This blog post is part of the Mogul, Mom, & Maid Blog Carnival. You can read more about the book here at: http://www.mogulmommaid.com
Disclosure: The author gave me a free copy of the book as part of my participation in this cool blog carnival!
My mom and my maternal grandmother were both working outside of the home moms. All the adult women that I knew growing up were working women – whether it was at home or outside of the home. I even viewed my great grandmother as a working mom since she did all the cooking, cleaning, and other household related tasks while my grandparents were running their restaurant. In my eyes, being a woman meant working. Being a mom was just another job to add on to whatever jobs they were already doing.
As a working mom now, I wonder how my mom even did everything she did. It is still a great mystery to me how she managed to work outside of the home full time, keep the house clean, do the laundry, cook dinner every night, never run out of toilet paper, host dinner parties, maintain her marriage, and do volunteer work at church. Just thinking about it makes me feel tired and want to curl up in the corner, but my mom did this day in and day out.
When I think about succeeding in having it all, I think about my mom and how she seemingly was able to do it all. It was how I defined success for myself as a working mom. I never seemed to quite measure up. I couldn’t cook every night, the laundry would be piled up, and inevitably, we would run out of toilet paper. It felt near impossible to keep up and felt so discouraging. I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t do the same as my mother and grandmother seemed to do with ease.
In my discouragement, a friend reached out to me and we got to talking about how it was so hard to balance everything. There was an immediate sense of relief because I wasn’t the only one who was struggling with this – we both were. I discovered that there was actually so many of my friends struggling with the same questions, frustrations, and disappointments with the whole balancing act of working, being a mom, taking care of the house, being a wife, and finding time for friends and themselves.
I’m still struggling with the balancing act, but I realized that I needed to redefine success for myself. My grandmother had her version of success and so did my mom. My 3.0 version of success probably looks very different from what my mom and her mom thought was successful. Here’s what I feel are markers for Success 3.0:
1. I’ve set aside daily “me” time that I protect. Self-care is so important and it’s what will keep you going strong and healthy. At first, I thought weekly time would be enough, but I started to realize that I needed to do some things every day like drinking my iced tea and taking a moment before starting my day with quiet. I am also trying to get in the discipline of exercising, but it’s been harder than I had hoped.
2. Saying, “No.” I realized that the more I say no, the less stressed and overwhelmed I feel. I tend to over-commit and then end up pretty stressed out because of it and everyone suffers, especially my family. I’ve set up a few goals for what I want to achieve for the month, the year, and some that are more far-reaching. If something doesn’t fall in those goal buckets, I just say no. It’s been hard to say no, but I always feel better after.
3. Am I having fun and feeling happy? If you aren’t enjoying your life, then it’s time to sit down and think about why that is. To me, a successful life should be a life that is enjoyed and brings about a sense of happiness. Having a four year old is also a good reminder about having fun. It’s the little moments of laughter, giggles, and reading books in funny voices that make the memories.
I am still trying to figure out the right balance for my life, especially since things seem to shift and change as my child gets older and work responsibilities change. I try my best to remember to be flexible and to re-look at my success markers every now and again. My one big constant about success is this: The meaning of success doesn’t always have to stay the same – it can be redefined and changed. You may be on Success 3.1 or Success 5.0 – wherever you may be, I hope you know that we are journeying together for this balancing act and I’m glad to be in such good company.