The B-Word: Finding Balance in Motherhood and Biz
Guest Blogger: Ryann Watkin
All The Things
Shortly after having my second daughter, I attended a branding seminar led by a true mom boss. A get-ish-done type. You know the one: completely put together, established as a biz owner, and totally confident in front of a room full of strangers. As breast-milk soaked through my Bamboobies, I felt out of my league. But I listened intently, took notes, and started strategizing my brand magic.
As she was wrapping up, I eagerly raised my hand and asked her how she managed to balance it all. She was clearly expecting a technical question and was caught off guard. She shrugged, laughed and said “What balance?”. I shrunk in my seat and thought, “Nooo, come on! Tell me your secret. How do you manage to do all the things? I wanna do all the things too.”
When I started my biz in 2014, I knew I wanted the freedom that came along with doing my own thing. After some serious thought and planning, I parted from my traditional corporate career and became an independent consultant. Three months after leaving my full-time job, my husband and I found out we were expecting our first baby. That little blue line sent waves of excitement, joy, and shock through my system. How would I manage to get it all done? Would I work from home, baby in tow? I pictured myself casually sipping a latte while nugget was quietly reading books in her playpen. Ha!
Be Where Your Feet Are
The truth is mamas, biz owner or not, we can’t possibly do all the things no matter if we’re 3 months postpartum or counting the days till we’re empty-nesters. The less we do the more balance we actually have. It sounds counter-intuitive but believe me, it works. When I allow myself to take the time to just be with my girls without checking emails or trying to knock out a rushed blog post during an episode of Daniel Tiger, I end up feeling more fulfilled. The more fulfilled I feel, the more productive I am when I actually sit down to work.
It’s about committing to being right where my feet are. Which means momming it fiercely when I’m with my girls and working just as hard when it’s time to sit down and get-ish-done. The secret is being present in every moment. I know, I know—it sounds super-woo but with the positive psychology field gaining momentum there’s research to back the innumerable benefits of practicing mindfulness and presence.
Define What You Want Your Life To Look Like
Ever heard the phrase “If it’s not scheduled, it’s not real”? Yeah, that applies here one thousand times over. I spent a lot of time flying by the seat of my pants initially, working whenever the girls would nap or staying up past midnight and kicking it old-school-college-cramming-style. I.Do.Not.Recommend.This.
After some A LOT of trial and error, I figured out what I wanted the months, weeks, and days to look like. Most importantly, I defined how I wanted to feel. I knew I didn’t want to be constantly on the verge of burnout so I started saying “no” to opportunities that weren’t 100% joyful and creating strategic space for the things that were most important to me.
As a recovering perfectionist, (yes, that’s a thing) I’m realizing that balance is not a blue print we follow, it’s a delicate merging of the things that matter the most to us. When we define our priorities we can put more of what matters front and center in our lives. In turn, we end up happier, more fulfilled, and less stressed.
One of the most important elements when practicing balance is to be gentle with ourselves. Even when we screw up. The truth is, I don’t nail it every time. I fail. I make mistakes. I have days when nothing seems to fit together and my biz feels like a snow-covered unscalable mountain compared to the two little humans who need me so much right now. I’ve learned to surrender and lean into the uncomfortableness of not having it all figured out right this second. After all, the magic happens somewhere in the messy middle.
Here’s to practicing balance with grace and patience, mamas.