Finding Balance in the Chaos
How do I do it all? This is always the first question I receive from people when I tell them about myself. Honestly, my life can be summed up into one word: hectic. Not only am I a mom to two sons (ages 8 and 18 months), I am also a wife and an entrepreneur. My husband and I own two bars, and for anyone who is not familiar with this type of business, I will be the first to share that both bars are a 24-hour responsibility. I am just as likely to be awakened at 2am by a bad dream as I am to be awakened by a phone call from someone saying that we are running dangerously low on Bud Light. I have to be prepared to deal with both of these situations delicately and without biting off someone’s head. Trust me when I tell you that this is not an easy thing to do when you are physically and mentally exhausted – a state I find myself in more often than not.
My oldest son is a very independent and responsible little boy. He makes straight A’s, is kind and considerate almost to a fault, and never complains when Mom and Dad need to work long hours. Thankfully, I have an amazing support system of family and friends who are able to help me with the kids when I need it. Most importantly, my son never misses out on anything that he wants to do because of the wonderful grandparents, aunts, and uncles he has in his life. My family and friends will likely never truly understand just how special and important they are to me, nor will I ever be able to express to them how eternally grateful I am to them.
While my oldest son is quiet, calm and collected, my youngest son is a force of nature! I affectionately refer to him as “Hurricane” because he literally leaves a path of destruction in his wake. This child of mine has never walked a day in his life; he only knows how to RUN! Keeping up with him after a 14 hour work day is a test of both my will and my patience on a daily basis. My husband and I have had to learn how to parent all over again when dealing with him because he is so vastly different from his older brother. We try not to use the adjective “bad,” so instead we say that he is “busy.” Nothing keeps you on your toes quite like a busy toddler!
On top of owning two thriving businesses and keeping up with two active sons, my husband and I still need to maintain a strong marriage, and we all know that a happy marriage takes work. No matter how much we love one another and love our family, our marriage requires attention and dedication in order for it to flourish. To us, having successful businesses mean nothing if our marriage is not also successful.
I told you … Hectic.
As I am sure you can imagine, there are times that I have struggled to keep up with it all. One afternoon, amidst the cloud of chaos and self-doubt that has become the new normal in my life, a good friend offered me a piece of advice. As I sat there distraught and on the verge of a complete breakdown, I couldn’t help but think that I was failing at everything in my life. I felt as if I was not able to give enough of myself to satisfy my children or my husband or to make our businesses successful. As I lamented about just needing to figure out a way to find BALANCE, my friend took my hand and said to me:
… balance in life is a journey, not a destination. Balance is really nothing more than just a goal to strive for each day and not an overall challenge. If you failed in one aspect of your life today, then you can simply start over and try again tomorrow.
The idea that I did not have to be PERFECT every single day sent a wave of calm through my brain. Finding balance did not mean that I had to check off every item on my to-do list every day. It also did not mean that I had to do Pinterest-worthy Elf on the Shelf placements every night, nor did it mean a gourmet meal had to be served hot and fresh each evening for my family. What I took away from my friend’s advice was that balance could be whatever I needed it to be TODAY, and then it could be something entirely different TOMORROW.
This new perspective has been a life-changer for me.
When I find that I didn’t have nearly enough minutes in the day to accomplish all of the things that I needed to do at the bars, but I had enough time to sit down for dinner with my children, then I can say that I was successful. When there are days that maybe I have had to shorten my time with my kids, but I had enough time to be able to knock out a big task that had been hanging over my head at work, then I can say that I was successful. When “date night” consists of a 20-minute dinner at McDonald’s with my husband in between running errands with our phones going off constantly, then I can say I was successful.
No matter how much I did not accomplish in a day, I can still chalk it up as a successful day because, after all, my life is a work in progress. Balance is something I will always strive for, but also something that I will no longer beat myself up about for not having achieved perfection!
Alicia is the mother of two boys, owns two bars, and has two pet rabbits. When she is not cleaning up a mess left by one of those three things, she enjoys reading, Sci-Fi movies, Comics, and drinking wine. Lots and lots of wine. She is very much in love with her husband/business partner Timothy, despite what she may say to the contrary!