The Thing About Balance
I feel like this idea of balance is a dangerous one, especially when referring to mothers. We can’t do it all. It’s literally not possible to be a glama-mom who bakes the most delicious (and healthy) treats while simultaneously running a Pinterest worthy home, maintaining a productive career and taking the necessary time for self care. It’s impossible to do all of that, have a thriving social life, a fresh manicure and make it to daily hot yoga. Those who pull this off have a lot of help, A LOT. And, even then it’s next to impossible. It’s easy to fall into the social media trap of thinking that others have achieved perfect balance and as a result, take yourself down the rabbit hole of lack. Don’t. We can’t do it all and it is ok. It’s ok to be a rockstar mom who pours love into your children and then gets daily take-out. It’s ok to have a dynamic career and kill it at the office but come home to a messy home. Give yourself permission to go on that girl’s trip (good for the soul) and not make a perfect DIY divine Halloween costume.
Balance shouldn’t be a goal. Balance doesn’t work. Even in yoga poses, we sway, we breathe, we fall, we get back up and we lean in. We don’t stay perfectly balanced. We can’t. Sooner or later, something will wobble and our attention will go there. Inevitably, certain seasons of life will require that more attention be given to _______ and taken away from _______. It’s ok.
Feeling good should be the goal. Being at peace with your decisions and their results is a good goal too. Get comfortable with letting certain things and perceptions go. I use this priority map to figure out what really matters to me and what I can let go. The map can be used for daily, weekly, monthly or seasonal use. I use my map to prioritize my day. Here's how it works:
In the heart, I place the things that I simply must do to feel like a happy human. These are the things that I need to do to simply be a happy human, not a happy mom. These are my daily non-negotiables and my list is surprisingly short- meditate, shower and breathe.
In the top part (Things that make my heart go boom, boom, boom) are the things that bring me joy. These are things that I incorporate into my day because I simply adore them. I make time because they make my happy.
On the left side (Just gotta do it...)- these are the things that I simply have to do to make my day flow. These are things like laundry (oh hey mountain of cloth diapers), make my lunch and do the dishes.
On the right side- (Eh...) these are the things that I can take or leave. The things in this section are things that I might do if I had an extra 30 minutes in the day but they are neither necessary nor soul stirring. For me, things like gardening fall into this category. Wow, I would love a beautiful garden but I simply am not willing to spend the time creating or nurturing one.
On the bottom (Let it go...)- this is where it gets juicy. These are the things that you can let go of and for me, it's mainly ideas and perceptions. For example, I let go of the need to have a perfectly organized and deeply cleaned home. I also release the idea that I need to cook beautiful meals nightly. These things would be awesome but I can't make it happen so rather than stress myself out about it, I chose to let it go.
This is your priority map. With time and experience, priorities will shift and you can move things around. This map is for right now. This moment. Use this as a tool to find peace with your priorities and enjoy the flow of life.