A toolkit: what to do when the life balance is off
Over the past year, I’ve spoken to hundreds of mums. We’re all different. But at times, it seems, we all have one thread in common; no matter who we are, where we come from or whether we work or don’t. We all experience times when life balance eludes us. When the dark cloud of overwhelm threatens to engulf us.
So I thought I would share with you my toolkit of things I do to try and take back the power when I feel like life might be spiralling and the balance just isn’t there.
- Be kind to yourself. If you ignore the other nine things in this post and just do this one, that’s cool. You’re doing better than you think you are, I can promise you that. None of this is easy, and you’re an incredible mother.
- Understand WHY the balance is off right now. What is really important to you and your family? Design your ideal around that. Look at whether there are any external influences (pressure from friends/family, social media, celebrity magazines, etc) dictating to you what your life should look like, and whether you need to make some changes so that you can let that stuff go. This I think is the biggest key to achieving balance.
- Get really good at reframing the guilt. Another big one. If you can find ways to flip guilt on its head and focus on the reasons why you’re doing the things you’re feeling guilty about, you’ll feel stronger.
- Say no to more stuff. It’s not selfish – it’s safeguarding your wellbeing and prioritising the needs of your family. It’s making sure that you stop feeling as though you’re not doing enough.
- You don’t have to do everything by yourself. Get the help you need. Outsource where you can on the jobs that can easily be done by someone else. Enlist your partner, friends and family to support you in making everything run smoothly.
- If you work and it’s not working, ask for what you want. Do you need a more flexible working arrangement or to change your hours or working pattern? Do you need some time out or more training?
- Get more organised. A bit dull, I know. I rebelled against this and couldn’t stand the lack of spontaneity, but quickly realised that the more organised I am, the better I can deal with the inevitable times of overwhelm. Whenever I start to feel this way, I look at ways I can help myself out by getting more organised.
- Never be afraid of change. If something isn’t working, change it. Just because you’ve always done things a certain way, doesn’t mean you can’t challenge that. Balance is always evolving as the needs of your family change.
- Find time for you. This might seem unachievable when we’re talking about pressurised times of stress, but that just makes it all the more vital. Taking even tiny amounts of time for yourself will mean you’ve got more in the tank to deal with the problems that are causing you to feel this way.
- Let go of perfection. It doesn’t exist. It may look like those perfect looking parents have their shit together, but we’re all just doing our best.
I think above everything, these tougher times become easier when we can find the courage to open up about this stuff.
Trust me, everyone has times when the wheels are falling off.
You’re not alone.