Nearly two years ago, I became a mother to a beautiful baby girl. Since then, I’ve learned that parenting is the ultimate paradox: it’s greater than my wildest dreams – my heart is bursting beyond capacity every day – but at the same time, I regularly feel utterly depleted, physically and emotionally, and have probably never cried so much in my adult life. There’s a lot of talk among mothers (especially entrepreneurially minded ones) about finding that elusive “balance” – can you simultaneously be home with your children, run a business, exercise, cook healthy food, set a Pinterest worthy holiday table, bake homemade treats for the bake sale, keep an impeccably clean home, have a healthy marriage, and – on top of it all – manage to stay sane and happy?
In the past, I’ve tried my best to “do it all”, but quickly learned that it’s a losing battle – I couldn’t accomplish everything fast enough, and as a result, I was living in a perpetual state of anxiety and stress. I often ended the day in tears, feeling behind and like a failure. I’d obsess over the last time I cleaned my floors, or bemoan the fact that I couldn’t grow my business the way I wanted to. For all I talk about health, I wasn’t exercising, I was carrying around unwanted pounds, and felt generally unhappy. In trying to do everything at once, I let my overall well being slip through the cracks.
One day, after nearly a year of dealing with a series of increasingly difficult personal events, I realized that I was spending my energy on all of the wrong things. My daughter was growing up before my eyes, and instead of being present and inhaling every last ounce of her deliciousness, I was stressing about silly things. Instead of taking stock of everything I’ve accomplished with my business, I criticized myself for not making a certain salary and not having a big enough social media presence. And instead of patting myself on the back for cooking most nights and keeping a decently clean house, I beat myself up for not being Martha Stewart 2.0. I wasn’t present; I was too focused on all the ways life wasn’t perfect when, in reality, things were already pretty great. Once I started living life more intentionally and mindfully, appreciating all of the good things in my life, setting the bar a little lower, and scaling back to a more simple day to day existence, I started feeling happier, more fulfilled, and like I finally had some balance even if things weren’t picture perfect. It turns out, balance isn’t necessarily achieved by hiring babysitters, or banging out a blog post when your kids nap, or having an army of virtual assistants – those things can help, but I’m not sure they’re the long term solution.
So, all this to say – if you’re beating yourself up over not being Supermom, know that A) you’re not alone – we’re all struggling in some way or another and B) give yourself a break. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep and try your best to eat healthy food and approach parenting/marriage from a place of genuine love and patience, and your business from a place of passion, and as for the rest? It’ll eventually fall into place. If you have free time, work on a business project that lights you up, not what you think will make you the most money (and, coincidentally, the stuff that ignites you is usually what will bring you the most success!). Don’t set base your worth as an individual/wife/mother/business owner on someone else’s Instagram feed or your favorite lifestyle blog – focus on your own life and all the ways that it’s already really beautiful and perfectly unique to you! Simplicity breeds balance, and peace of mind, and ultimately, happiness.
image from herbcyclopedia.com