Sometimes you’re going to drop a ball

I was recently part of a panel discussing work/life balance. The first thing we all agreed to was that there is really no such thing — it’s a constant battle and some days just one wrong step can throw the whole thing off.

But one of the recurring themes was that when other women were asked to step up, they often said “Oh I can’t do that. I’m not as (organized, together, fill in the blank) as you are.” At which point, we all universally laugh.

Every mom has tricks to get through and every mom has bad days. We shouldn’t be scared to let people know that.

And an era of Facebook and mommy-blogging only makes it worse. I pull up my Facebook feed and see a mom who just created fruit bowls that look like Sesame Street characters. What I don’t see is that she worked on it at 2am after she fed her infant. We see pictures of beautiful toddlers basking in the sun, but we don’t see the fight that lasted 20 minutes when she desperately wanted to wear cowboy boots with her Easter dress.

A balancing act is hard. It is ongoing and, sometimes, we are just exhausted at the thought of tomorrow. But we keep going because we love our families, because we want to show our children that hard work is rewarding, because we have to.

I often tell people: the better I look and the more put together I am, the crazier my life probably is. I firmly believe in fake-it-til-you-make-it. So, when I’m coming down with the flu, haven’t slept because the baby is sick, my kids melt down into a snotty mess and I’ve got three more meetings to go, I double check my makeup, putting on some heels and smile. That’s my trick.

We all have them and maybe we should spend more time sharing our tricks and lifting other women up. We should share our successes but we should laugh at our failures. I’m not advocating that we share every bad part of our day — that would be messy and depressing. But instead of only writing about or posting the good, let’s all try to laugh at ourselves a little bit more.

After the event, I decided that I would post at least one balance fail each week. I would allow myself and my friends to laugh at it, hence the post in the feature photo. Show everyone that sometimes you have to drop a ball but, at the end of the day, the really important pieces are still intact. I’m asking all my readers to consider doing the same.

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Cathleen Lewis
Cathleen, the Mayor of Lawrence Township & a full-time Public Affairs professional, counts her best job as being Mommy to Abigail (3 years) and Bridget (6 months ). A New Yorker originally, but Boston raised, Cathleen enjoys the challenge of raising the girls in a mixed household with her Yankee-fan husband Paul. She hopes to make up for the confusion by encouraging the family’s love of Rutgers football. She dreams of sharing her love of beaches, margaritas, music and adventure but is happy to squeeze in a family walk with the dog and a back yard BBQ these days. Formerly an avid reader and writer before work, life and children; Cathleen hopes she hasn’t lost her ability to capture thoughts through the written word but often can’t remember where the grocery list is.

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