It’s 10 Pm on the eve of our company’s one-year anniversary. The babies are bathed and in bed (hopefully asleep) and meals and clothes are ready for tomorrow. As I crawl into my bed, eyes tired from a full day of looking at tiny teeth, I grab my laptop and my phone like I do most nights and wrap up loose ends from my day. Emails are checked, social media posts are planned, and supply orders are placed. Suzanne and Lindsay are doing the same. I know because I see their emails come through and hear my Voxer alerts going off. We get asked all the time, how do you do it all? You will probably get a similar answer from any one of the three of us…… we just figure it out.
Over the past year, we have learned so much……. what limits to have, what fires to put out first, and when to celebrate. I still remember this night a year ago so vividly. I don’t think I slept a wink. Did we forget anything? Do we have cash for the cash drawer? Will everyone love it? Is our staff trained enough? So many questions and fears kept me wide awake with a sour stomach. I heard a quote a few weeks ago at a continuing education seminar from the instructor that described that night perfectly. “The best decisions in life are often the ones that wake you up in the middle of the night so you can walk outside to throw up.” Luckily, I was able to hold it together, but I think we can all relate. Whether it’s the night before a big job presentation, or your wedding, or even a big move, we have all had moments of “what the heck was I thinking when I signed up for this.” But just like anything worth its weight in gold, there must be sacrifice and risk for a great, often once in a lifetime reward. Looking back over the past year, the reward has definitely out-shined the risk and sacrifice. But we have learned a few things about life/work balance along the way. A few weeks ago, Lindsay and Suzanne and I were having a few cocktails and we started talking about balance and juggling life and work. I am always amazed at my partners and how brilliant they are. I am certain God put them in my life to continue to inspire me to always do better. They both brought forth some profound thoughts that I thought would be perfect to share with you guys.
Suzanne, our super smart physician and mom of two said, “I think its important to remember that work/life balance doesn’t mean 50/50. It’s okay that some days are more work focused. I try to focus on the quality of time at each instead of quantity. Since technology has blurred the line between work hours and home hours, it is very easy to be distracted by whichever place you aren’t at the time and end up feeling like you aren’t fully present anywhere. I also think you don’t have to try to act like it is easy to balance everything. It is okay for our kids to see us working hard to teach them that hard work pays off.” The idea of quality vs quantity is so imperative in making time for ourselves too, and not just regarding family and friend time. I made it a priority at the beginning of this year to take 10-20 minutes each workday at lunch to “get horizontal.” My staff laughs and calls it my nap time. Truthfully, sometimes I do fall asleep. But most days I just close my eyes and listen to whatever music fuels my mood at that moment. Sometimes getting this time comes at a sacrifice. Most days I must choose between cramming food down my throat, making a patient wait on me for a few minutes, or carving out this quality time for myself. While it may not be an hour-long siesta like I would love, it is refreshing and more than anything, is proof of commitment to put myself as a priority, even in small doses. Like Lindsay, our superwoman dentist and mom of two said, “Depending on where you are in your life and your family’s life, different things may come first and others last. Its okay to prioritize! The things that help me juggle are asking for help, knowing and accepting my own limitations, planning each week out in advance, and most importantly never comparing my life to others.”
Lindsay made an excellent point. We are not alone here. Why are we so worried about asking for help? I mean, aren’t we all just trying to survive? Wouldn’t it be Earth shattering if we all just cut the crap and admitted we are drowning? There, I said it. I’m drowning. So, if you are thinking I am some sort of supermom I have you fooled. Just know that dishes are still dirty in the sink, my car has enough stale goldfish in the car seats to feed an army, and my legs are not shaved. And guess what, it’s fine. You know why? Because I get to sleep like a baby tonight and wake up tomorrow and celebrate taking that huge risk with two of my best friends a year ago. And I could not be more proud.
Christy Harpring, Co-owner Sea Salt & Sugar