A funny thing happened today – I had an epic realization:

When you put lotion on your skin, it gets so soft and smells soooo nice!

Which isn’t really an epic realization at all, but actually something very obvious that a dedicated moisturizer would already know – because duh you genius, lotion makes skin soft.

But these are things you forget when on a constant basis, you imbalance your schedule, and wind up working in exhausting double sprints all the time – you stop making time for the little things, and then wake up from work-frenzy to discover that while you’ve been busy powering through your latest nuclear event, you’ve completely neglected other  parts of your life.

I can live without soft, smooth legs – I totally can, and more often than not, do. But what I can’t live without is having a more balanced life approach, of recognizing that time is precious, but it isn’t only one opportunity after another to hit our next rung of success.

Yes, this is a blog post about sometimes making trades for success, and accepting different definitions. I’m not a person that is necessarily after one particular goal in life – for the most part, I find myself constantly analyzing everything, looking for the next big thing to take our lives, happiness, and freedom to new places. It’s exciting, thinking about the future, and it’s fun for a chronic planner to dream.

But something I forget all too often, in a really deep set mindset of yearning for financial and entrepreneurial success, what it’s all for. This is cliche and overdone, but seriously, sometimes I just look up from my screen to see my son doing something amazing, like saying ‘fix the engine’ or reciting pages of books from memory, and I just get this overwhelming reminder – don’t let too much slip away.

As working humans, we’re all in the same boat – we want a better life, one that is free from money concerns and the challenges that stem from that. So we toil. We work. We deal with the time commitment of being away from our homes for the majority of waking hours, so that we can ensure our families grow and live together with everything they need, and even some of what they could want.

But when we have families, we make sacrifices in that pursuit, because so often, it’s just what has to be done. The jobs that we work for our families, all too often, force us to choose between them and our families, and the constant power struggle between success and love is a guilt-ridden battle that nobody can win.

There is no one right answer, because there are 1,000 different ways to put your family first. I’ve never in my life had to pass up opportunities, but having a son, I’ve had to set firm limits on what I can and can’t do in a week. If I wanted him to be raised in part by a nanny, I could make more time for business success and building my career, but I don’t want that, and so I’ve had to say I can only work so much in a week, in order to make sure he gets the care and attention he needs and deserves.

It’s a constant struggle, and ultimately, one that means we give up countless hours of sleep to juggle both. One hour turns quickly into four, and before we know it, the sun is rising, the kids are up, and it’s time to do it all over again.

I’m here to tell you that we’re all in this together – parents, bachelors, daughters, wives – we’re all scrambling and scrounging to build a better life, and while it might seem impossible, we can make it. Nine times out of ten, we’ll have to put our social life on hold. We’ll have to get a sitter so we can push an extra project through, we’ll have to pull an all-nighter to meet a deadline, but we’ll make it.

The life of a freelancer has taught me a lot about balancing my own priorities and time, and about the sacrifices you have to make to be successful. As a parent, I can’t put my day on pause, but that doesn’t mean I can’t do both, it just means I have to get creative, and sometimes accept less sleep, or my husband’s offer to care for him so I can work.

Just don’t let too much of it slip away, and don’t forget what it’s all for. Enjoy your life while you’re busy building it, or by the time you’re done, it may have already passed you by.