We all know that the whole work / life balance is a myth. Add in being a mother and that can certainly tip the scales in an unfavorable direction. Usually that scale will be tipped in the direction of exhaustion.
As mothers, we have the preconceived notion that we have to do everything and be everybody and be everywhere 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. But let’s just face the facts. That can’t ever possibly happen. We are only one person. And when one person gets pulled in a million directions, she starts feeling out of sorts and, sometimes, she can shut down.
On this quest to be everybody and do everything and go everywhere, you do have to find some sort of balance. It may not look the way you think it should. Instead, it should be the balance that works for you (and your family) now. Finding balance is something that you will need to revisit time and time again. It’s not something that can be set in stone. This balance has to be a living, breathing balance. One that can evolve and change with your family over time.
And once you find that balance, you’ll start feeling better about yourself! So how do we get there?
You don’t have to do everything every day.
Each day has only so many waking hours and those hours are precious. One of the temptations in our quest for balance is to try to give equal time to all of our responsibilities and interests every day. However, unless you plan on spending two minutes on each activity, task, or interest, this is probably not going to work!
So let’s make a compromise. Rather than trying to do everything every day, break your tasks and responsibilities down into weekly things. You probably can’t read a book or take a bubble bath to unwind every day, but you can do that once a week. If you can’t make time to play with your children for an hour a day, do it for a few hours once a week. Looking at things from a weekly perspective rather than a daily one can make all the difference.
Remember, it’s your family.
You head can spin if you start researching and discovering the opinions of others as to finding balance in motherhood. This is because you will find that for every person, there’s a almost always a different opinion! Some will say mothers should “never” work outside the home; others will declare that it’s essential. Still others hold to the philosophies of “attachment parenting” while others believe you should “detach” from your kids as often as possible.
If you try to keep up with every study and what everyone else is saying, you will lose your mind. Instead, remember that it’s your family. No other family out there is exactly like yours. No one lives your life but you, and no one can decide what works best for your family but you and your family. What feels “balanced” to you may look off-balance to someone else, and guess what? That’s okay.
No one is an island.
Even when you are feeling alone, you have to remember that you are not an island. Don’t try to do everything yourself, and, most importantly, don’t feel guilty if you need to ask for help. Being able to “call in reinforcements” – whether it’s a family member, sitter, husband, friend, etc. – can make the difference between a happy, balanced mom and a stressed, off-kilter one!
What is it that you want?
Here’s where you can make a list to help get things straight. Asking yourself what you want out of life is worthwhile, and setting long-term goals is a good idea as well. But what about each day? How do you want your ideal day to look? What can you do to make that happen? Start making changes as you work toward that ideal schedule.