We've all been there. You reach that critical breaking point where chaos wins. You've got toothpaste on your suit jacket, your hair is rimmed with gray because you haven't had time to see your stylist in weeks. The kids are wearing the same clothes from yesterday and you think maybe (hopefully!) they grabbed a granola bar or a stray Cheerio for breakfast on your way out the door. The car squeals to a stop at daycare, you sprint to unload them on their teachers and then Mario Andretti your way to the first meeting of the day. You fall into the chair, gray hair askew, gasping for air. You try to shake off the anxiety of the morning as you pull out your computer, hurriedly brush away a few sticky Kix and focus on the job at hand.
As a busy single mom to twin boys with a full time career, I get it.
Work/life balance often felt like this mythical creature that only existed in my dreams. There were never going to be enough hours in the day for me to get everything done. I was never going to kick back and relax, fully rested and satisfied with the pace of the day. That was just the nature of the beast, every working mom's reality, right? "A mother's job is never done."
Somewhere along my frenzied way, I realized that balance wasn't actually an impossibility. It was a choice. I was living the life that I had created; a result of a series of choices I had made and continued to make every day. I allowed this to happen. Balance was definitely an option - just one I hadn't picked up to that point. Once I claimed responsibility for my role in the chaos, I set my mind to fixing my mistake and charting the course towards sanity.
Chaos began with a series of steps in the wrong direction, so it would stand to reason that order begins with a series of steps in the right direction. The real first step was forgiving myself. Acknowledging that I had veered off course at some point and lost sight of my ideals. Accepting that the path back to a more balanced life would be a journey - I'd have good days and bad. The next step was defining what balance looked like for me and for my family. I had to pick a destination to know where I was headed.
Once I had a clear vision firmly in place, it came time to make some tough decisions. I had to list out all of the things I was doing in my life - blogger, freelance writer, salesperson, mom, community moderator, team leader, sales trainer, client coordinator, social media manager, administrative assistant, marketing strategist, photographer, anything! - and consider the time I actually had available. I had to ask myself, are there things on this list that are not helping me move towards the life that I want? Is there anything on my list that I only do because I feel pressured to by someone else?
Then came the hard part. I had to be ok with letting some things go. It was a difficult lesson and period of painful honesty for me, especially at the start. Learning when and how to say no became a crucial tool in my arsenal. I had to remove the obstacles keeping me from the life that I wanted and commit to weighing future opportunities against a stringent checklist before I said yes.
With The Modern Femme Movement, I have the opportunity to encourage other working women as they take that first baby step towards a more balanced life. I get to support you as you realize that balance is really an option for you - You just have to choose it!
Us busy working moms will always be busy. But let's collectively take a step towards the busy we choose, not the busy that happens. Claim the life that you want for you and your family today and stick with it tomorrow. Together we have the opportunity to redefine success, reorder our lives and find fulfilment in the workplace and at home. Are you ready for a change?
Katy Blevins is co-founder of The Modern Femme Movement, a community platform redefining success on a global scale by equipping female entrepreneurs with the tools to discover a meaningful life that is both professionally adventurous and fully present at home. Katy and her long-time business partner, Somer Chambley, work closely with small business owners from all walks of life, via their sister company, The Hampton Roads Creative, to help restore their energy, focus and strategy in the social media arena by clearly defining their purpose and unique go-to-market voice. Katy is a working mom to twin toddlers, so is no stranger to the crazy that is developing a successful business while also maintaining some semblance of order at home. You can follow her tips and tricks to a more manageable life on her personal blog, Chaos & Kiddos. Catch up with her on Twitter @chaosandkiddos.