Balance: mental and emotional steadiness; stability produced by even distribution of weight on each side of the vertical axis. A balanced life should equal a calm and steady one but just thinking about trying to balance life gives most people a headache.
I’ve been fortunate to have the innate ability to keep things pretty well balanced in my life, but that hasn’t come without a learning curve. On a daily basis I juggle so many roles (as do most parents, namely mothers): mother, alarm clock, chef (breakfast, lunch, and dinner), school bus driver, teacher, small business owner, blogger, runner, friend, daughter, wife, parent, and the list goes on, right?! Some of you even have more roles than that. It’s insane what we expect ourselves to accomplish in a day.
But that’s just it. Maybe you are expecting too much from yourself? Yes, there are things we much accomplish because it’s our duty, but sometimes you just need to let go of the things that are bogging you down. For example, the kids have to eat lunch at school and you have to make it. But if this is the one thing you hate doing then change it up! Hot lunch, make it at night, make the KIDS make their lunch at night. If my 4yo can make a PB&J then your 1st grader can too.
We also live in a world where we are pressured as parents to be the best we can be and to make sure our kids are learning what the real world is like. If getting shoes on the kids on the way out the door in the morning is like being in WWII then forget everybody else when they say, “just let your kids go to school with no shoes, then they’ll learn.” Ya know what, that’s not gonna happen here. Life lessons aren’t being taught on the way to school at 8am. Set all the shoes out with their clothes each morning or line them up by the back door. Keep shoes in your van! I’ve chosen to pick life-battles with other things.
You aren’t super mom. You don’t have to be! I have gotten comments that are meant to be compliments, “Oh, you do so many things, you are such a super mom!” And I know that these words are meant to be kind and uplifting. And for the most part I’m truly flattered but there is one little voice in my head that tells me I need to keep being super mom in order to keep their expectations of me high. I don’t want to be a failure! Now I know you are thinking, “Girl, that is not true!” And it might not be, but it’s still that little voice that hangs around. We all face this scenario in some fashion. But it’s up to you to decide if you can conquer it or not.
Balance looks different for everybody. Some people can tolerate clutter and some are just neat freaks. You need to decide where in your life are you feeling unbalanced and why?
Are you a YES person? I was. This was one part of my life that stressed me out! I was saying yes to projects that gave me no satisfaction, made no money, and took up way too much time. I was trying to please everybody and it just wasn’t working for me. One day I said NO to somebody and it ended up not being a big deal. Why? Because people hear NO all the time and one more isn’t going to make it any worse for them. When I started saying NO to projects that I loathed I actually felt so much better. I had more time to spend on the important things in my life. See, I found one a part of my life that wasn’t balanced and I found a way to fix it.
Where are you feeling unbalanced? Do you commute to work? That takes up so much time for many of you. What’s worse, it’s almost impossible to multitask while driving! Do you wish you read more books? Have you tried listening to books on tape? Maybe something as little as this will give you some joy and help balance out your days.
It’s also ok to ask for help or outsource something. You’d be surprised by how many people are willing to help somebody out with a car ride or a meal. Hire a cleaning lady or ask a friend to meal plan for you if cooking is stressful. You could easily eat her meal plan each week, right? P.S. I have a great friend that can help you with this.
As I get older I realize that our life journey should not be stressful. Yes at times it can be and we do have adult responsibilities, but life should also be fun and enjoyable. Your stress will definitely rub off on your kids and we certainly don’t need more kids battling anxiety in life. Take time to figure out what makes you anxious and leave it behind!
One last example for you, over the years I have found out that driving in the snow makes me extremely anxious (so does being late). I have told friends that if it’s snowing to just count me out. I don’t try to make the event or over-promise what I know I mentally can’t handle. If it’s snowing hard, I won’t be there and I’m ok with that. Forget FOMO, it’s time to grow up. As for being late, I factor in wiggle time for everything. I leave ridiculously early for stuff so that I’m not late. Being late and stressing about it doesn’t affect me because I plan for it. I’ve learned to balance my time and my expectations for myself.
You can do this. You can create balance in your life; talk with a friend, a therapist if you need to, send me an email, ask a parent. I’m positive there is something in your life that you can change so that you feel more relaxed on a daily basis. You owe it to yourself. You only get one life and you deserve to be happy in it.