I have three small kids. I run a small business. I homeschool. I run around trying to shine light on issues of injustice. “How you do it all!” or “You make it look so easy!” are things I hear often. While I know it’s (almost) always a well-intended sentiment, it never sits well. So I’m going to break it down.
How do I do it all? I don’t.
I’m not going to try and feed you some inspired story of balance — because I often operate like a chicken with my head cut off — and the days that my life are balanced are few and far between. There are days when I am a great mom. And on those days I’m a horrible business owner and apathetic activist. There are days when I organize protests and do news interviews about various social and environmental issues. And on those days I ignore my kids while they watch TV, snap (read scream like a crazy woman) at them and forget to feed the dogs. And frankly, there are days where my anxiety and depression swallow me whole and I am a horrible mom, business owner, and activist all at once. Those (these) are usually the days I write.
I imagine none of us really achieve balance — and when we do we certainly can’t balance for long before we fall in one direction or another. I remember a yoga teacher saying in class that falling out of a posture makes you human, getting back into the posture when you fall out makes you a yogi. In yoga, and in life, I fall out of balance all. the. time. There will never come a day when I can hold every pose, every time (lately I can’t even make time to get on my mat at all — because you know — so much life balance going on over here). And similarly, there will never come a time where I can operate effectively and productively in all directions. But there is great beauty in the struggle, in getting back up and getting back in. And losing sight of that is of the most detrimental of life lessons to forget.
I am a passionate person (arguably overly passionate). Try as I might I don’t know how to ‘turn it off’ or ‘tone it down.’ I am pulled in many directions — as I think most moms are — but they are all directions I love. I wish I could do it all, but I can’t, no one can.
As horrible of a mom as I am some days (let’s pause there for a second and acknowledge that we all have horrible days. I don’t think I am a horrible mom at large — but yeah — I’ve had MANY horrible days), I do not feel horrible for my children seeing me struggle, seeing me fall. Because one day they will be independent and faced with the task of imperfectly navigating their passions as well. And if nothing else I don’t want to pass on to them an unrealistic expectation that they can do it all, or that it will ever be easy. And I don’t ever want to give that impression to my peers either.