January 27, 2017 4 min read
Balance. As a momprenuer, this word is very elusive and intangible to me. I’ll preface this guest post with this: I think it’s impossible for me to achieve balance perfectly. Needs, situations, circumstances are always changing and our world is constantly moving and shifting. As a mom, I will always put my kids first, and because their needs are constantly changing, I will always need to adjust and adapt my responsibilities so that I can be the best mother that I can be. And as a business owner and mom, this means that I have to be intentional and careful with the choices I make. I’m going to be honest- this isn’t easy for me because I have so many dreams and plans for my business and I often feel torn because I love what I do, but I am also going to be a mother and wife before anything else. It’s even difficult to admit that I am torn because I even feel guilty that my heart feels like it is tugged in so many directions. While I’ll probably never achieve perfect balance, there are some things that I remind myself of each day that helps me. I’m all about self-talk and giving myself little pep speeches, so I’ll share some below!
1.) Keep your values close to your heart.
The two main roles I juggle are mom and business owner. (Ok, I guess wife is pretty important too!). At the beginning of 2017, I told myself that I needed to clearly define the priorities and values that I have for each role, and to base my choices on those values. As a business owner, I value the quality of my work and take pride in the pieces that I handcraft. I want to ensure that I am not making sacrifices on the quality of my work or cutting corners, so I made the choice to not outsource handmade process to anyone else. As a mother, one of my top priorities is to be present with my children both physically and emotionally. Because of this, I made the choice to make sure I didn’t take on too much at a time and have since implemented order limits. These two choices are going to be cornerstones for me as I attempt to find this elusive work-life balance.
2.) Recognize that you make choices everyday- big choices, small choices and micro-choices. Be intentional with each choice. Each of these choices will either help you find balance, or take you further away from balance. Personally, I’m working on my little micro-choices because I make little choices that take me away from balance without me even knowing it. For example, I’m learning to let the dishes go unwashed so that I can spend more time with my children. I’m also learning to make the intentional decision to put my phone down when I go to bed so that I don’t stay up until 3 AM. My Instagram scrolling habit may be just a habit, but when I don’t get rest, I can’t find balance. Being aware of the little choices that I make and how it affects the big picture is something that helps me find balance.
3.) Learn how to say no. This is a tough one for me. I like to get things done, and done well. I like to give it my all and I have a hard time turning down opportunities. I’m learning that if I say “yes,” to everything that comes my way, I’ll be drained of time and energy, and it will be counterproductive in my journey towards balance. Which brings me to the next point….
4.) Quality over quantity. I would rather pick 5 things to do and be known for doing them well, than do 10 things and do a mediocre job on each one. This is my mantra for my business lately: as my business grows, order volume is growing as well. I would much rather be known for the workmanship and craftsmanship of my work, than fill as many orders as I can receive. It is hard for me to say no because I have a fear of being left behind or that I am going to miss out. I also have a habit of saying “yes” to everything because
I can feel insecure in my abilities, and that I won’t be able to do the few things I do say yes to. (So I say yes to everything!). But this year, I am going to challenge myself to be courageous. I am going to dare myself to believe in myself enough to know that I don’t need to do everything, but that I CAN do a few things well.
5.) Fill your cup and give yourself self-care. You can’t pour from an empty cup. It is not selfish to indulge or take the time to pamper yourself. When I fill my cup and surround myself with things and people that energize me, I am taking care of the people around me because they need me to be whole, healthy and well so that I can give them everything I have. Taking care of me, means I’m taking care of the ones I love.
6.) Find your tribe. The search for balance is often a lonely one. As I open up to friends about my struggles with balance, I’m realizing more and more that though we all have different circumstances, each person that I share with shares some of the same struggles. We can be sounding boards for one another as we seek balance. It takes a village!
And now it’s your turn! If I trick myself into believing that perfect balance can be achieved, I won’t be doing myself a favour. Like the ocean, balance always moves and changes with each wave and tide. The 5 things that I listed above are mantras that act as my anchors so that with each wave, I can stay afloat and keep my values close to my heart. Balance isn’t always about knowing how to divide your time and energy up into perfect little pie slices, but more about being able to stay true to your values and goals with each wave.
All images by McLachlan Studios