This blog was inspired by a presentation I was invited to give to the Motivating Mum’s community on International Women’s Day, 2017.
I wanted to talk to you about balance
…because I think it’s balderdash
And while maybe, yes, saying it’s a conspiracy to keep us down might be overdoing it a bit, I believe this concept of perfect wife, perfect mother, perfect businesswoman with all these balls in the air, perfectly applied lipstick, good hair, kicking goals and taking names – that concept that we have to have everything balanced – I think that’s hurting us.
I’m a business owner, and a mother, and a writer, and a creative, and a wife, and a lover and a tap dancer and an in-the-shower-singer and a volunteer and a social media addict and a homework supervisor and a decent friend and I manage – sometimes badly – a physical illness.
Am I balanced? Heck no!
Did I think I SHOULD be! Yes!
This is certainly a first world problem, but we’re consistently being bombarded with these messages that we have to be perfect.
Balance implies that.
Be over here, now in equal parts do this over here for this person, now in equal parts grow your business, now in equal shares be a terrific, conscious and hands-on parent, oh and don’t forget in equal amounts to be a smashing wife.
Bah. Balance is overrated.
And trying to BE balanced is so, so tiring
Some days I write for 8 hours straight.
I can’t wait to get the kids on the bus, and get out of the shower, and I sit down and don’t talk to anyone or interact with the world and I just write. It’s incredible to me that every day I get to write and someone pays me money. Who knew that could happen?
Some days I lay in a teepee on my plastic back lawn, because the real stuff kept dying and my husband is gorgeous but he hates gardening…
and I draw dinosaurs. For hours.
Some days I nap.
Some days I spend far too long hunting for the perfect tutor for my teenager because education the price of an organ isn’t now enough to get him through and he’s ready to give up on himself. Some days I should be writing and end up helping my friend put her photography website together. Some days I write but it’s not as good as it should be and I consider going back to a ‘real’ job in communications or even Coles.
Some days I drink enough water.
Some days I drink tea for lunch.
I’m not balanced.
And I don’t think we should be.
I think we should aim for something different: a blend
And the blend is as individual as you like your coffee. As individual as your children. You might be all or nothing most days. And that’s OK. Stop trying to be so god damned perfect.
I have a ‘successful’ (there’s another term that might need to be scrapped) copywriting business that’s elevated and amplified my career from underappreciated communications employee to Queen of the Crisp Copy Empire.
And it looks like that on social media.
My Instagram is filtered to the nines, I post regularly about the extremely fortunate situations I find myself in – I was a recipient of multiple awards last year, for example – but my business and personal life aren’t balanced.
Who on earth builds a self-sustaining and rapidly growing business while not working too hard? I work too hard. But I work hard now so it’ll pay off next year, or the year after. And although I work too hard, I also make sure that the reason I work so hard – my family – is a big dollop of goodness in my blend.
Because if I can’t shut down the laptop and go to make Easter hats for the parade, what’s the darn point?
My version of a successful blend is: a messy constantly shifting meld of creativity, smart work, and ability to be flexible. There’s nothing balanced about my life, and yet it’s the happiest I’ve ever been.
I work with words every day so I understand how important language is. Maybe the term ‘balanced’ means something different for you and you feel calm, in control, and peaceful about it. Goodo! But if it makes you feel pressured, ditch it.
Try the blend
It’s sometimes chaotic, it often requires a 360 spin, you might need to check your emails while on the loo and simultaneously explaining the difference between a dictatorship and a democracy having a Hot Wheels car rolled under the door and really you’re writing the first headline of a clients Sales page in your head, but you’ll stop expecting perfection of yourself.
And that’s where the real good stuff happens.
Room to move, to breathe, to create new things, to have different ideas, to change your mind!
Room to admit you don’t know everything, to ask for help, to collaborate, to create a sisterhood of women who are real and true and raw and honest.
International Women’s Day is meant to be a celebration of women. I say, let’s celebrate by cutting ourselves some darn slack. We have a position of privilege, especially here in Australia. If we spent a little less time trying to be perfect we might have a bit spare to help each other out.
Happy International Women’s Day, gorgeous women of the world. May your blend be delicious. Like Mocha.
Jay Crisp Crow
Yep, really my name