Motherhood is a lot like seasonal changes and the constant developing of the world we face. With the first pregnancy, we worry about how to balance and not sacrifice the things we love, like our spouse, job, and hobbies.
With each child birthed grows the illusion that our lives will never be our own again and we will forever give up the aspirations we once had for the sake of raising healthy and independent children. As our very delicate little counterparts start to talk and interact with peers, we become of less importance to them and even begin being cut from their top favorite “cool people” as teenage hormones set in.
It can feel like we juggled the balls of motherhood in such a bad way that we lost ourselves and our relationships with our kids, friends, and significant other. Is there no hope for finding the fine balance of loving our children, sacrificing for them, and still being able to care for our own needs, aspirations, and work?
Generations of women have found themselves asking this question and more as they’ve entered the workforce again but tried to keep up on responsibilities and desires. These three tips will give you practical ways to help bring balance to the seasonal and never-changing seasons of motherhood alike.
Involve your spouse or partner: It is a must that you remember you are not alone. For many moms, even if the child’s dad doesn’t live at the home, he is still part of the picture in some capacity. While it may not be the level you want, looking on the lighter side of things can help you to establish boundaries. Allow and support them in assisting you in being a parent.
In other words, you can't expect yourself to do it all. If you work or maybe even support the family from some aspect at home, talk with your spouse about what responsibilities weigh heavy on both of your hearts and divide them up between the two of you.
For example, maybe mom manages Tuesday night sport practices and Dad assists in Thursday nights. Or splitting the household chores among the family and not forcing yourself to be the sole responsible party to accomplish it all.
This frees up more time for everyone to enjoy or pursue their own desires and aspirations and be able to focus on work alone when working.
Prioritize: It was once said to me that you will make time for things that are important to you. I would often question if that were sincerely the truth or did I really only have time for the things like children’s baths and school functions that were screaming for my attention?
I can look back now, years after having three very young children and can see the truth behind that statement. It’s not saying that we should ignore or toss our children and the responsibilities of motherhood to the side, but rather prioritize them. You can’t say “yes” to everything someone asks you to do, let alone, “yes” to everything your mind tells you to keep up on.
Prioritize what things are of the most long-term importance to you and start there with your time commitments. If eating healthy meals as a family is a priority, then stopping at the gym after work might have to be changed to a better time such as early morning. If reading with your kids is a priority, skipping your favorite tv show won't seem so much of a loss (Besides, with advancements in technology, you can record it and stream it later after they’ve all gone to sleep, anyways.)
Have Healthy Expectations: Lastly, keep your expectations of yourself healthy. Not every mom has the time or energy to volunteer at their child’s school, re-create exceptional Pinterest crafts, or have the perfectly-dressed child.
This does not mean you can’t have an exceptional gifting in your motherhood, job, or hobby, but rather that you most likely need to realize you can’t be the best at them all. None of us can. It is all about balance.
Go back to the basics of what a child and mother need. A child needs to know they are loved and encouraged, and a mom simply needs to feel that her best job was enough.
There is no perfect “how to raise children” manual for us all, as each family dynamic and child are different! We must not completely neglect ourselves, and yet not completely focus on ourselves either.
Find the balance by involving other adults, prioritizing, not over-committing, and setting healthy expectations of what life will look like in the exact season you are in.