The Mother of all Questions – How in the %#$* do you balance it all?

Quick Answer – I don’t.

Well that is not much of an opening into my life or the balancing of family, friends, and business obligations. But here is the God’s honest truth, I don’t balance it all. And if I were to be completely honest, the person who takes the greatest beatings of imbalance is myself. I wanted to say at first it was my husband. That isn’t a lie, its just not the God’s honest truth.

From the outside it seems as though its working for me. Family life – two teenage daughters, rep sports, piano lessons, doctors appointments, time for movies and pizza nights. Dinners out with my husband, sneaking away once or twice a year. Family vacations. Five cats, two dogs, and a rabbit. Successful business – managing staff, bookkeeping, taxes, making inventory orders, floral designs, weddings flowers, business planning and exit strategies. Morning chats with my bestie, road trips to auctions, or lunches together. Pretty fabulous. Now go back and read it again. Read slowly, in between the lines.

I am a very lucky person. Don ‘t get me wrong. All the things I do is a choice. One that I choose knowing what and who I am sacrificing. I remember being young and my mother telling me that just because the outside of the house is pretty and perfect doesn’t mean that the inside is. Each time that someone asks me this question “how do you balance it all?”, it’s usually followed up with their own struggles with balancing and trying to carve out time for their spouse and themselves. So I guess the outside of my house is pretty and perfect looking?  Well it might be, but that is not what it is on the inside.

I ran into an acquaintance this week who does some service work for me at the store and he was describing his current home situation. In this honest moment of truth for him, he looked to me for some validation. Well, at least I took it that way. Marriage my friends is hard. Effing hard. Ask someone who has been married for 20+ years. Ask someone who has been married 40 or 50. My marriage is far from perfect. To say that the last 8 years that I have had the flower shop has been the easiest of times would be to tell you that I own a home in Fiji. Neither are true. This endeavor has cost me. It has a price and there have been times I have paid almost the highest price, and so has my husband. The sacrifices that he has paid at my choosing to be an entrepreneur have nearly devastated our unit, our partnership and at times our respect for each other. Of course, as with anything, that ripples. Ripples to our kids, ripples to the pets, to the business, to the employees.

So how do I balance it when it is all falling apart, and it does at times fall apart. I remember the strength it takes me. The strength that finds the time to drive my kids to rep games, stop on the side of the road to sleep for 15 minutes, continue on to get them to a game, the lists of to do’s and checking them off one by one until I get to the end, balancing the finances, making sure payments are made, negotiating new pricing with a hard ass rep, remembering to thank my husband for cooking dinner 99% of the time and trying not to get too pissed when he doesn’t clean up the mess, remembering that I can sacrifice time for myself – to read a book, to see a movie, to get a spa day (OMG I want a spa day so badly), but I cannot bring 50% to the table for the rest. I need to find the strength to find 100%. They should not be made to sacrifice because I choose to.

I meet lots of business owners. We talk and chat  – business, families, life, lessons. There is a commonality in our persons. We all have a passion for our work. One that at some point in our lives we place before those things we normally hold more valuable. When I do it, I see the ripple. I feel the ripple. Like a stone cast that I cannot take back.

Each of you will struggle to find your balance. What you can live with or without. I cannot live without my children or my husband. I can, however, choose to keep work at work and weekends for them. Choose to give them that 100%, the same as everything else.  At the end of the day, if I have no one to share the successes with, are they really successes?

Til next time, N

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