Mothers are the queens of juggling, a circus superstar who can keep all the balls in the air at once… just hoping when they all come back down she catches at least one of them. There isn’t a doubt in my mind I make a pretty argument for being pretty darn good at this job (most days). But one thing that never seems to come into my magnificent juggling act – balance. Yep. The holy grail of parenting.
I’ll manage the rest of it all, even if it is behind gritted teeth, stress, hair loss and my mind spinning, I’ll make sure it works. But if you ask me to find balance and implement it into my daily life, well that’s a much harder task. But as they say, isn’t it the stuff that’s hardest to achieve the most important? This holy grail – well it’s something I aspire to every day. Well at least most days, sometimes I just take the path of least resistance and accept that there aint no balance while I clean an explosion poo off our carpet and listen to the sound of two boys scream and fight over the same precious toy. Some days the holy grail is just a fallacy, one I’m sure I’ll believe again another day, just not today.
So how do you find, implement and maintain balance? I wish there was solid answer that I could hold onto and shout form the rooftops… but this holy grail is even harder to obtain than being able to take a shit on your own or not being nagged with repetitive questions on your “quiet” drive to Nannie’s house.
Step one: Identifying what balance means to you
One mumma may find her balance in having a spotless home, attending a yoga class each week, pampering herself with manicures or simply having the time to get a little loose on the vinos with the girls. Balance for you is what? What do you need more of in your life so that the beautiful, crazy madness that is being a mother seems more manageable? What will keep you sane? What will make you feel more fulfilled, loved and appreciated by both yourself and others?
Step Two: Letting go of the resistance
As mums we will always fall back into our default setting of letting the resistance stop us on our path to making change. There will always be an excuse, we have kids after all and raising them throws at us a myriad of excuses and legitimate reasons we can or can’t do something. Identify your legitimate reasons that could get in your way, acknowledge them and work around them. The rest of the resistance - the excuses, the ‘what ifs’, the ‘I shouldnts’, the guilt and the drama… LET IT GO. It’s there holding you back and if you feed it, you will never find the holy grail. Like ever. You need to be able to say goodbye to the guilt and self imposed sacrifice we feel as mums in order to make that positive shift that is geared towards your balance equation.
Step Three: Make it known
Make sure your partner knows what it is you need more of in your life. Recruit a girlfriend to come along if it’s a group activity so that you can both kick each other up the butt when you start making those lame mum guilt excuses. Make sure that when you try to jump on board with resistance you have someone there to literally push you out the door. This resistance to welcoming new exciting things into our lives won’t go away overnight, in fact I hate to break it to you, but most of that resistance comes from mum guilt and I don’t know if we can ever shake that hook in the back. But it’s because of this you need a team on your side to keep you motivated, before you know it, making time for the balance each week is a habit and hey presto… you’re on the doorstep on the holy grail my dear.
Step Four: Remind yourself why you need this so much
The best remedy for resistance and excuses is to remind yourself of why you started this mission in the first place. How were you feeling when you desperately decided you needed the break, the me time, the anything that was just for you? Most likely you felt overwhelmed, maybe trapped or even at your breaking point. This is a feeling you never want to revisit again if you can help it. You have promised yourself to start and a promise is a promise, don’t let yourself down. The consequences will mean you go back to that place where you felt trapped, alone and broken. The place where you dreamt about this bloody holy grail. Don’t go back to dreaming, make sure you hold onto the reality of having balance in your life.
Step Five: Be kind and loving to yourself
So you’ve found your holy grail, you’ve implemented a new self care regime and you can feel a little spark in your heart and that spring in your step. Next thing you know, life comes and knocks you sideways and it all turns to shit. You feel like you’re stuck back in that place again, juggling balls and just making ends meet. It’s okay, life will do this to you over and over again. That is the ebb and flow of life. Your job now is to get back up as soon as you can and return to your activities that found your balance. The work isn’t as hard the second or third time around. Just pick yourself up, be kind and realise that the ebb and flow ill trip you up in life. And being a mother, that ebb coming back towards you can have a pretty serious hit to it if you’re not careful. Get back on your bike and find your balance again.
Remember, if it was so damn easy to find and maintain balance, I wouldn’t be calling this the holy grail and people the world over would not be constantly seeking it out. It’s a work in progress, a life time commitment to letting go of resistance and stepping up and taking care of you. You may be a circus superstar who can juggle like a boss… but what I love more is the image of a bad-ass tomb raider type mum, determined to carve out her own style of balance and feel like maybe, even if just for a day, she conquered that holy grail.