The term “work-life balance” is often thrown around when people are discussing their life. But what does this even mean?
Does it mean that you should be able to spend your days at home with the kids while still making a living wage?
Or does it simply refer to having two different lives, one for work and one for family? Why working toward achieving a so-called “balance” between your life as a working mom and your life as a spouse or parent is not only impractical but also ineffective.
We are sold on the idea that work-life balance is achievable, it’s a badge of honour, it’s what we should all be striving for but the reality is that many people feel constantly burned out, exhausted and in a state of ‘just hanging in there’.
And part of the problem is the word BALANCE.
Balance means that you are equal on both sides, but the truth is that work and life don’t often co-exist well. The two are in opposition to one another; they’re adversaries who need a constant negotiation between them
What we should be striving for instead of trying to achieve balance is WORK-LIFE FLOW. Flow means you enjoy what you do
When you imagine yourself balancing something, it takes concentration, it takes energy, it feels hard but flow, flow feels easy, gentle, something that you can just fold yourself into.
Doesn’t that feel better already?
How to get out of the work-life balance mindset?
One way is to focus on what you want out of your life and work, instead of just focusing on the idea that it’s a balance.
Another option is to ask yourself “what do I need right now?” with regards to both life and work-life
The people who are most happy in their work-life have their needs met in each area of their life. In the Wonder Mom Success Club, we have four areas of focus to make sure we are checking the boxes for all your needs:
Amazing Me – for mom, of course, digging in deep to what mom needs
Rock Star Mom – for your connection to your family and being the best mom you can be
Happy Home – polls show that the home is one of the biggest causes of stress for moms, so of course we tackle that.
Goal Getter – for personal projects and/or business
We don’t think that balance is possible, so we focus on working toward a more realistic goal of work-life flow. Working in your personal and professional life will be an easier task when you are not striving for something unattainable.
Tips to achieve work-life flow as opposed to “work-life balance”
Every day, take a moment to step back and consider what is important to you that day, and what you want to accomplish.
Maintain realistic time frames and expectations of yourself, your co-workers, and those around you. Work on one task at a time for the duration of that task before moving onto another. Treat multitasking like an addiction: it feels good at the moment but is ultimately counterproductive.
Use the four sections outlined above and choose something from each section to focus on over the course of the day. It can be something small or it might be a big deadline. As life ebbs and flows, each day’s choices will be different.
One: Start the Day with an Intention. What do you want to accomplish today? Write it down and make your morning routine match that intention.
Two: Make a Daily Hit-List. In Wonder Moms we use the Hit List system to power lift the to-do list, making it manageable and achievable. Because let’s face it, how often do you manage to check everything off a to-do list!
Three: Schedule It. Find out how much time you have for yourself at work each day, then Schedule. Being super honest with your time here will make the difference!
Imagine your life is a beautiful sparkling lake, one shore is for work, the opposite shore is for home. As the tide ebbs and flows you will get pulled gently to one side then the other.
As you make your way through the day, the tide takes you from home to work to home again. And some days you will nail it, it feels like you sat on a unicorn inflatable, cocktail in hand as you drift from one side to the other.
When you have those days, pat your unicorn on the head and take a moment to take stock of WHY it flowed so well.
Other days it feels like a storm has rolled in, you’re hanging on for dear life and NO! you forgot to put on your life jacket.
If you were caught in a real storm like that, what would you do?
Shout for help!
So do that when you are having a rough day.
There is no shame in asking for help. Whether it’s asking the family to step up and do more at home or whether it’s asking to push a deadline back at work.
Don’t be afraid to say no either, if someone is trying to dump more water in your boat and you are already bailing it out as quickly as you can, you are allowed to say no.
Words matter and balance is a hard word, embrace something that feels gentler and easier to maintain, embrace flow. Take each day as it comes and focus on what you want to achieve, just stumbling from one day to the next without clear focus isn’t going to get you the results you want, and finally, enjoy the ride but if it does get a bit too choppy out there, ask for help.
To find out more about The Wonder Mom Success Club check it out HERE.