Mama Balance FTW
Balance is a way of being that requires you to pay attention and respond accordingly. I believe it's totally within our grasp in any given moment. But here's the kicker: something has to give. You have to be super flexible in order to find creative solutions to manage life’s inevitable challenges. Nothing has ever tested my ability to execute this than motherhood. Couple that with the demands of completing a book project and boom—recipe for meltdown.
For years, two things have been at the forefront of my intentions: baby and book. And for years, this duo felt elusive. I know that balance equals ease, and ease brings results, so I finally decided that rather than putting my heart's desires on my to do list, instead I would focus on balance as a broad, creative pursuit and embrace whatever came at me.
It's no coincidence that within weeks of making this shift, I found out I was pregnant and was offered a book deal. Major, mutually exclusive events that somehow have felt magically intertwined.
But don't get it twisted. My now six month baby girl and hot-off-the-press book weren't magic wand manifested. The truth is, my approach to balance has been messy and ever evolving these last 18 months. Now that I've been sleep deprived and elbow deep in nappies and book proofs for some months, I've regained a bit of perspective and gotten a lot more real about what balance looks like for me in my new, most important job of being a mom. Just like my book maps out solutions to common problems—imbalances—athletes face, I want to share some of the practical solutions I’m starting to find for the plethora of imbalances that accompany motherhood...
Problem: Sleep deprivation. The struggle is real.
Solution: Sleep (or at least rest) when baby sleeps. Everyone says this but I'm pretty sure 99% of moms don't do it. I used to moan all day about how tired I was and then stay up late into the night answering emails and trolling social media after I finally got my baby to sleep. After many bleary-eyed days I realized that I was, duh, wasting precious hours of sleep. I sometimes feel totally paralyzed when my girl crashes because I feel like I should capitalize on the opportunity to get stuff done. But I've finally accepted that rest is best. I feel way better and in turn am way more effective because of this. Also: only possible with all devices turned off.
Problem: The tank is emptier than you realize.
Solution: Feed yourself! Your tiny human will take what they need, leaving little nourishment for you. Three months post-partum I discovered I was lighter than I was pre-preggo because my input wasn't matching my output. I felt completely shattered. After refocusing on nutrition and rest I feel way more balanced. Also body work. Get it. You deserve it now more than ever. Implementing massage Saturdays has saved my butt.
Problem: Getting things done feels impossible.
Solution: Accept that things will take longer! And remind yourself you made a human being, so you’re already crushing it. You know, like when it's 4pm, you haven't left the house, only just ate lunch and changed out of your pj's... repeat after me, “I just made a human being!” This is one of my mantas on days when I feel hard on myself because I haven't "done anything” and everything is taking 10 times longer than it used to.
Problem: Fitness? What fitness?
Solution: Stop comparing yourself to yourself, or anyone else. The desire to get your body/fitness back is real, but the fact is there’s no old body or new body. There's only the body you have right now and it deserves respect and TLC. At two months post-partum I started running three times/week even though I was exhausted and still felt like I was going to pee myself the whole time. The result: one step forward, two steps back. Within a month I was totally destroyed and had to stop all exercise for nearly two months. Now instead I only workout when I really want to and have the energy and I catch glimpses of my fitness returning at a rate that is way more sustainable. Trust that your athleticism will be waiting for you when you are ready.
It kind of shocks me how common sense this list is, yet how tough it can be to follow through—my reaction is similar when I read Hit Reset. The fact is we are engineered for balance—it's our most natural state yet has become a radical ideal.
For me, motherhood has been the ultimate meditation—a potent reminder that what is happening right here, right now is what matters. If you can stay grounded in that and willing to respond accordingly, balance is a tangible, creative way of being—and one that optimizes everything, whether you're Momming or training for a marathon, or manifesting a big project.
Now that my baby and book are in my arms I’ve realized that when it comes to big dreams the finish line is the starting line, but if you sustain balance you'll always Win.
How do you find balance as a parent? We can all learn from each other—share with #hitreset!