Lessons from Motherhood: Balance

Balance… Balance and motherhood. Can you have both?

I think so. But it’s not easy and nor does it ever look the same for everyone. It also doesn’t stay looking the same for the same person. Balance is an ever evolving concept for me and something I’m always working on.

I’m not naive when it comes to balance. I knew it wouldn’t happen overnight or by itself. It took time, patience and adaptability, but right now I’m feeling like I’ve got the right mix in my life.

As someone who adores what they do, it was tough for me to pull back from work. I love the work that I do and I feel a strong commitment to my students, so removing classes from my schedule was a painful decision to make.

I always aim to walk the talk though and, as I tell my students, we must honour ourselves first in order to honour others. So while in the past I have put clients ahead of my own needs, I’m older and wiser now! I also have a family relying on me, so I needed to make these changes to support my role as a mum too.

As a mum and business owner it’s easy for me to be stretched too thin, multiple responsibilities tugging at my attention and taking up the hours of my day. But in order to be fresh, give my best and deliver results for my family, clients and staff, I need to constantly be reassessing where my energy is being spent.

I am committed to pressing PAUSE when I need to. I’m always on the lookout for signs and symptoms of burnout and I know these look different for everyone. Naturally I am an energetic person who performs well with a packed schedule, but this also means I sometimes overdo it and push myself beyond my limits.

One of the signs I picked up on earlier this year, before pulling my class schedule back, was that I was feeling upset that I wasn’t spending enough time with my kids. As someone who has designed a life of joy and passion, feeling upset wasn’t feeling aligned. So, I did something about it – I changed my schedule around to teach less during the day when the twins are awake and more in the evenings when they are asleep.

As women we are constantly being told and encouraged to do it all. While I think we can do it all, we simply can’t do it all at once. Not without serious help and support!

I am privileged and ever grateful that as a working mum I am able to keep things going with the help of both my parents and a nanny. My husband, Brad, is also a hands on dad and has stepped up to the plate in his role as a father.

Reading Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In, I was shocked to discover that statistics show women are responsible for 50% of the income in many families but are still taking on the majority of the ‘house duties’. That’s like another fulltime job! It’s simply not realistic. Add to that the expectation for mums to get back into ‘shape’… talk about pressure.

So, mums out there, know this: I feel these pressures too. I understand how difficult and precarious balance as a working mum is. My advice, from my own experience, is: Press pause, constantly reevaluate and evolve. Get help! Forget expectations. And, most importantly, forge your own path that works for you and your family.