much better and more together others are than we are. I'm no psychologist but I'd bet my cheetah spotted shoe collection on how depleting critical self talk can be. We have got to reframe our relationship with ourselves.

So. Don't do it anymore. Stop bad talking yourself. The Big 7 up above are whatever The Big 7 are to you. Take your non-negotiables from there.

Exercise - absolutely I do not miss a day. I want to live.
Sleep - without a doubt I am working on change. This year, I started changing into pajamas.
Homecare - clean toilets, floors, non-sticky counters and folded laundry. Enough.
Childcare - is what you need it to be in the season you're in. Parenting is dynamic. Children grow, life gets easier. It's easy to forget that. Your time to do will come.
Bills - a definite work in progress.
Work - I'm lucky, I like mine. I get to color! And play-dough in the morning!
Cooking - this is my fun. Dicing carrots, chopping garlic, feeding my people. This fills my tank.

This is how my Big 7 work for me.

And just typing that, made me smile already.

So go on, love on yourself and realize that we never know how others make it work, we can only know what makes it work for us.

Peace out.

* * * 


  1. How lovely! Such a great number one rule and something to keep in mind all day, every day. Thanks!

    1. Thank you so much for reading. Glad it meant something to you.

  2. ---Great Post, Alexandra!
    Every time I think my life is balanced, something else falls to the side-lines.
    Sleep? Nope, I'm watching Orange is the New Black all night! xx

    1. Yes, exactly that. I know in my life, with all honesty, there is always a trade off.

  3. Love ---> "Take care with how you talk to yourself." YUP! So many of us are doing much better than we think!

    1. Yes, Nina. We are doing so much better. And I have to stop and look back at all that I have managed to do, with my own specific set of circumstances.

  4. What I really appreciate here is how specific and genuine you were in going over your own list of "needs." It translates for us readers into permission to write our own lists, and they don't need to match yours. Yes. Each of us is who we are!

    1. Yes, Jocelyn. We look around, at least I do, and I think to myself how I need to do more. But you know what? My limits are my limits. This is what I can do, and I remind myself every day. It's OK.

  5. I love: "Take care with how you talk to yourself." Fine words to remember.

    1. Thank you, Momma Fargo, it's so important.



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