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Humor / Motherhood

Balance, Shmalance: A Denver Doctor Mom’s Funny Take on Having it All

Balance, Shmalance: A Denver Doctor Mom’s Funny Take on Having it All

It’s not often that I quote Ashton Kutcher…well, I never have.  But a quotation from a speech he gave at some awards ceremony went viral on the web and I kind of like it.  He said:  “I believe opportunity looks a lot like hard work.”  I really like that.

I also believe in the sister principal:  “Balance looks a lot like chaos.” (That’s my version)

As a doctor, wife, and mother, sometimes I get asked, how do I do it all?  All I can think is: don’t look down, I accidentally put on 2 different shoes this morning.

How do I do it?  My life is chaos.  The kids are running around to a bazillion activities that they often don’t have rides to or from.  I have unanswered emails at home, at work, unanswered voicemails on my iPhone, blackberry, work phone, and home phone.  I have piles of snail mail at both my offices and my home.

But I have checked all my Facebook messages.
But not my, twitter or instagram.

My house is a mess, there are piles of laundry in various stages of done-ness.  The fridge is empty, or rather full, of leftovers that are way past their prime.

I forget birthdays, and birthday parties (but not my own), I leave a kid somewhere, I buy the same thing 3 times, each time putting it some place different and then forgetting about it.

It’s chaos.

Supposedly women nowadays can “have it all.” Well, I have it all, but it’s all a mess.  I do know families who similarly “have it all,” but they seem to be able to keep it together.   I really don’t know how they do it.  They eat healthy, their clothes are clean, they are oriented to person, place and time.  Good for them.

I went to a therapist once to ask for help in how to manage all the chaos, all the stress of these competing priorities.  The therapist asked me what I had going on in my life.  When I told her, she said, “this is simple, you need to give something up.”  So I decided to give up therapy.

Every day I am so thankful for all of the great things going on in my life: job, kids, husband, running, etc.  But it’s not easy to fit all of that in, and I am never able to give all that I want to give to any one particular area.  And my house really is a total mess. But I “have it all,” and don’t want to give anything up, so to do that, I have to tolerate the chaos.

Balance is just tolerated chaos.  To all of you out there who are juggling so many things in your life, and doing it way better than you think you are, I say, GOOD JOB!  Keep up the good work.  Balance is an illusion, reality is messy and that is ok.

Guest blogger Joyce Gottesfeld, MD has been an Obstetrician/Gynecologist with Kaiser Permanente Colorado for the past 17 years. She’s a mother of three young daughters, ages 15, 12 and 8 and married to Marshall Gottesfeld, also an OBGYN in Denver. To read more of her blog check out Kaiser also recently introduced a new weekly podcast series of which Dr. Joyce is apart. They are are free and available through mobile devices and personal computers at Kaiser Permanente’s recently launched website, TotalHealthRadio, and will soon be available on podcast-distribution platforms such as iTunes and Stitcher.
Mile High Mamas
Author: Mile High Mamas

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  1. I’ve resigned myself that the only time I’ll have true balance is when my kids are gone, which will be a sad day. So for now, I’m trying to embrace the chaos of being a working, unbalanced mom!

  2. This made me laugh. And gave me hope!

  3. The best line “Balance is just tolerated chaos.” Pinned this on my Parents Speak Board. Thank you.

  4. Amen to that!! I think you just wrote about my life! Overwhelmed all day long but somehow manage to put one foot in front of the other. Good job to us!

  5. “Balance is just tolerated chaos.”

    Love this and the rest of the post!

  6. I love this post. I was also one of those moms who had it all and can’t quite figure out why everyone thought I did because it was all such chaos. My “to do” list was never organized…I put out the fires one at a time and the rest had to wait. And then, with all 4 kids in tow, we decided to give them an international experience and we moved to Costa Rica for a year. But, with homework done in class with their teachers (as it should be) and competitive sports teams non-existent, we found ourselves with lots and lots of down time…family time, quality time, and our one year has become two years with a possibility that it will be permanent. The chaos is over. Our lives are fuller. We talk more, laugh more, have more free time, and do things as a family more….benefits we never thought we needed or would get. We just thought we would learn Spanish and learn to surf…which we have also done cause we have so much time to do the things we want. We moved here with 2 suitcases each. No more managing our stuff. No more washing all those clothes. We have learned invaluable life lessons and when we move back to the states we will say NO to the chaos and no to the over scheduling…because none of them will ever be professional dancers or athletes, but all of them will always be in this family and we forever now have learned the value of putting family first, chaos second. I hope you all can also find that balance, cause it feels so good. And I hope beyond all else that we can actually return and keep our word to do less, experience more! LOL

    • Bravo! That is the way it should be.

  7. Love it!

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