People often ask me how I do it all. And the answer is, I don’t. Despite my sometimes foolish efforts of trying.
I had known and accepted for quite some time, that my work/life balance was amiss. I fully agree with Randi Zuckerberg’s concept of the entrepreneur's dilemma: Maintaining friendships. Building a great company. Spending time w/family. Staying fit. Getting sleep. Pick 3. I believe that we, as women and mothers, can do it all, but not all mindfully or joyfully at the same time. So, over the past 3.5 years since Luka was born, in accordance with Randi’s theory above, mine have fluctuated. Staying fit has consistently played last fiddle and I have taken what I can get from the incidental exercise of daily life with an active toddler. Sleep has also more often than not, been compromised with many a 2am finish in order to jam everything in. At times, I have neglected my friends. For me, the core balance is always between work and family. The endless juggle. However, in my opinion, I would add one missing ingredient to the equation … “self-care and me time” making the juggle and balance even more delicate.
I recently met with a friend and work colleague for coffee, and we ended up speaking about the challenges we face as entrepreneurial mama's. We are both Mum’s to toddlers who run our own businesses. I was talking to her about the challenge of fitting in exercise, sleep and me-time. She gave me a great tip and I replied “I just don’t have time”. She of course responded with, “no, you have time for the things you make time for”. And she is of course, 110% right. This is definitely easier said than done but the concept is true. I recently read a quote that said – instead of saying you don’t have time for something, try saying it’s not a priority and see how that sits. It’s actually really powerful. It’s so much easier to say “I don’t have time to workout”, than to say “my health + wellbeing is not my priority”.
One thing I thought I had down pat until only recently was mum guilt. I was super smug that the dark cloud hadn’t reared it’s ugly head and overtly confident I was nailing it. Luka was at childcare 2 days per week (and LOVING it) and 1 day with my Mum, which meant I was working 3 days per week, I had 2 full one-on-one days with my mini and weekends were for family stuff (or more recently reno stuff). Everything was busy but peachy. Until that is, when my workload got out of hand. Everything was getting compromised including my attitude but I was determined I could handle it. I mean, why wouldn’t I be able to handle a full-time workload in 3 days per week whilst looking after a 3-year old also pretty much full-time (whilst Hubby was dedicating most of his time to our reno), living in the reno and managing a household?! Honestly, why do we do this to ourselves. My wonderful Hubby suggested I put Luka into childcare for an extra day. He was of course trying to be helpful. All I heard out of this, was that he thought I wasn’t coping, which made me even more determined to do so. The worst part is, I was solely responsible for the pressure I was putting on myself. I was the only person who saw it in this twisted light. It wasn’t until my Mum suggested I put Luka in childcare for an extra day, that I considered it might be ok. So I popped L in for an extra casual day for a month and bam. There it is. The Mum Guilt. It turns out everyone has a line. And mine is working 4 days per week. And whilst from a work perspective, it’s been amazing to power through some stuff that’s been hanging around for ages (like this post actually), it’s put my balance out of whack. I long for Thursdays. I miss his face.
But you’ve got to try these things. So you can figure out your own balance, your own thresholds and what works to make your soul happy and your family life harmonious (I use this word with caution around our fierce toddlers). Outsource what you can. And if you can’t figure it out on your own, speak to someone who can help. We’re so good at adding things to our plates but not so good at taking them away. So for my friend from the café, she finds her balance by getting up super early and doing a meditation, followed by emails and her to-do list so she can start her days fresh and mindful. For me, that’s the end game (but if you know me, probably not the early part). For now, it’s casual days at childcare when required to avoid burnout and more priority on sleep and wellbeing. It's also being more conscious and setting boundries ... PART TWO of this post.
Cause someone wise once said, how you spend your days if how you spend your life x
Images by Tarlie from All Thats Captured @allthatscaptured | @t.andk