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Can You Really Balance It All?

Remember the days before kids? When you were constantly on the hunt for the perfect pair of jeans and the most flattering little black dress? But now you are constantly on the hunt for something far more elusive: balance.

It is the trendiest word in motherhood since the beginning of time. You've read countless articles telling you the steps to striking the perfect work/home balance: Be organized, keep a calendar, plan ahead, et cetera. You know all of this. Yet, there are still days when you feel like everything is spinning out of your control and you don't know how to stop it. Believe me, I've been there. I've been there on days when I have to be fresh and camera-ready. When my hair will not cooperate, my phone will not stop ringing and I have to be across town for a school function in 20 minutes. It is always on those days somebody asks me, "How do you balance it all? What are your secrets?"

For so long I did not know how to answer that question. I would respond, "Ask me where to find the perfect pair of jeans or the most flattering black dress. I can give you store names, brands, websites..."

But balance?

It took me several years of motherhood to realize that the trick to balancing it all is really to not worry about it so much. It's like walking over a sewer grate in midtown Manhattan in 5-inch heels in a snowstorm. The same rules apply:

1. Relax. Forgive yourself for not being "perfect." There will always be those mothers at the playground who will make you doubt yourself. They seem to have everything in order. Believe me, they don't. Perfection is a myth. And it's boring.

2. Take someone's hand if they offer it. Let others help you. Yes, I know. You think it's easier to do it yourself and nobody is going to do it as well as you do it. That may be true sometimes, but it is not true all of the time. Give in. Nobody likes a martyr.

3. Don't worry about keeping up with everyone else. Just because you find out that everyone else is signing their kids up for violin and Mandarin lessons doesn't meant you have to as well. Do what is right for you and your child. The sooner you teach your children that it is unfashionable to follow the crowd, the better.

4. Put one foot in front of the other and you'll be fine. However, if you do happen to slip up (it happens), don't make a big deal about it. Just brush yourself off, smile and keep moving:

"So be sure when you step,

Step with care and great tact.

And remember that life's A Great Balancing Act.

And will you succeed?

Yes! You will, indeed!

(98 and ¾ percent guaranteed)."

–Dr. Seuss, Oh the Places You'll Go

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