Work-life balance is a term thrown around so loosely, yet when you ask moms about it, we all will tell you how stressful it is. It feels like we are trying to attain the unachievable, and therefore constantly struggling and failing. Moms are juggling and creating and thriving and raising little beings into capable and kind humans. Who has time for perfect balance?!
Today I challenge you to shed the work/life balance ideal and instead be true to what I call your Mom Flow. Many moms feel they lost their true selves somewhere in the years of diapers and constant needs of home, work and obligations. Truth is, you may be altered, but not lost. All moms should be supported to flourish and thrive. And to do so, I believe we should rethink the "balance" equation to truly live radiantly the way we wish to!
QueenBee's top 5 tips for finding your Mom Flow:
1) Start your day with an affirmation of how your day will go.
This is a great tip for anyone at any point in their lives, not only with kids.
I start my day with a picture and a statement of what I truly want in my heart. No fighting kids, eating great, smooth sailing. After all, no one wants to have a bad day. Then I get two energetic boys jumping on my bed as they wrestle each other, rush through breakfast, throw together simple lunches and race to the bus. On the mornings when it all breaks apart, I can call on that picture and roll with what I can control - notably my reaction to what just passed.
Not always easy but a great way to set the pace for the day.
That leads perfectly to reframing. Whatever just happened with your kids - tantrums, messes, broken _____ (fill in the blank) - it could always be worse. Sure some things will be inconvenient or even costly, but you could probably find a few ways of how the situation could be worse. And guess what, it's not so bad in the grand scheme of things. Nor are most situations worth ruining your entire outlook and affecting your personal vibration.
Do you really want to carry that negativity or frustration on your shoulders all day?
By reframing your definition of any given event, you are freeing yourself from extra judgment or chatter that takes up too much space in your brain, which ultimately clouds future interactions.
3) Give yourself Transition Time
I still do the countdown for my kids to help them transition from activity to play or homework. It works. They need it. It sets expectations, it helps them realign from one task to another.
I discovered that it works for me, too, and it comes in the form of deep breaths. Be it 5-10 deep breaths in a row or actually 10 power minutes of mediation.
Based on my mood I've also flipped through favorite photos on my phone. The purpose is to break it up. Break up all the things on your to-do list and work expectations so you can move into a task whole-heartedly and be able to fully focus on it. If you can focus on it, the task gets done quicker and with better precision, and that gives us more time!
My mom always said: 'I go slow because I am in a hurry." I wish I listened to her during the many times I was following a recipe while also talking on the phone and cleaning up the kitchen -- dinner never tasted great those days!
4) Let it Go
Let what go? Whatever IT is, on any given day. Maybe you're taking an evening continuing-education class, trying to lose weight, or have a large presentation to get ready for - let go of what you can that are not priorities in order to fulfill what is. Sounds simple enough, but we fill our days with so many 'shoulds' and don't focus on the true priority. Not everything can be a priority, and priorities can change day to day.
Yes, your kids safety and wellbeing is a priority. Sleep, healthy eating and job performance. What about the other stuff you love or long to do? Do you find yourself saying "I wish I could..." or "one day?"
Do you want to lose weight, spend a summer in Italy or get back to painting...? We all have something. Treat 'it' as the priority it is and let go of something today in order to take one step towards it for tomorrow.
If those other things you long for are priorities ask yourself, are you treating them like the priority they are? If not, why? Maybe they are not as important in the long run. And if that is the case, let go of talking about what a summer in Italy would be like, and use that brain power for something else instead.
5) Self-Care is not selfish, it's an act of survival
"I have come to believe that self-care is not self-indulgent...Caring for myself is an act of survival."
- by Audre Lorde, a mid-20th century writer, feminist, and civil right activist
Mothers are always feeling guilty - partly because of the pressure of mothers having to do it all, and partly because of the deep love we feel for our children and physically needing to be attached to them.
We feel guilty when we take time for ourselves. I know I used to feel like I had to arrange all the details at home, from snacks to ideas for games or play before going out on my own.
However we need self-care every day - and that includes careful and kind words from you to yourself.
Self care does not require much time or any money. Here are some easy tips:
- Eat foods that nourish your body and give you life. Don't miss a meal or rush through one. The food we put in our bodies fuel our day and our outlook.
- Use top-quality supplements to optimize your health
- Stretch, move, dance
- Give gratitude - in words - to someone. Your partner, your child, a co-worker, your barista.
- Turn off the news
- Regularly schedule something fun for yourself to look forward to.
Lastly, involve your partner/spouse and kids in your self-care journey -- they will support you to 'find the time'. Just like my boys don't starve or run out of fun things to do when I'm not there, your family, too, will figure it out.