It isn’t surprising to me that the article The Myth of CEO Work-Life Balance has been blowing up the Internet this week. I posted it on my professional Facebook page and it is becoming one of the most shared articles there this year.

When I first read it, I was shouting, “YES” like the Internet people finally got and validated me. I’m pretty sure that most mothers are connecting with that post not because they are CEOs, but because they are working full time and trying to pull off staying just ahead of the chaos of running a household with children in it.

My husband read the post and loved it too so we had a great chat about the realities of modern parenting life. He just published a book called HEALTHIER YOU: A Family Doctor’s Guide to the Fundamentals of Better Living with a focus on simplifying our wellbeing efforts so I was curious what his take on this phenomenon was.

I asked him why he thought mothers were connecting so deeply with Amy Nelson’s words and he said, “Being validated for our sense of perpetually feeling like we’re not enough.” We’re all tired of feeling inadequate – and exhausted!

Chewing on those words, I thought of the woman who did all things Oprah recommended to do or buy each day: the Living Oprah Project. It was hilarious – the writer tried to complete all Oprah’s suggestions for living a better life. Eat slowly, write vision boards: it was taking about forty hours a week to tackle the list. Not possible in real life.

I felt the same way when I attended a workshop where a young, childless man told me I (and everyone else) had to exercise with a high heart rate at least 150 minutes per week. I just stared at him for a while then sheepishly put my hand up: “But HOW on earth do you do that with two kids?! I have to get a babysitter every time I leave the house.”

He wasn’t too sure how to answer and I know it wasn’t his job to do that. The ensuing conversation at the workshop was very interesting and pretty much revolved around, “Just do what you can.”

I often find myself wondering how I’m going to do what I want for myself. I’ve tried making schedules, using apps, posting things on the whiteboard or calendar at home and those just haven’t been sticking. The end reason usually just simply is: I’m too tired.

What I’m finally realizing now as my children grow older is that there comes a time where we as parents have to find the spot where the drive to do things for ourselves doesn’t push us past the point of exhaustion-no-return.

There are two questions I use now to gauge if I’m getting too close to the exhaustion line:

Do I have enough energy to get up to speak gently to my child or just shout from afar?

How do my children feel about themselves after spending time with me?

And the biggest learning I have had to do as a parent was to finally drop my end of the tug-of-war rope on the power struggle between doing what I want to do and taking care of my family responsibilities.

I have adopted an attitude of all in due time.

Yes, I want to do my playful, fun-infused, high heart-rate things, but I also want the school I started three years ago to succeed, to live in a clean house, to eat good food, to support my children, and stay in love with my husband.

I’ll get back to doing all the things I used to love doing and working my career as hard as I did before I had kids at some point. I’ll introduce things one at a time once I can do that without completely draining myself.

The word inadequate implies a judgment by ourselves or another person that something is or is not sufficient. Perhaps our collective feeling of being less that adequate is due to peer and social benchmarks that are just so ridiculous we just can’t get close. We know social media is a big culprit here.

What if we lowered our expectation of what is adequate? And I’m talking about not what we expect in others, but what we expect of ourselves?

In order to adopt an attitude of “enough” in order to preserve my energy, I’ve embraced these ten practices and attitudes:

  • I don’t care if you think I don’t look fantastic. Some days I will feel great in what I’m wearing or how I did my hair and some days I’ll just be content to remember to not have my shirt on backwards.
  • “Often” is just as good as “every day” when it comes to the daily practices I hope to do.
  • I won’t be pressured to stay up because someone else wants me to. I go to bed early because it’s what I really need to do.
  • I won’t overschedule my children into activities because that means overscheduling me, too.
  • I don’t have to watch everything my child does. I can read in the car or go for a walk when their activities are on.
  • I make a point of noticing things to be grateful for.
  • I find a time to “do nothing,” and remind myself that I’m allowed that time.
  • I try to get to places on my bike for extra fresh air and exercise (if I am going alone).
  • I stick to events I participate in with a positive fun to effort ratio.
  • If I get up too early to exercise, I can’t make it through the day. I know other people can, but I tank pretty hard at dinnertime (maybe it’s because I don’t drink coffee!). So, I’ll try to get a 20-minute jog in most days now that the boys can stay at home for a bit by themselves. If I don’t; whatever.


Mostly I believe we need to not accept inadequate and tired as a normal part of parenting life. I wonder what would happen to each of our lives if we started with that as a goal: whatever I can do in order to feel well is good enough.


I’d love to hear your thoughts on this: please pop over to my Facebook page to comment.