The Art of Balancing Motherhood/Parenthood
Establishing a balance in life was a lot easier and felt very natural, until our daughter joined our lives. No, I’m not insinuating it was her fault or that she was a burden. It absolutely was a blessing when she joined our hearts and home. Everything I knew in life changed when she was here though. Being a Mom now created another shift I needed to establish, and it was a journey on its own, balancing motherhood in my life, as I knew it.
It was not easy to adjust to this journey as a Mom and establish my identity all at once, but it was necessary. What I also saw happened to many women around me, the line between work and family began to blur. But it is a delicate balance, and one that seems to be constantly shifting in the back of my mind.
Balancing motherhood/parenthood is not easy, but it is essential and possible!
What are the most important things to balance with being a parent?
The answer to this question could be different for each of you. What are the areas in your life that you feel are out of control? Is it your marriage/relationship? Is it your home is never organized? Is it finding time to be a family? Is it trying to find your focus on your career again? This is a good time to take inventory of all areas of your life. Children are incredible, and they enrich our lives greatly, but it is also a promising fact that we have shifted focus in a way where we have experienced some imbalance in our lives and other relationships (personal and professional).
I personally found that I had to balance my career with becoming a mom. I work for a virtual company, with flexible hours (which is a huge blessing!), however, I also needed to be available for conference calls and chats during business hours. I found it very easy to work early AM hours, early PM hours, however, trying to find a balance during the day needed to be a priority. Scheduling around her nap didn’t always work, and holding a conference call trying to entertain her didn’t always work either. Two items that really became helpful were an infant carrier and an activity table. If she needed some extra cuddles, her carrier fits perfect at my desk. If she could self-entertain, yet wanted to still be close, she played at her activity table. These 2 items were essential to balancing my career and my daughter during daytime (business hours). She did learn as she got older that there are times during the day that Mom and Dad work in the office, and she began to bring in toys on her own and played between our desks.
However, this wasn’t the most difficult thing for me to balance, it was just the one area I needed to prioritize first to establishing my balance as a working mom.
So what was the most difficult area of my life to balance as a mom?
Our home! I am still learning this as she grows. I was very good at balancing my professional schedule with my housework schedule. But now, I am balancing my career and my daughter during the day. My scheduled housework routine went out the window. My personal rule of ‘no housework on the weekends’ no longer applied. I felt I was constantly picking up, but never cleaning. I remember one time my vacuum sat for so long, I had to dust it when I used it the next time. Eeks!
I had to learn, that just because I would do laundry on Tuesdays, my daughter might need sheets washed on a Wednesday. Even though I usually vacuum on Thursdays, there might be a food spill on a Monday. I had no routine anymore. I had no system any longer. I felt the house was out of control. I felt imbalanced and, therefore, I felt I was out of control. If I am not a balanced person, I can not be a balanced mom/parent. Today’s culture lauds the idea of pursuing balance within your life, but not often is it mentioned how difficult of a task this is.
3 Tips for balancing motherhood/parenthood
Accept the ‘Perfectly Imperfect’
Becoming a parent absolutely changes your life, in all areas. But, something has to give to make room for one of the most amazing journeys of your life. Dishes were not washed every night, the house was not dusted and vacuumed once a week, the laundry was never completed. At the end of the day, I was so exhausted that it was a struggle to just have a 10-minute conversation with my husband. What was wrong with me? Why couldn’t I do it all, like I did before? How could 1 tiny child, come in, and I loose total control of my balance?
That’s when I had to learn to accept the ‘Perfectly Imperfect’. Once I learned that, I started to see how I could re-establish balance in areas of my life to make room for my daughter. I began to make weekly (not daily) goals for the home. My husband found other times during the day that allowed us to connect for a 10-minute conversation. I shifted my work schedule to accommodate times when my daughter needed me most. My life had changed for the absolute best, but I needed to establish a balance with her as well.
Know their Love Language
Your parent/child relationship is still a relationship. Just as you want to communicate your love to your partner in a way they receive it, you need to do the same for your child. Now, yes, determining your child’s language is a bit different from your spouse/partner. There is a book available to help you, 5 Love Languages of Children.
There is also the chance your child could receive love differently based on the parents. Our daughter enjoys quality time with Dad, and she enjoys hugs and cuddles from me. Her day goes so much better if Dada spends time with her outside and her and I start the day with cuddles. She benefits from spending time with each one individually, and she benefits from spending time as a family too. But making sure that during the day we connect with her in her own love language makes her day so much better. She feels loved, she feels seen, she feels heard.
Know Your Limits
We all have triggers. We all have boundaries. We all have limits. Listen to yourself. Take your self-care. If you need help, ask. You’re not a weak parent. At the beginning, it is hard to spend time away. But find the little times in the day to do for you. Use nap times to do what your body is telling you. Some days, my most productive work days are during her naps. Some days my husband and I have ‘date naps’, instead of date nights, to connect during her nap times. Some days I have about all the energy and mental capacity to just go take a bath. Some days, dog gone it, I’m napping at the same time she is.
You will have your amazing days as a parent. You will have your challenging days. Just like every other area of your life.
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