You’re a mom, a boss, an employee, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a confidant, a wife, a lover, a… well, let’s just say that you wear many, many, many hats. Someone once told a very young version of you that all women could “bring home the baconand fry it up in a pan.” And you can. But you don’t have to. No one is saying that you shouldn’t be everything you’ve always dreamed of being, but the thing is, that shouldn’t come at your own expense. Before you overreach and overdo to the max, check out why you don’t need to “have it all.”

A mother kisses her laughing child

1. Life can change, quickly. What does “having it all” really mean? Chances are that the goalposts look very different today than they did for you in college or your immediate post-grad life. Before tying yourself to an ideal concept, take a look at what’s important to you right now. Reevaluate the importance level of each item on your list, readjusting it as you go through different life mini-stages.

2. Keeping up with the Joneses is overrated. Your neighbor is one of those shamelessly perfect women. She never has a messy bun, wears yoga pants when she’s not going to yoga, or forgets about the bake sale until the morning of. She goes to work, takes care of her kiddos, and always has a homemade dinner on the table by 6pm. (Or maybe not.) Having it all doesn’t equal having what someone else seems like they have. Take a much-needed break from worrying about that other “I have it all together” mama and just be yourself.

3. There are only 24 hours in a day. And you should sleep for at least a few of them. Yes, you want a successful career, a joyous relationship, fab friendships, and to be the mother of the year. But you can’t work for nine hours, spend the morning at the playground, make no fewer than 25 craft projects with the kids, and prepare a gourmet dinner all in the same day.

4. Self-care is a real thing. Having it all is sometimes synonymous with doing it all — that is, doing it all for everyone other than yourself. Between your career, your relationships, your mom duties, and whatever else is on your plate, you need to find some time for self-care. Whether this means ditching the daycare holiday party planning for a massage or asking your S.O. to take over bath time for a few nights a week, you can make “me” time a priority once in a while.

A mother plays with her children

5. Your priorities shouldn’t always include perfection. You work, you mom, and you try to have it all. But sometimes life gets in the way. And that’s okay: Sometimes you need to prioritize the IRL daily chaos over your ideal. Set your sights on what matters — not what you think “should” matter. This may mean giving up the perfect mother façade and embracing the everyday.

6. No one should judge you. Yeah, yeah, we all know that moms can be fierce judges who are quick to shame a fellow parent. This can make you feel like having it all is a must-do of mommying. The thing is… it isn’t. Forget about the judgers, shamers, and anyone else who thinks you need to reach some unattainable ideal. The only opinion that should matter is yours. (And, of course, your kiddo’s.)

7. You’re not alone. The idea of having it all sometimes gets confused with doing it all by yourself. The notion of “it takes a village” is totally true. You can’t be everywhere or with everyone at the same time. Don’t forget that you aren’t alone. Whether they’re your sibling who helps you out by babysitting while you answer work emails or a co-worker who agrees to handle a presentation so that you can pick up your sick kiddo from daycare, you have allies out there.

8. Life isn’t a fairy tale. It’s not a made-for-TV movie, rom-com, or reality show. Life is messy, especially with kids. It’s filled with baby spit-up, dirty diapers, mounds of unwashed laundry, and all kinds of other not-so-pleasant things. Your mess-filled life may not be something you dreamed of as a little girl, but it’s yours. And you love it.

How do you try to achieve work-life balance? Tweet us your thoughts @BritandCo!

(Photos via Getty)