Like many of you, I grew up watching The Cosby Show and was always in complete awe of Clarie Huxtable. To me, Claire Huxtable was that beautiful, highly intelligent, super badass mom and wife that I dreamt to one day be. Not only was she a true boss in her professional life (remember, she was a PARTNER at her law firm), but she also held it down in the house for her five kids and husband and looked like she had it all. #boss
While I know that Claire Huxtable was a fictional character and that in real life, there's truly no such thing as always "having it all", there are some women that have managed to simultaneously successfully juggle the titles of "wife", "mother", and "boss" just like Auntie Claire did.
Recently, I was able to catch up with these successful working moms and wives and they shared how they manage to be the best wife and mother they can be, while also fulfilling their career dreams. Keep reading to learn more about their "happy life, happy wife" hacks!
Juggling Unrealistic Expectations
Courtesy of Jade Kendle
Jade Kendle, CEO & Founder of #LifeIsContent
Courtesy of Jade Kendle
"I'm always having to mitigate the expectations I put on myself, and others. I'm always trying to be my best, and sometimes that impacts me (and others) negatively. I put too much pressure on myself to be the best that it becomes stressful when there's no way I can ever be perfect at everything - no matter how hard I try!
"Being a woman in 2020 comes with so many expectations. I try to remind myself that there's no one to chase. There's no one chasing me. It's about me practicing excellence, not just when it's easy, but when it's hard. It looks like coming out of a frustrating moment and reflecting on how things could've had a better outcome and making a commitment to do better. Continuously evaluating and reconnecting to my ultimate why - helps me let go of that 'perfectionist' energy."
The Self-Care Struggle
Courtesy of Shakyna Bolden
Shakyna Bolden, Brand Partnerships at xoNecole & Founder of Little Village Collective
"Last year was incredibly tough for me because overnight I went from being a stay-at-home mom to starting a new venture. It was overwhelming and at times too much... That being said, I can't take another year of neglecting my body, mind and spirit while trying to build my family and career. So I started 2020 with the intention to prioritize my well-being."
Courtesy of Shakyna Bolden
"Currently, I'm struggling the most with self-care and consistently maintaining a sacred space/daily regimen that builds my mind, body and spirit so that I can perform better in all areas of my life from my work to my mothering and being a great partner. Last year was incredibly tough for me because overnight I went from being a stay-at-home mom (only working part-time) to starting a new venture. It was overwhelming and at times too much.
"To be honest, I gained all my post-baby weight back that I had worked so hard to lose, suffered from extreme exhaustion, fatigue, and burnout, faced role dynamics shift in my partnership and so much more. That being said, I can't take another year of neglecting my body, mind and spirit while trying to build my family and career. So I started 2020 with the intention to prioritize my well-being.
"I would say support is VITAL to juggling work and home. My partner unquestionably shares in household responsibilities on everything from taking care of our son to cooking. When I travel for work, he's on complete daddy duty and we have family and friends that truly support us as well. Lastly, I'm blessed to be able to work from home and have a flexible work schedule that helps me be fluid in my work and home. There's no secret at xoNecole that I'm a mom. A lot of times in the workplace moms have to sneak off or apologize for momming, but that's not the case with me."
Dealing With Guilt
Courtesy of Ashley N. Cash
Ashley N. Cash, Interview and Salary Negotiation Expert
"Sometimes I feel guilty for losing my patience, forgetting an important date, saying no to a birthday party, or getting frustrated with my husband. I overcome guilt by reminding myself that I am a human, I'm doing my best, and giving myself grace in those imperfect moments."
Courtesy of Ashley N. Cash
"Mommy guilt is a thing...there are days when I feel guilty about the moments where work pulls me away from my family. Sometimes I feel guilty for losing my patience, forgetting an important date, saying no to a birthday party, or getting frustrated with my husband. I overcome guilt by reminding myself that I am a human, I'm doing my best, and giving myself grace in those imperfect moments (so many imperfect moments, ha!).
"My other mommy guilt hack is using feeling guilty as a trigger to give myself a quick reminder of all the other things that I've done right and done well, which is really a hell of a lot (shoutout to my therapist for that one). Which is another mommy boss hack: Have an outlet or two to help you clear your head and get out of wife, mom, work mode. My outlets are scheduling alone time doing something I enjoy by myself and seeing my therapist once a month.
"I think I'm able to be a great wife, mom, and entrepreneur all at the same time because I'm good at aligning what I do with what's most important to me at home and in business, asking for what I need and saying no when I need to because I'm not afraid of missing out on anything. I'm positive that there's enough time, money, clients, and opportunities in the world and that I don't have to trade marriage and motherhood to have them. I think that's an abundance mindset with a little bit of grace mixed in."
Trying to Find Balance in an Unbalanced World
Courtesy of Mattie James
Mattie James, Entrepreneur & Influencer
"What I had to come to terms with is that balance looks different every day. Some days, I kill it as a mom and entrepreneur, but not so much as a wife. Other days, I'm the wife of the year, an amazing mom but my business was put on the backburner. And guess what? That's fine."
Courtesy of Mattie James
"What I had to come to terms with is that balance looks different every day. Some days, I kill it as a mom and entrepreneur, but not so much as a wife. Other days, I'm the wife of the year, an amazing mom but my business was put on the backburner. And guess what? That's fine, because there's always tomorrow and I'm not obligated to be everything to everybody at all times.
"What I do oblige myself with is self-care. Because when I take care of myself, I can be the fullest version of any of the roles in my life including wife, mother or entrepreneur. I'm not interested in being any of those things running on an empty tank. Self-care is what keeps me full. It helps me achieve balance."
Featured image courtesy of Shakyna Bolden
Originally published May 2, 2020
I overheard a group of women in the locker room as I was getting changed for my usual lunchtime workout session. One complained after weighing herself for what she claimed was the fourth time in two weeks. "I still haven't lost any weight," she said. "I'm not coming back."
From the outside looking in – me being a stranger and all – it appeared that her imperfect results had inspired her to quit the gym altogether. It seemed as though the process of getting fit was too taxing and possibly just taking too long for her. I don't know how long she had been coming to the gym prior to this conversation with her and her friends, but apparently it wasn't working out how she had planned.
I, however, walked into the gym with a different mindset:
Progress, not perfection.
Too often, we want to get things right the first time we try. We want to go in and be perfect. We want to create and be perfect. We want the perfect end result and the perfect time to align them and manifest nothing but perfection. And we'd rather do nothing than settle for anything less than that.
We quit, or never even start, because the time isn't perfect, or the perfect results aren't immediate. We choose not to produce, or complete what we're creating, because we're held up by an idea of perfectionism that doesn't always align with the work we're producing. For many of us, it's either perfection or failure – there is no middle ground.
But we forget the most important part: It's our progress, not our perfection, which gets results. It's what we produce, not how perfect we produce it. While yes, we want to do things well, we cannot allow our desire to do things perfectly stop us from doing things at all.
We can't continue to excuse our inactivity by suggesting that the moments, or circumstances, we currently have aren't perfect enough to manifest greatness. The weather is too cold to go for a run, so we don't. The job isn't right to start setting the stage for better professional opportunities, so we don't. The camera we have isn't perfect for starting a photography career, so instead, we do nothing. The website isn't nice enough, so we don't advertise it. We constantly run from our goals because we feel that the hand we're dealt isn't conducive to the dreams we have. We feel that, if we had a little more money, time, resources – you know, the "perfect" circumstance – then we could really get to work. But in allowing ourselves to stay stagnant because of imperfection, we're doing a disservice to ourselves and those we're meant to serve with our gift.
Instead of striving for perfection, we should be striving for progress.
The truth is, our idea of perfection will constantly evolve as we do. But you may never get there if you don't start somewhere. If you keep allowing your perfection – or lack thereof – to handicap your progress, you will never do or experience anything.
Spiritually, we are people of flaws, and those flaws will present themselves in our behaviors and our creations – especially as we tackle them for the first time. However, that imperfection should not stop us from getting things done.
So, instead of waiting for the perfect time or stressing about creating the perfect product, commit yourself to making progress. To get it done well – not perfectly. To take one step forward of starting to complete tasks on your to-do list(s). To accomplish one more thing off your list of goals. To grow, or learn, or do a bit more in all aspects of your life. Because as each day passes, you'll be one step closer to where you want to be.
If we remember that it is our steps that bring us to growth and completion, not our perfection, we will better position ourselves for greatness.
New things, or trying them, will never be perfect. They will require you to stumble and fall sometimes. They are every part of trial and error that perfectionism can't stand. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't do those new things; it just means that you should welcome imperfection.
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Featured image by Getty Images
It's 8:00 PM. You have a major team deliverable tomorrow, and despite 52 offers from your coworkers, you turn them all down and are convinced that you are the only one who can complete the task to your satisfaction.
After cleaning every room in your house, meal prepping for the week, and randomly picking lint out of your sweater, you decide to stay up until 3:00 AM creating the presentation, storyline, and handouts… and it looks amazing. After the presentation, everyone calls you a genius, wonders how you do it, but all you can think about is the sleep you're about to get that night.
On the brink of exhaustion, you swear that you're never going to procrastinate again, but you and I both know you will, because you're a procrastinating perfectionist.
People don't understand us, but we're blessed with a skill-set that can transform into a curse if left unchecked. Rather than get started, we wait and plan and perfect in order to avoid getting started. Even if the end product is ah-mazing, continued procrastination will prevent us from reaching our full potential. Why settle for a B when you can get an A?
Here are 5 phrases you've probably said if you're a procrastinating perfectionist and tips to get back on track.
"It will get done."
If anything, this is the procrastinating perfectionist's go-to catch phrase. The thought of impending deadlines hang over our heads like a dark cloud, and yet here we are, deciding to watch a whole season of House of Cards knowing that we could finish a designated task 3 days in advance if we were on top of our scheduling. Stop it!
Tip: Follow the "one touch rule": As soon as something is assigned to you or designated for a certain day/time, only "touch" it once. Don't start and then stop. Don't push back the deadline. Just force yourself to sit there and complete the task until it's complete and then cross it off the list.
"It's all in my head."
This phrase lets us act like we have actually began working on a task, when in reality, it's a cop out. Unless you truly have written a list or created an outline with actionable steps (or however you prefer to organize your life), you have not made legitimate progress.
Tip: Create detailed schedules/to-do lists and be accountable for the items you place on them. If you know you cannot bake 78 cakes in an hour, do not put it on your to-do list. Setting mini-deadlines can help you accomplish more sophisticated goals, but be realistic and ensure that you are following through.
"The deadline motivates me." or "I was waiting for inspiration."
Similar to the "it's all in my head" excuse, the "I was waiting for inspiration" claim also allows us to be complacent with inactivity. Sometimes you have to force yourself to be productive by creating an environment where you can focus, or refusing to move onto other activities before completing an agenda item.
Tip: At a minimum, research shows that it takes at least 18 days to change a habit, so repetition and forced realignment with more productive goals can help you get back on track.
"It would be easier if I did ____ myself." or "No one does____ like I do."
Refusal to ask for or receive help can guarantee that you will not complete some tasks. Learning to let go and/or relinquish some control is an important life skill. There are ways to contribute your opinion without leading the whole project and having your hands in too many pies can prevent you from having the capacity to focus on projects you truly care about.
Tip: Invest in training others or leaving detailed instructions so others can pick up tasks where you left off. Their interpretation of a project may not be the same, but sometimes the incorporation of fresh perspectives can lead to even better end products.
"It all worked out."
If you're a vegetarian who occasionally eats a burger, are you really a vegetarian? That's not how it works, sis. Just because you feel good about the end product, doesn't mean that the road you took to get there was appropriate.
Tip: Don't pat yourself on the back for unproductive behavior. When you have that "I really should be productive right now" feeling, do. You'll thank yourself for it later.