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Having it all? Pfft, whatevs.

2013-05-24 11.08.30

This post is sponsored by The Style Network.

The closest I get to “Having it All” in an average week is a moment like this: When I’m having good hair for just enough minutes to snap a bathroom-selfie of said hair while wearing a seven-year-old t-shirt.

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The rest of the time, it’s quite the challenge.

I have a lot of girlfriends in the blogosphere and the real-lifeosphere who struggle every day to balance work, marriage, kids, a household and still manage to live a good life.

My situation is a bit different. I’m single, I have no kids (except one with paws and a waggly tail), I work from home, and I never have to scrub crayon markings from the wall, and I don’t have the trials of a marriage or partnership yet.

But I do still struggle with balancing a lot of things. I live with my mother, who, as I’m writing this, is undergoing dialysis treatment for Stage IV kidney failure. I try to keep the peace at home, help make sure she’s comfortable, and deal with messes, sickness and suddenly-cancelled plans because my mother needs me.

I am a caregiver – which means my life is filled with unexpected events. I have to balance that with trying to make an income to pay the bills, dealing with my own medical issues that include depression, anxiety, PTSD and, most recently, compassion fatigue. This all while properly raising my dog to be the great work companion he is.

The compassion fatigue has probably been the worst. It occurs among those who are in a position of caring for others – nurses, counselors, social workers and caregivers are all susceptible to it. And it can often cause mood swings, erratic behavior, addiction, depression and all other sorts of things. At times I feel like nothing I do is ever enough, I’m overwhelmed beyond belief, I’m trapped in a hole and there’s nothing I can do to crawl out.

I took this photo of myself on one of my worst days. I figured some day I’d share it on my blog.

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That was a tough day. My mom was in the hospital (again), I felt powerless, and I shared this photo with some of my dearest friends, who gave me words of encouragement.

In dealing with compassion fatigue, I’ve learned that I have to do a number of things to keep balanced. I have to set boundaries that allow me to have “me” time, not only to myself so I can pay my bills, but also time away from the home that I can spend with friends.

That face isn’t the only one you see when you see compassion fatigue. You also see the face of a girl who ran several blocks in the rain with a good friend to make it to the Paul McCartney concert on time.

2013-05-29 20.23.12

 

Or the face of someone who has just read a nice message on her phone.

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So, thanks to loved ones and boundaries, I’m able to achieve balance. I may not “have it all,” but really – who wants to? Even if you do have it all, you’re still going to find something you don’t have – like someone else’s breathing room or a private dinner with Ryan Gosling.

Season three of “Tia & Tamera” on the Style Network follows the twin sisters as they redefine their roles and tackle new ventures, from an exciting business opportunity to big projects to a baby in the family. They’re okay with not being perfect, and want you to be okay with that, too! The season premieres Sunday, July 14 on Style.

I love this video featuring Tamera dumping her giant purse out and showing all the things she has in it. See if you can identify. I know I can!

So, how about you? How do you find balance in your life?

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