204. Reframing BALANCE in motherhood and work life

The most common question I get is “how do you balance motherhood, life and work?”. We are all seeking to have more balance in our daily lives and make sure we get everything done.  In this episode, I share my struggles with having a toddler and baby and looking for balance in my life. I share the common themes I hear from clients on the topic of balance. And I want to offer you different ways to define balance for yourself. 

Main topics covered in this episode (and all the related links you might like):

The Life on Purpose Community is open on Patreon

How our culture influences our definition of balance, and the societal expectations on moms, working moms and women in general

How do you define balance? What has your culture told you about what balance looks like for a working mom?

How does the workplace support working moms, working families? 


Both my personal experiences and working with moms tell me that we think others are finding balance but we aren’t

We get the sense that others have found balance and ease in their life, we don’t see their struggles or inner critics. 


Reframing the definition of balance can bring a lot of freedom to a mom who is struggling to make vague or unattainable standards of balance in their life


Looking for more?

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Join the Life on Purpose Community 

Book a session with Shawna 



Full transcript (unedited)

Speaker 1 0:00
Hey friends, it’s Shawna, your nerdy girlfriend counselor from simple purpose.ca. Welcome back. Welcome. If you’re new to the simple on purpose podcast, around here, we talk about ways to simplify your home, your heart, your life, and show up for your life on purpose. A lot of the conversations we have here on the podcast, are my aim at getting you to really step back and just kind of watch what’s happening for you get awareness about yourself in your life, and how you’re showing up so that you can turn off that autopilot, that reactive that default living that status quo, because if you’re here, you probably want something a little bit different. You want something more intentional. And so we try to talk about being intentional in how we’re showing up in how we’re parenting and in how we’re living our life. That’s the life on purpose Park. I’m glad you’re here. I’m glad you’re here. So we can keep talking about all of the simple on purpose topics. And speaking of simple on purpose, how is your spring break? Was it simple? Was it on purpose? Maybe sometimes, maybe not all the time. I took our two weeks off here in BC, I took our two weeks off of work pretty much for spring break. In the back of my mind, I actually thought I would have pockets of time to draft some episodes get ready for tax season. But my kids really wanted to hang out with me. It’s a surprise. Their friends went out of town though. So I was tagged back in to being an acceptable person to hang out with. We played Monopoly. If you’re on my Instagram, you saw that that was a days long event, because we do it in doses so that we preserve our relationships. We also reread the rules to monopoly. Did you know you can still collect rent and bid on property in jail. So we’ve totally changed our monopoly approach. We watched movies I mentioned I was hoping we would watch Harry Potter and we got up to movie six. So I’m proud of us. We had fires, we went out of town, we played mini golf into an arcade. So it felt like we did a lot. But we still had a lot of time just kind of hanging out at home, which is my favorite to have some downtime. Over the spring break though I did release an episode in the Patreon and if you’re like what is a Patreon? I don’t know what that is. That is an app that is where I hold our members community, the life on purpose community, that’s our members community. And you’ve probably heard me in the past talk about Facebook and Facebook and Instagram are really hard places to grow community and show up on so we’ve moved over to Patreon so that we can show up really intentionally. This is a place where people join on purpose, which means the conversation is also a lot more engaged. There is a bonus Patreon episode on losing yourself in motherhood. And there’s been some really valuable conversations. Following that episode, women sharing their insights, their own struggles, their own strategies. So if you’ve been thinking about joining the life on purpose community, I encourage you to check it out. It’s a really great way to be intentional with how and where you show up for online community, you get bonus episodes, I’m a little bit more in depth, I’m a lot more in depth, actually, I think and a lot more personal in those episodes. And ultimately, it’s just a great way to support the work of simple and purpose. So if you’re interested in that, check out the link in the show notes for the life on purpose community. As we move on this month, we’re talking about the topics of balance and moderation. And balance is the most requested topic that I get. It’s something I talk about with a lot of my clients, especially if they’re moms, or they have really demanding jobs. It’s something I get emails on. And questions are like, how do I balance working? And home? How do I not crash and burn? How do I make sure I’m doing all of the things I’m supposed to do in the day? Some interesting questions that come to my mind with this topic are what is evidence that you use to tell yourself you’re not balanced, that you’re not living a balanced life? And what does balance mean to you? How do you know if you’re more aligned? As I asked, What does balance mean to you? What comes up for you? What do you what sense do you get what visions do you get that life will look like when you have more balance? You noticed a theme here that when I talk about these issues that we are facing, I often talk about how our culture has influenced our concepts and assumption of these issues. And this is simply because our culture is the soil that we’re grown in. And if you consider all the cultures all over the world over all the ages, you sense that each each culture is producing very different values, different rules for living different rules for the people and the roles they play different words for things. I think emotions is a great example of how our culture teaches us different things. For example, in some cultures, emotion shouldn’t be repressed, should be hidden. In other cultures, emotion is an acceptable part of being human. And you can be passionate and you can express your emotions openly. So as we talk about balance, especially as moms and women, we need to consider how we are taught to define balance. A very North American way of defining balance, in my opinion, is finding the time and energy in a day to do all of the things we think we should be doing emphasis on this should. This is where our cultural influence plays a part. What should we be doing? I’ve talked about this many times, the societal expectations on moms and women. I’ll I’ll link some episodes in the show notes on that. I think most of us think that balance is living that ideal day, every day, where we have time for health, the meals are prepped socializing, we talked to friends, we’re connected with other people work where we show up engaged in productive family, where we are present with our kids and patient, community, sleep hobbies, checking with our partner exercise, reading a book, we live in a culture that tells us balance is living that ideal day every day. Also, we live in a culture that does not make balance easy for a woman and mum, the domestic duties are defaulted to the mum, we are expected to carry that mental load, manage the Google Calendar, get all the emails, and now we’re working and still doing all of the same domestic duties. I will say though, I think we’re seeing a shift in this, I think our generation and the one behind us, because your girl, here’s Gen X. So I think there’s two generations maybe three parenting right now, I think that we are on this shift where we are shifting what we grew up with, we are shifting the domestic norms. We are in this generation where both parents are working. And that’s maybe what we saw our moms doing in the 90s and stuff. But we’re having more conversations about it with our partners on how to share that workload. However, there’s still a lot of culture that clings to those traditional domestic roles. And if a if a mom is to work outside the home, they enter into a workforce that is set up for the working parent rather than the default parent. So moms are expected to be the default parent while working in jobs that offer no little supports for them to do that. Well, that workplace is still a system set up for the male partner. And it doesn’t allow even for the male partner to have flexibility in work and parenting. This is not I’m not a sociologist, right? This is just my cultural evaluation. So take from it what you will, but this is definitely my soapbox. Let’s get back to balance. How do you define balance in your life? What would that specifically look like if you had a balanced day week? Get specific because vague answers are unsatisfiable goalposts. Ultimately, here’s how we’re entering into this conversation on balance, one with the expectation that we should be able to do all of the things sidenote related. Now we also have the shame and guilt, when we don’t do all of the things and how that impacts us and our self concept and our motivation. And to we’re also entering into a culture that expects us to do all the things but does not offer us supports to do so. If this is how we are entering into the expectation that we should be able to find balance, which to me feels vague and unsatisfiable. To me, we’re set up to fail, if this is how we approach the concepts of balance.

Speaker 1 8:40
You know where this is going? The big question, what if you could rethink balance and what that looks like for you in your own life? As I think of this question, where people have asked me over the years, how I balance it all, how I juggle it all, I really draw blink some days. Some days, I feel very balanced. I feel like life is doable, and it’s intentional. I feel like it’s in a good flow. In some days. I feel like my life is falling apart. I’m totally overwhelmed. I’m living off protein bars and coffee and I’m going to cry at least once today. Some so you just don’t know what you’re gonna get. I think back to the really early days of motherhood, where I recklessly believed that balance was something I could just do if I found the right tip on Pinterest. I believed I could make a home cooked meal while the toddler and baby were at home. I could get up early for a workout and devotions. I can have enough patience and energy for the whole day. Because that’s what I thought people were doing. I saw them on Instagram. That’s what they were doing. And I cannot tell you over the years how many women I have talked to who carry so much workplace stress, relationship stress issues with their kids struggles with their parents, health issues, mental health issues, home issues, conflict, confusion, overwhelm, and they say to me, why can’t I figure this out? Why can other people do this? And I can’t. I remember feeling that way. And if you feel that way, you are not alone. We think others are doing it and feeling good about it. We think other women don’t struggle with inner critic or inner shame or a lack of motivation. We think others have figured out how to make all of this work that may be even their gods favorite morally superior, Hashtag blessed. And I’m here to tell you, nobody feels like they have it all together all of the time. You might see someone in a calm season where their routines are working. Sure, but real life has tough seasons and conflicts and demands that we alter our definition of balance as we move through it. I used to chase this productive version of balance where I could be a super woman and do all of the things in the day that I should do. I used to think I could find on the internet, that mindset hack that life hack, that willpower tip that would make it all happen. I used to think that those pursuits, they were thwarted pretty fast out of the gate into motherhood. And I’m going to link a post about that in the show notes. I have changed my mind about balance about what it means to me. And I want to share these with you to give you ideas. First of all, to me balances making the time and energy for what matters the most right now. You’ve heard me say it over again, we need to make choices, we need to prioritize. And in order to do that, we need to know ourselves, who we are, and what we want, both for this season of life that we’re in, and hopefully that bigger, longer term version. This is the work of knowing our values and our vision that’s in the life and purpose workbook that’s in the life on purpose worksheets, you can get those on the website, we need to know what matters right now. And we need to prioritize that. That also means letting some things fall to the wayside, letting other things not be done, we need to honor that season we’re in there were seasons of my motherhood, where I just didn’t fold some of the laundry, kitchen towels, just throw them in the drawer kids PJs, just throw them in the jar. The only thing I was folding was shirts and pants. They were seasons of my motherhood, where I was spending less time with friends. As our kids grew and we all went back to work, we’d had to shift on how we connected how we gathered. There are seasons in my life where I was creating something every weekend. And then there were seasons of my life where I was on the road to hockey games every weekend. And then there are seasons where I’m cleaning up on the weekends after a busy busy week. There’s seasons of our life. And we need to know what matters because if everything matters, nothing matters. To me balance is zooming out to that bigger picture. I remember hearing this great concept about how kids eat in which is something I will say I did not anticipate being such a huge issue for me as a mom, I thought my kids would just eat whatever I serve them. But I have one especially discerning eater. So I’ve been trying to read a lot and learn a lot about how kids eat. And I remember hearing maybe it was a dietitian sharing that, yes, our kids need things like protein and vegetables. But if you look at how kids eat, they might only eat meat for three days. And then they just want bread and then they eat every apple in the house and then every cucumber, they are spreading out their nutrition over the week, where I was trying to force this, like structure and template on a daily basis. So letting go of that. Zooming out, that has brought me a lot of freedom. And I think that’s a nice concept that we can apply to our lives. This notion of what we’re doing what’s ideal, spreading that out over the week, the month, maybe even the years. The next thing that has helped me reframe balance is thinking that balance is doing small, simple things in my day, that make me feel like I am the person who has balance. I know that’s a confusing sentence. So what I mean is, I self identify as someone who pays attention to her work to her kids, to her health to her home, because I do it in little doses. And I let that be enough. Years ago, when I first started intentional living, I put the saying up in my hallway, do something today that your future self will thank you for. And that just seeing that as I walked down the hallway, just seeing that every day, it helped me change how I was approaching the little things in my day, I became very focused on these little actions. Drink some water, go eat a carrot. Take some deep breaths right now and respond with love in this one situation. Read a page in this book, one page, stretch for 10 seconds to me, balance became doing small, simple things often. I always tell you small things matter. I’m going to link to some episodes on that where I unpack that more and the concept of the compound effect. And I say this because it’s been my reality. My life has been built on the little things. And that doesn’t mean I have these rigid daily The routines have micro habits. But that means I’m always flexible in looking for ways to show up for myself and the life that feels balanced to me. I know, overall, the things that make me feel balanced. I know kind of like the big things I want to hit on, and I can do little things for that each day that helped me to be that person. I hope this episode has helped you unpack some of the pressure that you put on yourself, I hope that it has helped you reframe balance for yourself and for this season of your life. If you are in the life on purpose community, I would love for you to stop by the post. I would love to hear your takeaways, what you realized about how you have to find a balance for yourself in the past, and how you would like to define it moving forward. I also had more to say on this topic with some tips and thoughts on creating more balance in life. So I’ll make sure to add that in the life on purpose community as a mini bonus episode for the month. I’ve mentioned a lot of different callbacks to other episodes, so stop by the show notes. I’m going to fill them up with a lot of related links a lot of related episodes on the different topics that we talked about here. So the show notes are always at simple on purpose.ca. Click listen and you’ll see all of the episodes there. I also have full transcripts if you prefer to read them. But everything is there for you and I’ll make sure to link the Patreon if you’re interested in checking that out. I hope to see you there if you are alright friends have a great

Unknown Speaker 16:24

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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