Seven years ago today, I became a mom. It was as humbling then as it is today. While I strive for a Utopian work-family balance, sometimes I feel like a miserable failure. Reflecting back on those first days and weeks and months of motherhood, I can’t say I enjoyed it much. I felt awful. I had extreme difficulty with breastfeeding; I felt overwhelmed and overly-anxious, lonely, crippled with sleep deprivation, and torn between staying home with my baby or going back to the job I previously loved. I felt plagued with guilt and fear, and suffered from severe postpartum depression. I slept about 8 hours a week for roughly 6 months. I thought I was losing my mind. How I managed to get myself out of this is a long story, but somehow my husband and I were able to reinvent our lives from two parents with full-time jobs and a (wonderful) nanny, to two parents running home-based businesses and ample time for ourselves and our family. Though often I feel like my family is totally out of balance (and always feel like it’s my “fault” if we are), I endeavor to keep us all on track, and have ample time/space for everything, everyone, and be fully present in every moment. It’s extremely challenging to cultivate balance, and feel happy in all aspects of our lives, but I truly believe it’s possible. I have a long, detailed strategy of how I balance family and work, but even with all my lists and systems and strategies, it doesn’t always work. In those moments, when everything comes unraveled, I try to not judge myself, because that’s just the way it is with kids sometimes. It’s a mess, and it’s magic, all at the same time. So all this is to say, keep striving for balance, people. I believe we CAN enjoy our work and family and ourselves, if we make it our top priority.