Answer this question: Do you have a sustainable life balance as a mom?
If the answer is “no”, you’re not alone. This is the most common conversation I have with moms, and especially those who either own their own business, work a full-time career, or even have a side hustle on top of a career.
It’s actually a major reason why The Driven Mama exists. Our mission is to redefine what it means to be “driven” and “ambitious”, so that it’s not synonymous with “tired”, “exhausted”, or “barely getting by”.
Let’s get one thing straight – being a driven mama does NOT mean burning the candle at all ends, never making time for yourself, or barely surviving in the pursuit of “being enough” for those around you.
Being a driven mama means believing in yourself, your purpose, and finding the formula the works best for you to live YOUR best life – and not anyone else’s.
And the best way to move the needle on this movement is by helping to clear the air on a particularly trendy word – “balance”.
It seems like this word is the mom’s version of the modern day unicorn.
Everyone talks about it.
We think everyone else has it.
But, in reality, does anyone really have consistency in their life balance?
And if someone does, are they being judged by others, made to feel “less than”, or left to feel ashamed for living outside of the norm of overworked & exhausted?
Before we get too much farther, it’s important to know that balance IS possible (well, a form of it is anyway. We’ll get into that a little later). But, as moms, we have to stop comparing our version of “balance” against each other and measuring our self worth against it.
THAT is actually the core issue that so many of us are fighting against – allowing the external world to define what “balance” is and then judging ourselves when we’re not achieving it as described.
Not only is this completely unfair to have this pressure to on us, but it’s total B.S.
Balance is one of those topics that I WISH there was a required course on before you reached adulthood. Kind of like managing personal finances and other life skills that the education system seems to have missed in their curriculum. (I digress…)
But, since there’s not, this post will have to suffice.
What is Life balance?
I wanted to start this section with a definition from Webster, but even the definition is deceiving, because we’re not after the noun, balance. Life doesn’t just stand still and never change. It’s not like a destination you can reach or the end of a race. You don’t get a trophy for achieving “life balance” and call it good.
Instead, we need to look at the term in the form of a verb. In action – balancing.
Life balance isn’t a thing – but “life balancing” is. It’s always in motion, being adjusted, and fluid. Which is also why it’s so important to refuse to compare your life balancing efforts with anyone else’s.
You have no idea what is going on in their life right now, what kind of day they had at work, how well their kids slept, or what kind of major life events are taking place for them right now. Whatever is going on in your life and their life is completely different.
Think of our lives like snowflakes, no one is exactly alike. Which is why your life balancing efforts shouldn’t be either.
Building Your Life Balancing Muscle
Life balancing is a true skill. Something that takes time to learn, practice, and develop in order to get better at.
It’s not something that you get perfect from day one. Because the process of life balancing is so personal to you, it’s something that will need some trial and error, each new experiment getting you closer to what your version of life balancing looks like.
Some days, life can feel completely in balance, and the next, it’s like a massive wind storm came through and nothing is balanced. So, in addition to knowing how to develop the skill of life balancing, it’s also about how to get back on track and recover from unintended events that come about, like kids getting sick, cars breaking down, water pipes breaking, and so on.
Life Balancing vs. Life Integration
I’ve heard others say that the term “balance” is outdated and wrong, and the term “integration” should be used instead. Like, work/life integration. But, integration refers to constantly intermingling work, life, family, etc. together. For example, creating work/life integration means going to work, then coming home and being with family, and once kids are in bed, logging back on to work again. It’s about learning how to integrate all of it together instead of having defined start and stop times.
Personally, I’m not a fan of this term, but that doesn’t mean it might not be the right solution for you. The term integration also infers multi-tasking, which makes it increasingly difficult to focus on one thing and to be present in the moment.
Defining Your Personal Life Balancing Process
Like I said before, the life balancing process is a) personal and b) unique to you, so there’s not a checklist or guide someone can give you to help you create your life balancing process. It’s something you have to build and create on your own or with some guidance/coaching.
That being said, there are a few concepts you can think about as you define life balance for yourself.
Questions to ask yourself when defining life balance:
- What are my top values in life?
- How am I incorporating those values into my daily life?
- What daily routine do I have that ensures my health & well-being is a priority?
- How can I ensure I’m being fully present in my values and with my health and well-being?
- How can I anticipate or be intentional about the activities I have this week to create more balance?
- How can I reflect on the past to take away key learnings about my personal balancing efforts?
- How can I apply that learning to my future process in my personal balancing efforts?
Lastly, know that life balancing will be ever evolving in your life. So, if there was something that worked for you in the past, but suddenly it’s not working anymore, it’s okay to make some changes and adjust.
Life balancing looks very different depending on which stage of life you are in. If you recently had a new baby, your life balancing will likely be very different than the mom whose kid just went off to college. It’s important to know that it will change, and that is absolutely okay.
So, I’d love to hear from you on your version of life balance, not to compare ourselves to each other, but in an effort to brainstorm and share tips or tricks that have worked for you that others might benefit from. Comment below and let us know what your life balancing efforts look like!