Work-Life “Balance”

The Biggest Lie Ever Told

Don’t do more, just do better. — The PhD Mamma
Photo by on Unsplash

The Fairytale

What did you think life was going to be like once you became (a) ________? Fill in the blank with your own personal assumptions, and I’m sure like me you’ll conjure up fond thoughts of family, career, passions and dreams, and like scenes from your favorite movie, they will scroll by in panorama. You take a moment and relish in the thought of having it all; arms full and hair gleaming in the sunshine. You realize after hearing the abrupt record scratch bringing you back to reality, coupled with the simultaneous burst of the movie bubble playing in your head, that you are nowhere near the idyllic drama you thought would unfold.

A friend of mine shared her weariness of not reaping specific fruits of her labor; she also expressed her disenchantment with other things that didn’t seem to add up. She believes, like many of us do, if you work hard enough, you’ll receive the reward (dream job, marriage, parenthood, or whatever “reward” looks like for you). So I inquired, “What does having it all really mean? When did the concept of being everything to everyone at all times become a thing? Why do we feel like we must take on every task, fight every foe, and climb every mountain?” And most importantly, “When is enough, enough?”

The Lie

I must admit, I too held fast to the notion that you could work, student, wife, mother, daughter, sister, cousin, friend, minister, etc., in a fluid and meaningful manner. Why? Because I had so many great examples! Or so I thought. Follow me as I challenge my old ways of thinking. I’m hope it will be a beneficial journey.

Growing up, I remember being taught to clean and cook, pay bills, all while going to school so that I could someday grow up and work and take care of my own family…huh? Please don’t get me wrong, my parent’s did the Lord’s work in preparing me for what I could expect in life and teaching me the skills I would need to survive. They poured into me with humilty and love, however, they forgot to tell me one. little. thing. Something has to give. Regardless of what the comic books said, y’all, superwoman does not exist. That brick wall of overwhelm can sneak up on you so quickly, you won’t be able to avoid a head-on collision.

You Can’t Have it All

Yep, I said it! By it I mean, having an overloaded plate with all items functioning at capacity and having “balance” or overall well-being. I have learned several lessons in my 37 years, and despite my fear of stating the obvious, I’ll share a few of them with you.

  1. You can only do so many things. (Translation: Learn how to say no.)
  2. You can only do so many things well at the same time. (Translation: Leave the juggling to the circus.)
  3. You only have a limited amount of time to get things done. (Translation: Use your time wisely.)
  4. Quantity does not always equal quality. (Translation: Don’t do more, just do better.)
  5. Success is subjective. (Translation: Stop comparing yourself to others.)

The Good News

You can create space — you are not relegated to being a task master nor slave in your own story! Life requires your ability to adapt to multiple plot twists along the way. So sister, take off your cape. Why? Because choice. And limits. And boundaries. And peace of mind.

You can find me having conversations like these here. I’d love to hear from you.