My balance series at Cup of Jo

A few months back, I came across a post from Goop offering sample schedules of high-powered, highly successful, working mothers, a day in the life, if you will.

It kind of set me off, honestly.  Made me feel like a slouch.  During the school year, I’m just trying to figure out how to workout/get to the grocery store/maybe write a blog post/figure out the meaning of life/be on time for nursery school pick-up. Though I admire their accomplishments, I think maybe these aren’t “my women”, you know?

So maybe I will never be the woman buying all birthday gifts in advance for the year, wrapped, filed, ready to go.  And maybe my evening plans won’t include meeting up with Stella McCartney for a little “girlfriend time” after the kids go to bed. Or fittings with a stylist.  I did make a mental note, however, that the equation seems to be this: extremely organized+ structured days=highly productive.  Good childcare figures in heavily.

The post was like candy, kind of enjoyable but in the end kind of made me feel bad.  I couldn’t resist it, though, as I am always wondering how the heck everyone else is doing this, whether they are working, working part-time, not working.  Don’t you really want to peek into other women’s days, to see what they’re doing and how they’re doing it?  Is that just me?

From my small cross-section of friends, two things have become clear: one, everyone else is just trying to figure this out, too, and two, no arrangement is perfect.  Oh, and that it changes over time.  Just when you’ve found an arrangement that is working, a babysitter moves on/your career plans change/your now older children need you in different ways/summer comes, et cetera.  There is no such thing as “having it all”.  We are constantly making decisions about what is most important and what can go (at least for now).

I was so pleased when I came across the “My balance” series over at Cup of Jo.  If you haven’t met Jo, you should pay her a visit.  She has a lovely design-y blog.  The series asks questions about work/life/parenting balance of many well-loved faces in the blog world.  I’m kind of remedial as far as reading other blogs, but I was pleased to see that I was familiar with most of the women and admire the work they are doing.

If you, too, are fascinated with how women are making creative, productive work/family lives, check it out.

This one scared me a little (no offense, Jenny. But I need way more sleep than you).

But this and this made me feel like we’re all in this together.

P.S. In case you’re curious about MY balance, I started writing this while everyone was still asleep, but am finishing up having plied one child with my iPhone in the next room, soon after begging another child to give his littlest brother a bowl of cereal.  Or anything. Please.  Just five more minutes. . . .

8 thoughts on “My balance series at Cup of Jo

    • Oh, but summer can be cruel, right? Any “balance” achieved officially toppled. Repeat after me, “September. . .September. . .September. . .”

  1. Oh, I love this series! Thank you so much for pointing me to it. The GOOP feature gave me the same reaction, by the way. People often ask me how I do it which makes me laugh out loud because hello, I’m running around in my pajamas like a crazy person and I do NOT do it!!! I LOVE reading the truths of other peoples’ lives and am so glad to hear of Jo’s series. xox

  2. This is great Erin! I loved reading your posts and the others.. As someone who just stepped into motherhood and now the ‘juggle’ this was great to read. The posts you referred were empowering and inspiring.. Xpo

  3. I, too, love getting a peak into other people’s lives, although I’ve learned over the years to always take their accounts with a grain of salt. So often when I’ve found someone who seems to have it all together, before you know it you are reading about their marital difficulties or their financial troubles. Which is why I treasure when people write really honestly and it doesn’t all sound so orderly – sort of like the writing in the old yahoo group! I looked at some of the balance series and was struck, and annoyed (or felt inferior?), by how they all have a routine. I don’t have a routine at all! Maybe it’s because my children are older and it all changes so much. Maybe I can’t ever stick with a routine even when I come up with one. Maybe because routine never involves “and now for two hours I will fart around and not really accomplish anything while I look at Facebook, go through old papers, talk on the phone with a friend.”
    Maybe you should do your own imbalance series of women with older kids, older marriages, writing about how they live…

    • I am thinking of doing a series like Jo’s, with my own spin. I love it, an Imbalance series!

      I agree with taking it with a grain of salt, still I can’t help but want to read their perhaps idealized versions of their routines. What happens when the baby’s sick? The babysitter’s sick? The toilet is backed up and the plumber is 15 feet from you while you’re trying to work? The internet’s down? I really want to read THAT series. And what about some of the difficult, ambivalent, feelings? We all make our best decisions, but there is a cost to each one of them. I’d like to hear more about that, too.

      Something worth noting is that many (though not all) of the accounts are of women with ONE very young child. I recall that time being a tad more routined, with the two naps, morning at the park, etc. I have found that added years and added children change any sense of routine and semblance of order. At least four times a year (each new season), I find myself trying to figure out how it’s all going to work.

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