What Does “Pick Any Two” Mean?

Pick Any Two Logo

As is often the case, I intended to browse Pinterest for a mere five minutes but got sucked into the site for a solid half hour. Good thing, because I ended up spotting a funny sign about today’s modern woman that would change my entire outlook on motherhood.

It’s supposed to be silly; you’re supposed to read it, chuckle, and move on with your day. But at the time I was making a genuine attempt to “have it all” – and had the bags under my eyes to prove it! –  so it really struck a chord. So much so, in fact, that I decided to adapt the idea for today’s modern mom and start living (and writing) by it.

So what does it mean? To me, the Pick Any Two philosophy is grounded in three basic principles.

1. Something’s gotta give.

The idea of having it all, doing it all, and being it all sounds quite lovely, until you realize it entails some significant sacrifices, chief among them being sleep. And what good is it to be a master juggler if you’re too tired to enjoy the act?

Many of us moms have leaned in so far we’ve toppled over. Or we’ve opted so far out we now can’t see the forest or the trees. We’re running ourselves ragged in pursuit of some elusive equilibrium and still never finding the happy balance we’ve been promised for all our efforts.

2. So we make choices…

Once we accept that we really can’t be Supermom – not today, not this month, not this lifetime! – we can instead focus on prioritizing. What’s really most important to you at this point in time? What (or who) do you need to focus on today to build the kind of life you want to lead? And what (or who) needs to fall by the wayside, either permanently or temporarily, for that to happen?

3. …and that’s OK!

I heard Arianna Huffington say in a speech that when the doctors take the baby out, they put the guilt in. It certainly feels like that sometimes! I’ll concede that some degree of mommy guilt is inevitable, but should we really have to apologize for the choices we make to stay afloat? The Pick Any Two philosophy recognizes that it doesn’t do you any good to carry around your newborn’s weight in guilt, and you don’t have time for things that don’t do you any good.

Here are some examples of the Pick Any Two philosophy at work in everyday life.
  • “I’ve been saying I need a new pair of jeans for weeks, so today I’m leaving the kids with dad and taking myself shopping…and that’s ok.”
  • “If I skipped my workout today I’d have time to bake homemade brownies for the office potluck. But because I feel so much better when I exercise, I’ll be bringing a dessert courtesy of Entenmann’s…and I’m not going to apologize for it.”
  • “The sink is spilling over with dirty dishes and there’s an inch-thick layer of dust on the dresser, but tonight I’m opting not to clean so I can spend more time reading books with my son…and that’s ok.”
  • “If I worked through lunch I could make a dent in my email Inbox, but today I’m choosing to meet my husband for a sandwich because we haven’t spent quality time together in weeks…and I’m not going to feel bad about it.”
Pick Any Two: Giving up the “have it all” mentality and instead making choices without apology or guilt. I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling better already.