The Truth About "Balance" and How to Have Grace with Yourself
Updated: Jan 2
Today's post is from guest blogger, Charli Hamlin, one of my dearest and very best friends. We hope you enjoy some wisdom about grace, balance, and taking pressure off of ourselves as women and all the roles we play.
When I found out I was going to become a mom five years ago, I had already jumped on the great “follow ALL the women who can balance it all” social media train. I’m a planner by nature, mostly because I love the satisfying feeling and the organization of it. I feel less stressed when there’s a plan or a guide, and when I can see it all laid out in front of me written on paper. I thought I could plan my way to being a mom who did it all. However, I noticed so many women doing one of two things: either struggling to achieve the “I can do everything; it’s totally fine” balance of motherhood, housekeeper, full-time employee, wife, cook, athlete, etc, etc, etc (insert all of the roles we play on the daily here) or pretending (a la those perfect 5% of our lives that most people post) to be doing it all and not sweating it. I read up a lot on the time management of it all; how to sleep train your baby so that you can work out every day, how to meal prep each week so that you only have to dump the food in the pan and go, how to do all of the things wonderfully so that you keep up your body, your side business, your relationship, your friendships, your full-time job, your clean house, the home cooked meals, the kids’ games after school, pick up from practice, and the ten thousand other things that have to be done to make your life run at 100% in all of these areas.
And then I had a baby and realized something: What-the-French-Toast kind of math are these women doing when they say they give 100% here, and here, and here, and over here? 500%?!? Now, I’m no math genius (ask my math teacher husband), but I know that percent literally means “out of 100;” as in, that’s the most you can give TOTAL. So what I’ve figured out is this (and the sooner we accept this as reality, the sooner we can give ourselves some grace, and the sooner we can enjoy the lives we have and watching our kids grow, because the last time I checked, babies don’t keep). There is no such thing as true balance. Let me say it louder for the gals in the back: perfect balance does not exist! In life, you get 100% to give. You get to choose how to split up that 100%, but that’s all you get. From day to day, or month to month, or season to season, that 100% may be split different ways to give more of yourself in different areas: work, momming, exercise, being a supportive wife, meal prepping, cheering at a game, the list goes on and on. Priorities are fluid; they’re constantly changing. And at the end of the day, we have to be okay with what we gave that day and where we gave it. The day is over. Life goes on. My four-year-old will not remember that we had chicken and stars soup for dinner twice this week so we could make it to her dad’s football game, or that I only worked out once because the baby woke up all night and it was me sleeping another hour or compromising my immune system and probably ending up sick from being overtired.
Dwelling on it doesn’t change it. Let. It. Go. The days are long but the years are short. We will never have these days back. Nobody is guaranteed tomorrow, and I would really hate to have wasted my last day on earth hating all of the things I had on my to do list and trying to please everybody, not to mention NOT modeling grace for myself to my kids, who we know are always watching and listening (proven when they pick out that ONE choice word from the sentence I said in the car to repeat in front of the PreK teacher).
So give yourself the grace that you would give to others. A wise woman, my “work mom,” Judy Byram, told me over and over again when I had a new baby “everything is a season. Whatever they are doing now, it will change, and then change again. Just live in, enjoy, or survive this season, knowing that a new one will come soon.”
Peace and Love to you, my gals, in the new year. May we all grow a little in grace this year.
Charli Hamlin is a Spanish teacher in Alabaster, Alabama. She is mother to a 4 year old little girl and pregnant with another baby girl due in March. She is wife to a football coach, is active in her church, runs an awesome hand lettering company called @wildflowerwaresart, and a garage gym fitness enthusiast. Follow her on IG @idahogirl7.