They talked about, and I quote, “balance, ‘doing it all’, motherhood and cookies”. They hosted the live episode over a month ago and I have been thinking about it ever since, especially the part where they brought up that annoying question everyone likes to ask women, mostly:
“How do you do it ALL???”
I am frequently asked this question, and it elicits many feelings inside my body and many Tina Fey eye rolls outside my body (unfortunately, it’s involuntary). Ashley and Molly took the words right out of my mouth as they discussed why this is such a silly question, but also acknowledged that perhaps deep down we secretly all want it answered by the people close to us or by those we admire. We KNOW we can’t really do it all and on most days don’t do hardly even a fraction of it all, but it’s so easy to quickly fall into the trap of believing it anyway thanks to how simple it is to crop and chop and edit and filter small pieces of life online.
In my own life, I am fully aware of “what gives” to make way for my passions, my hobbies, my priorities; I do very little in many areas of my life to make it so that I can do all the things I want to do.
In short, I certainly am NOT doing it all. But I understand that there are some people who would like me to answer that loaded question, and I think it’s important that I answer it for myself as well.
In my ideal world, each day would include:
1) adequate sleep
2) time to do my hair and make up
3) breakfast I can sit down to at home
4) a workload of about 8-10 patients I can give full attention to with time left for projects and other clinical nutrition duties
5) at least 20-60 minutes of exercise
6) a nice shower after eating a home-cooked dinner
7) a couple of hours to write and work on my blog
8) a couple of hours to spend on my podcast
9) time with the people I care about
10) blow drying my hair right before laying back down for another night of adequate sleep.
Seems simple, right? I am not asking for much, I am not trying to run the world. But in my personal reality, there is no humanly possible way to make all of that fit all in one day. Please allow me to now give a glimpse into an unedited, recent day of my life:
1) I wake up late, thanks to a night of little (and restless) sleep. Thankfully I finally got around to seeing a sleep specialist, so I pretend for now that my sleep problems are not as big of a deal.
2) I manage to wash my face and put on some translucent face powder, blush, mascara and lipstick (my secret “I swear I spent more than 3-minutes on my appearance!” recipe). I put my hair in a low bun to hide the side shave I am trying to grow out. I usually throw on my glasses because I am feeling too tired and lazy to plop in my contacts, plus it better distracts from my 3-minute beauty routine.
3) I pack both my breakfast and snacks for the day in my lunchbox. No time to sit at the table at home to eat, but as I leave the house I remember to grab my gym back so I can go to my favorite cycle class after work.
4) I get to work and say hi to my co-workers. We are all very busy lately, typically seeing closer to 12-15 patients a day each, sometimes more. I screen my patients and prepare my list while peeling a clementine- I usually get the entire peel off in one fell swoop, leaving me satisfied and energized. I look up my patients and calculate their caloric, protein, and fluid needs. Many times I am seeing patients who are unable to eat on their own, so I am also calculating enteral nutrition formulas (tube feedings, can go in your stomach or small bowel) and/or parenteral nutrition formulas (IV nutrition, when we can’t use the GI tract and have to deliver very broken down nutrients intravenously). I lick a plastic spoon clean of Greek yogurt and hope the breakfast items/snacks I packed keep me full until lunch time. My day is devoted to taking care of my patients and usually fills my entire shift until I go home, so I don’t typically get to my extra projects I’d like to work on.
5) I leave the hospital a little drained but I try really hard to exercise intentionally for at least 20 minutes a day (find out why on the exercise episode of my podcast, The Table Chat Show). Plus guys, I packed my gym bag, I am the boss of my fitness. Oh, but then sometimes my car doesn’t start and I have no way to get to the indoor cycle class I planned on doing all day. In fact, in the picture above of my super cute boots, cropped from the left side of the frame was my car that had pooped out on me. But no one online had to know this- everyone thought I had left work with time to take a picture of my legs, to exercise, to do it all.
6) I leave my car at work and decide to walk home, which does eat up some of the time I hoped to devote to my creative projects but on the plus side I still get a little bit of exercise in and I’m excited for that nice shower as soon as I walk in the door. So, I don’t get a full hour of exercise, but I shower (win!) and have worked up an appetite for something delicious. I cook a simple staple meal of roasted broccoli, quinoa, vegetarian protein, and drizzle it all in sriracha. It isn’t fancy and no matter how I hold my bowl, it is never pretty enough for Instagram. Thankfully people are still so distracted by my boots picture that they don’t care what I am eating for dinner.
7/8) I try to spend the rest of the evening writing and editing and planning posts and episodes. I tend to feel tired around this time after eating, but don’t go to bed yet. Because my sleep is so restless and stressful (more to come on this later), I tend to stay up as late as possible to avoid going to bed and to push out as much creative work as I can. Sometimes it works great, other times I am utterly unproductive and just watch Netflix.
9) If I spend the amount of time I need to on my creative work, I usually spend the evening alone. If I see friends or go out and see family, I usually spend no time on my creative work. If I try to do both, I feel spread thin. Either way, it’s now late at night.
10) My hair has been air-drying for the majority of the night at this point and while I’d love to do something with it so it’s more manageable in the morning, I leave it- low bun it will be come morning. I lay down. I sleep, finally.
My life never allows for “doing it ALL” and I want to be more honest about this. Even when life allows you some balance, most days don’t look the same and you still have to pick and choose what to fit into your day. Some days are food writing days. Some days are podcasting days. Some days are friends and family days. And some days your car stops working, so its a triumph just to shower and watch Netflix. But I’ll admit, even on those days, the sweaty-from-walking-home-in-a-desert-wasteland days, I may not be “doing it all”, but I sure feel glad to have such a full life that there is simply not enough minutes in the day to eat it all up.