Balance. It’s a very common theme that comes up in nearly every class and group that we offer at Enlightened Mama. We discuss the balance between work vs. family vs. friends vs. hobbies, etc. We chat about the balance between buying stuff like organic avocados and fancy strollers vs. having some money left in your bank account. We discuss breastfeeding vs. formula feeding, purees vs. baby-led weaning. The list goes on and on.
While our entire staff at EM offers an incredible knowledge base, balance is not something we can teach. Ultimately, finding balance is a personal, highly individual thing. It requires an examination of priorities, communication with loved ones, and truly listening to what your body, mind, and soul is telling you. Achieving balance in your life is the epitome of trusting your instinct. It’s listening to the little voice inside that says, “Do you really NEED that new toy that is scientifically proven to raise your babies IQ by 2.7 points?” It’s that nagging feeling that you really should go out on that date with your partner, rather than stay home and fold the never-shrinking pile of laundry. It’s that mama-bear knowledge that your 8-month-old’s constipation after eating pureed sweet potato is a sign that he’s not quite ready to move on to “real” food (and that your “real” milk is doing a pretty darn good job of sustaining him,) despite what others might say. When you truly listen to these things, the balance comes more easily.
People ask me at least four times a week, “How do you do it? How do you manage the business, the four kids, the partner, the house, etc?” My short answer is, “I don’t know, but somehow I do!” The long answer is that it’s an ongoing work in progress. It’s a daily (and sometimes hourly) examination of what is truly necessary, what is going to make me feel sane, and what is going to ensure that those close to me know how much I care. It’s taking 10 minutes to clean one bathroom, rather than being irritated that I don’t have the 3 hours to clean the whole house. It’s reading one more story, but being firm with a toddler that it IS time to go to be, despite her beliefs to the contrary. It’s making sure that I take time stop checking emails long enough to sit with my husband on the couch every night (usually with wine and chocolate–fabulous balance-inducing substances for us, personally). It’s asking for help, delegating tasks, saying “no,” saying “yes,” saying “thank you,” and saying “I’m sorry.” And it’s definitely doing what I’m doing right now–flying on a plane to San Diego for a long weekend with my beloved parter, leaving behind my also-beloved children and Enlightened Mama, in the hands of extremely capable (and beloved) friends and family.