Let's not fool ourselves, there is no such thing as a work / life balance for working mothers. It's a tired old story, so why do we keep asking the question? Instead of balance, what if we were only allowed small moments, like a 2 minute song, and that's all we get until our kids are in kindergarten? If that was the case, and we all recognized that's it, I think our expectations will be set in reality, at least until kindergarten, which for me is in 2018.
I have four kids, two of my own and two step-kids, a husband, a business and Forth Chicago. Everything right now is work. Everything needs 100% of me, especially my 1 year old daughter. My mom called me on Sunday to ask me how I was doing. I went into how everyone else was doing: my son put my phone in a cup of water last week, my daughter's elbow popped back into place at the doctor, and the car battery was no longer dead, things were looking up! At the end of my rant, she asked again, "Well, Lisa, how are you?" And I said, "I think I have pneumonia." Really, I thought I did. I was so tired, but the last thing on my mind was me. When you are so busy fulfilling the needs of others, your life is work and balance comes in small moments.
Here are the top 3 things that help me recognize small moments of balance and purpose before diving back in:
2. New Age Music. Music has an extreme effect on me. I grew up around it, my dad is a bluegrass musican, and I use to be a club kid. Now I am much more tame and have a library of New Age instrumental music that has birds chirrping and brooks bubbling. Bonus: it calms down small children. Try David & Steven Gordon's Musical Healing.
3. Community. Surround yourself with people you look up to and you can call on for help. Forth is that for me, so are other mom's, my step-mothers group, my church, B-School and my family. I believe that you are the sum of the 5 people you hangout with most. It takes spirit and broken hearts to find those people but once you do, hang on to them! They will help provide a consistent push in the right direction of your teeter-tottering work life balance.
The idea of this blog post was daunting because I thought I didn't have anything to contribute. I thought long and hard "Do I have balance?" And while I don't have balance, I do have moments, and moments make up the the big picture depending on how you approach them. So, thank you to The B Bar for bringing up the conversation, I am excited to hear what other ladies, working mom's, entrepreneurs and others have to say about their work life balance in the link up!
Lisa Guillot is a co-founder of Forth Chicago and is the creative director of Step Brightly, a boutique brand design studio advocating fabulous design for smart people. She’s also a lover of bright colors & twinkling lights, small gatherings & summer, loud music, family & a great glass of wine. She’d prefer a phone call to an email and almost anything to an airplane. You can find her talking about smart branding and fashionable resources here, and on twitter here.
Here are the other blogs that participated in this month's link up, take a peek at how they interpret work / life balance.