“Should I put off writing this article when I already have so much on my plate?” I wondered as I closed my laptop for the day and pulled up a blog by Applied Leadership Partners (APL) on my phone. I’m someone who takes on a lot, constantly rushing and piecing things together at the last minute. But reading the blog “Working Mom Trade Offs” helped me take a step back and reflect on how I might be driving the high expectations in my life.

I strive to be the best at everything I do — an attitude that’s exhausting. In the APL article, the author jokingly imagined her tombstone reading, “Mediocre jiu-jitsu player, average yoga teacher, and so-so writer.” All her titles seemed ordinary, and I realized my own problem was wanting to excel in everything yet often settling for average. I am dedicated and loving, not just to my family but to everything I take on. It’s taken time, but I am learning that it’s okay to try things and not always be the best.

It’s crucial to recognize when you need a break before reaching your breaking point. Recently, I decided to take a break from roller derby, a new hobby I’d become passionate about. I went through four months of Fresh Meat derby training, and even started running again. However, getting a sitter, practicing for three hours on work nights, and coming home after bedtime put a strain on my family. My kids are just out of diapers, and they require a lot of attention. I’ve decided to put roller derby on hold until the winter months so I can enjoy time outside with my children.

My job is an exception to these trade-offs. It’s a loophole because I enjoy creating and learning, and I’m fortunate to work in a place that allows me to do both every day. Life is full of trade-offs, but the greatest trade-off for me is the love I have for my children and my determination to give them the best life possible. Yes, some things would be easier without kids, but my drive comes from the love I have for them. I wouldn’t be who I am without those little minions.

In the end, life is a constant balancing act, filled with trade-offs that require us to make thoughtful choices. Whether it’s work, hobbies, or family, there’s only so much we can do in a day. The key is to find harmony by focusing on what truly matters and allowing yourself the flexibility to change course when necessary. As I continue my journey, I realize it’s not about being perfect; it’s about embracing the imperfections and enjoying the moments that make life meaningful. By prioritizing my family’s happiness and my own well-being, I can create a fulfilling life that thrives on both ambition and balance.

Oh, and — don’t forget to find your loopholes!

-Written by: Karin Kleps