Maybe before you became a mom you were rocking the “Sex and the City” lifestyle and you had it all: job, friends, perfect guy and a time for yourself. I hope you enjoyed it, because with a number of responsibilities you have now your life is completely different. You need to choose some areas to be a rockstar in and somehow juggle all the rest. Is that the balance?
So what is it all about?
The Internet is full of great advice of what moms should do to keep their lives balanced. It’s mostly about connecting work and family life, what makes sense considering maternity laws in the US. But no matter if you’re stay at home mom or working somewhere mom, it seems we all crave this balance thing.
What if I tell you something quite different – just give yourself a break. You are a mom now. Redefine the terminology. Balance defined as an impartiality is an illusion.
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My theory is that we are constantly frustrated because we are trying to catch this White Rabbit. I deeply believe that when my first baby was born almost nine years ago the balance everybody is talking about simply went out of the window. (And let me add that with every next child it’s more obvious and spectacular).
Wouldn’t the word balance suggest that you distribute your attention to all parts of your life equally? How could this even be possible if you have kids? I could imagine trying to balance my private life and working life without children. You know, the work hard & party hard balance, or something similar. But when children take the stage, they take it all. They are one big priority and your whole life is submitted to them. In a good way. It’s beautiful. Hands down the best what can happen to you. Nevertheless, everything changes. Big time.
Not the end of the story
Now don’t get me wrong – I am the last person to tell you that you should spend the whole life wiping your kiddo’s butt nose! I am just questioning the sense of trying to achieve the saint balance. The moment I realized it’s impossible I felt like this huge weight fell off my shoulders. If it’s impossible, why bother trying? I stopped.
For so many years I was frustrated and to be honest – angry. I was watching other moms who looked like they got their sh*t together, I was reading all the articles about clean apartments, happy kids and growing bank accounts and promotions at work. And I was wondering why I can’t do this and how do they do it? But you know what? I call BS! They don’t have it all.
The mystery behind the scenes
We never see the whole picture when we observe others. The very wise man once told me (ok, he told me this more than once) that making a choice between two options always means giving one of them up. This is very simple in wording but very powerful in message.
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When I decided to start a family, I gave up the privilege of so-called free time. It doesn’t mean I should not look for it during the day, but it’s not something I expect to be served to me on a silver plate.
And along the same lines – it’s simply impossible to have everything on the same level. A meaningful relationship with your husband and kids, full-time job, house lived-in and organized, time for a hobby and mani-pedi. Oh and don’t forget to have friends! Come on!! Be realistic! No way, not without sacrifices.
I don’t want to touch the topic of mom guilt here because it deserves a separate post (or a book!) but it’s a real deal. It affects every mom. It’s so important to be aware that your emotions have a strong impact on your life and your family. Spend some time on reflecting on how do you feel versus what are the facts.
What is important to you?
When was the last time you tried to digest everything that is going on around you? What are your current goals and dreams? I am pushing on the present moment on purpose.
Very often we cling to something we claimed to be important for us some time ago and we still manifest that as our path. Times change, we change. You are not the same person as you were a couple of years ago. Dig deep into your wishes. Invest some time to read your own emotions while going through your thoughts.
Maybe right after college, you were planning to be a manager in the corporation and you were talking about it a lot and now your whole family is asking about your career so you feel like you’re supposed to grow in this department. Maybe at the same time, you’re spending your work time scrolling through social media, looking for tips on self-publishing a book.
You are a free, adult person you know? You are allowed to change your mind. If you never wanted to have kids and then you found the love of your life and now you are dreaming about being a stay at home mom – great! You don’t have to explain anything to anyone or even better – have an open conversation with whoever is concerned and describe how your point of view changed. Maybe they learn along the way.
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Then, when you know exactly what you want from your life at the moment, set your goals, your expectations accordingly. When you know your priorities you know where you should allocate your most valuable asset – time.
Race the time to more balanced life
If you want to raise happy kids, who will appreciate family values then you need to spend as much time as you can them. Remember, you are teaching them through example. In most cases, the way you treat your kids and your husband will be their knowledgebase to figure out how to build their own families. Focus on your relationships and give yourself a permission to not be the toughest shark elsewhere.
On the other hand, if you are building your career now and you are the breadwinner of the family, you know that wellbeing of your family lays on you – don’t hesitate. You need to do what you need to do. If that’s important now, don’t feel bad working hard while kids are playing with daddy.
Women feel they should be able to do everything. It’s not how it works. With a revolution in (mainly) services sector, once a natural division of roles and responsibilities is no longer that obvious or needed. Suzi from Startamomblog.com wrote something similar to that: because of our grandmothers we want to be awesome housewives and because of our mothers we want to be businesswomen. That is so true!
Who to blame for today’s mindset?
We as women are kind of historically overloaded nowadays and what I mean by that is this feeling you might have, that you are supposed to be this Wonder Woman and be great in everything. And guess what?! You probably are already handling more than you have to! (analyze your time management!) You are a wonderful woman and for the closest to you people – your family, you are THE Wonder Woman!
Now I can only imagine how you are creating excuses on the spot.. no, my mother-in-law is a better cook, my mom has everything organized and my house is a mess, Julie has all her projects done way before the deadline and so on.
Who cares, girl?! You definitely shouldn’t! And probably the women you are comparing yourself to have the same feeling about some other gals. It’s like all the women in the world have this collective need of comparison and then we pass this devastating feeling of guilt to our daughters. Enough already!!
(By the way, have you ever seen or heard men doing this thing?)
You do You, perfectly balanced You!
There’s no need to have every single part of your life polished to a high gloss! You will burn out and go crazy! Your kid doesn’t need you frustrated and flat out tired, s/he needs you happy and fulfilled. My proposition – choose two values in your life that are the most important for you and focus on them. The rest simply try to control a bit.
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You may not have it all – best position at work AND quality time with kids AND super progress in your hobby-field AND homemade dinners AND many outings with friends. You have only 24 hours a day and you should be sleeping at least 6-8 of them. Choose wisely so that you are happy with what you need to give up.
And yes – you need some me time. Don’t beat yourself for wanting that. Helpful would be to learn to enjoy the small things – change the idea of going for a weekend to Vegas with your girlfriends to a one-hour coffee with them during a playdate or something.
Please notice that I am not giving you here an excuse to stop trying to have a perfect life! I am saying focus on what’s important and then everything will align into your perfect life.
What does balance in the mom life mean to you?? Comment below!