The age old work life balance. Has never meant more to me.
Previously, I have never felt I needed to pay too much attention to this area. I felt the balance between my work and life was perfect for me and I could read the signs for when I needed to adjust the balance and could do that reasonable easy.
Currently, I have found that finding time is incredibly difficult. Admittedly, I was a little naive as to how much ‘free’ time I would have with a new baby and in turn how much energy I would have at the end of the day to be able to focus… there is always something to do and something that needs to be done. My to-do list just keeps on increasing with little random bits and pieces that seemed to happen automatically pre-motherhood and just needs to be done but, honestly, I just can’t be bothered thinking about. Finding the balance is challenging and something that has been a ‘learn as you go’ process for me. I was spoilt with all the space time I previously had without even realising it (one thing I would tell my pre-mother-self, is to capitalise on all your spare time, because you will never get it back and never have as much again… no matter how busy you thought you may have been).
Not only have I found the balance challenging, but how I had SO many plans on what I was going to achieve when I was on maternity leave and how I thought I would have all this time on my hands. I underestimated how much time my new role of being a mum would take up and it is mainly just playing and watching my little boy grow and develop (so many beautiful rewards and benefits this new role of mine has).
I am still in the learning process of finding the balance but I finally feel I am starting to find my groove and getting the hang of this mummy business. Next step is nailing the prefect balance (yeah, right) or just continuing to work on it and tweak as I go.
Some simple points I have learnt along the way…
1. It is ok if you have not achieved anything on your list for that day… take a deep breath and let it go
2. Showering at night when bubs is settled and in bed is the perfect / calming ‘me time’ you need to give a little balance
3. Ease the pressure on yourself – it doesn’t help anyone… and if it isn’t important, it really isn’t important
4. Without contradicting point #3, sometimes it can feel so dam good when you have actually achieved something unrelated even small things like putting the dishes away
5. Relax your shoulders (I often have to say out loud ‘just relax’), almost as easy as it sounds, but it is a start and life feels so much more balanced when you are relaxed
6. Find support in your friends, others in the same shoes as you (knowing you are not alone is a comforting thing) & community groups / online support networks really are fabulous
7. Prioritise… time management and prioritise are handy skills to have up your sleeve when the balance gets a little tangled. I went to a Biggest Morning Tea fundraiser and one of my friends, Sarah Poppy, who blogs at Working Mums Collective presented one of her regular posts, Motivating Mums, live with two gorgeous mums Sarah and Jenni in a Q&A style. One of the questions Sarah asked was how do they find the perfect balance and Sarah answered in a way that really resonated with me… She compared balancing life (work, family, social, EVERYTHING) to one of those clever people at the circus who balance several plates at once and their assistant continues to load them up with more and more and more plates as they continue to balance and spin them all at once. We need to prioritise those plates – what do they represent and how important are they? Are they a $2 plate from k-mart that can easily be replaced, will it matter if it drops? Is a old sentimental plate passed down through generations that you simply cannot replace and will be devastated if it broke? What level of importance does each plate represent? Drop the cheap replaceable plates and pick them up when you have more hands to balance them on. The more plates, the more dishes! Keep it clean and simple!
AND finally… 8. Find comfort in the fact that you will get time to do the things you love again. I felt like I had neglected my little space on the internet and YOU as I took a step back to concentrate on being a mum. But I knew this space was waiting for me and I would make my way back when the time was right simply because I love it and I wouldn’t be able to stay away.
How do you find balance? Any tricks up your sleeve on nailing that balance…?