Being a parent is a full-time job, so what happens when you add a job outside the home? Being a student is a full-time job, so what happens when you add work, sports and theater? How in our busy lives, can we handle it all? Balance is key in juggling our responsibilities and work, but what balance looks like is different to each person. Here is how I find balance in my life as a mother and owner of a growing business.
To start, I brainstorm the areas of life that bring me fulfillment. These include my family (Husband, children, relatives), my friends, meditation, my job and quality time (activities that bring pleasure). Then I became specific with how I find enjoyment in each area. Finally, I examine how I would feel if I was lacking balance in these areas. It can be difficult to define what balance looks like, but easy to get in touch of what lack of balance feels like.
If I look at my own list, I know that my family priorities are out of balance if there is more yelling than laughter. Communication is key to a loving home and if the balance is unstable, conversations may cease to exist. If you and your family don’t speak with one another, resentment might grow internally. Consider having a family meeting once a week to make sure you are on the same page. We have dinner together almost every night, which provides another opportunity for check-ins.
Friendships are tricky because I surround myself with amazing people who work and often have their own families. I work on nurturing the friendships, I know will support me in hard times. Is that selfish? Perhaps, but it is important to me to have a network of friends that I can stand by and navigate life’s joys and sadness together. Sometimes, this nurturing takes place via text and social media. I don’t have hour long conversations with my girlfriends, and I appreciate the rare night out Bad Moms escapades. I am fortunate to have a large group of people I care for. My cue for lack of balance in this area is loneliness. When this icky feeling creeps in, I know I need to reach out. Working alone and from my home can induce these thoughts, so I am mindful to schedule lunch dates or Zoom meetings with colleagues. These short breaks connect me with my friends and helps me not feel isolated.
Meditation has become my go to for destressing and finding peace. However, I could improve by doing it on a regular basis. I have practiced enough to tune into whether my soul is feeling unbalanced. When I start to notice that, I hop onto Insight Timer for a quick tune up! I also practice yoga and EMT to restore internal balance.
I am fortunate to have a job I love. I have my masters degree in school counseling, extensive course work in gifted education and training as a teen ADHD coach. I took what I love about school counseling and took it out of the school system to start Team Pasch Academic Life Coaching. I work with struggling students in grades 6th and higher and help them become rock star students. Every time a session ends, I am filled with joy. I am so blessed that these kiddos let me into their lives. I must be mindful that I don’t let my passion for my job overshadow my family. This circles back to the importance of communication. Every time I consider a new client, I check in with my husband and daughters to see if it will tip the balance. Fortunately, my family is my biggest cheerleader and they are excited to see me happy. Remember your family is only together as one unit for a short time. Do you want to remember the hours at your desk or the football games with your family?
My quality time is typically spent with my family, so I nurture two areas of life balance at the same time! I make room for travel, theater, date nights, the beach and more. If the laughter and play in my house decrease, I know that I need to be attentive to this area of my life. Is it time for me to decrease my client load to have more quality time with my family or is there another area I need to adjust? My family needs will always outweigh the desire to grow my business.
Defining balance is an individualized process. Use brainstorming to find the areas of your life that give you fulfillment. Unfortunately, perfection is rarely maintained but by communicating with your family, you can ensure the swing of the pendulum is less drastic. Find time to laugh, find time to play, find time to enjoy this life.
Sit down with your family and learn where your balance is off and where you are satisfied. Here are some example worksheets http://hr.berkeley.edu/sites/default/files/attachments/Balancing_Life_Roles.pdf or http://www.coactive.com/docs/resources/toolkit/pdfs/18-Wheel-of-Life-Exercise.pdf
All the best,
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