A Collection of Lies: Truth on Mommy Balance

When I first came to P.O.W.E.R.’s studio and started my wellness journey with Janine I was understandably out of balance.  I was a mother of 3 small children:   3, 2, and 4 months old.  For anyone who has had ONE child at any of those ages you can attest to feeling divided, hazy, out of control, out of sorts, not to mention just plain exhausted!   It was wonderful, I adored my children and being their mom!  I invested hours doing all the “right” mommy things, but it was also a time when I felt an utter loss of self.  

One of Janine’s passions is helping women achieve “balance”.   Balance with their family lives, their work lives, their physical lives, and their spiritual lives.    She equated each of these categories to a leg of a stool, and explained that if one leg was too long or short our whole lives were out of balance.  I know that there are seasons that we go through as women.  Often when we have small children their physical needs are primary and it is necessary to devote a large amount of time to nurturing and caring for these little ones.  Unfortunately, I do think it is in this place that women often times become “stuck”.  They stay in the “nurturer/provider place” doing everything for their family, at times this can be at the expense of losing a piece of themselves.   They lose a bit of their identities, passions, or they lose the permission to stay healthy in the other areas of their lives.   They invest so much in the family leg of the stool that they actually neglect their spiritual or physical lives (or both).   When they lose permission, they start to feel very out of control and even depressed.  Once depressed they become less active and even turn to food for comfort.  It is a terrible cycle.   I know, because I lived it.  I found time in Janine’s studio to be liberating because for that one hour of the week, it was my time.   Even though I would leave super sore having worked harder than I had ever worked before, I knew that I was nurturing a leg of my stool that had been neglected for too long. In that hour I was finding health.  Health, to not only someday avoid a heart attack, but health to become a more balanced mommy, wife and business owner! The more balanced I became; the more I realized that this was how I was designed to live.  
Women in my studio were courageous enough to share lies that they believe about balance and motherhood.  They are hoping to find wellness in this area of their lives and so once again I am sharing my responses as well as the responses of their peers.  I hope you find this helpful and enlightening especially if balance as a mom is something with which you personally struggle!  
I am not a good ___ (mother, wife, friend, sister, employee, etc.)
It is such a battle to not look at those around us and be constantly disappointed.  Amazingly others are looking at us and are marveling at how we are holding it all together.  
I have had to practice the discipline of “sitting in the disappointment of others”.  I am not and never will be perfect.  Therefore I will do the best that I can with what I have at the start of each day.  There will be those around me who think or expect more but I will daily make choices to love and care for my family, then look to the responsibilities that I have outside of that circle.  I will do my work to the best of my ability…but not at the expense of my family.  I will look for quality time opportunities with my children.  I will PRAY.  I will ask for His guidance.    And that is the BEST I can do!   And the best you can do too! 
I promise you that there is a single woman who so badly wants to be married and have children that stares at you when you have no idea she is watching and admires you!  The mother you are!  The wife that you are!  I know this because I am her! 
You likely feel this way because you compare yourself to an unrealistic impression of others around you.  Remember, “Comparison is the thief of all joy.” 
You sound like a very busy woman, which makes me think you may be tired! Every once in a while the burdens of life get us down.  We just can’t bring ourselves to be hopeful and optimistic all the time.  The burdens seem to overwhelm us.  It’s so important to know that we can let go of those burdens for a day or two.  We need to allow ourselves to take a much-needed rest.  
Rest is important.  If God felt it was important enough to tell us to rest and to take a day of rest Himself, don’t you think we should? 
I will fail and bring embarrassment to myself.  (failing to raise my children right, do my job right, keep my house clean, etc.)
“Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end. Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” Denis Waitley
 We are SO far from perfect and will absolutely fail.  It is what we do with failure that dictates our future.  How wonderful for our children to be freed from the chains of perfectionism recognizing that we as parents are not perfect and we don’t expect them to be.  I live in a state of constant “humility” because this parenting, house-keeping, life thing continues to humble me…even humiliate me at times.  It makes me very aware of my humanity.  It makes me aware of a reliance on something (or Someone) greater than myself. 
 I admire your faithfulness to pod because you recognize that if you nuture the “fitness” leg of your stool it will make you a better mommy and business woman.  You will be able to stay active with your kids, giving them a good model for a healthy mom (and future wife) AND you will reduce stress at work from the endorphins that are released.   Kudos to you. 
 I cannot balance being a “Mommy” and successful business woman.
My mother in law was a successful pediatrician and a wonderful mom of 2 boys.  She truly daily invested in loving her boys faithfully, as well as gave her “all” to her practice and patients.  It was amazing and I sometimes marvel at all that she was able to do.   She did not get as much sleep as other moms that I know.  She made a ton of sacrifices to find balance with work and family.  She was an inspiration though, because she was super invested in her boys lives and they adored her.  When I look at my own life and job I try to remember her and I try to truly be FULLY present in whatever place that I am working.  When I with my children I try to fully focus on their needs, their conversations, I try to break away from the laundry and go play catch.  I try to be involved in their world–not constantly bringing them in to mine.  When I am at work I try to fully focus on the task at hand and enjoy that place knowing that my gifts are being used there.  There is and CAN be balance.  I pray regularly for clarity on where I need to invest my minutes of my day.  Because they are so very precious–each and every one!
OK – this is a tough one.  Being a working Mom my whole life, I have experienced the guilt many times.  And now that I’m a Grandmother, the guilt of not being able to be there all the time for the grandchildren – the Xmas play, the Easter production – you get the picture.  And then you have the opposite guilt at work – not being able to stay late, avoiding taking jobs that require travel away from home.  Studies have shown that children of working mothers are just as well adjusted as children with stay at home moms.  Employers are more understanding and today are less likely to discriminate against promoting working mothers.  There are lots of resources out there – check out this link:  http://www.workingmother.com/best-companies/2010-working-mother-100-best-companies-0
Yes you can! Just Pray. Prayer is not just a religious act or ritual.  It is just a conversation. So pray.  He is listening.
 Anyone who is having troubles should pray.
Anyone who is happy should sing praises.
JAMES 5:13
I feel that chapters of a book could be written on this subject and truly we are not able to do it the justice that it deserves!   I hope for you to be able to find more health and balance in this area of your life and therefore will simply say, if you feel that you are constantly coming up short…it may be because other legs of your stool need to be nurtured.  
Is there a leg of your stool that you have been neglecting?
Do you have resentment toward a certain leg of your stool because it is consuming a large part of your time and you feel out of balance? 
Whether you are a mom working in or outside of the home, you can very likely relate to the struggle for health and balance.  You can see the clear implications of what can happen if you devote all of your time to one leg of your stool and neglect the other three.   My hope at the end of this week is that you would become more aware of the guilt that you have felt or are feeling and address the subject of balance.  I would never have guessed that a part of my journey with Janine would result in me becoming an ambassador for other women to find balance, health and wellness in their lives!  I feel BLESSED daily that I am given the opportunity to encourage women on their journey and point them in the direction of truth!   Please remember in the day in and day out of wiping mouths or bottoms, cleaning floors or laundry, you are GREAT mom!  
Obviously this blog does not speak to the women who struggle to find balance in other areas of their lives not just motherhood.  So tomorrow we address more lies that deal with the subject of balance “in general” and in the work place.  I will spend Wednesday’s blog tying both of these “balance” blogs together with some practical advice tackling this truly tough subject!    

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