Have you been struggling with work-life balance, but you are not sure what exactly it looks like?
Katie is back to help us solve this problem in episode 30 of the Real Happy Mom Podcast.
There are three things that you need to establish to find what balance looks like for you. Check out this episode to learn what those three things are.
Katie is the mom of a 3-year-old and expecting another little one shortly.
She works with moms to coach them into a happier, more ease-filled life.
Katie takes an approach that focuses significantly on mindset, supporting her clients through things like time management, clarity, stress management, mom guilt, and so much more.
In a nutshell, she takes them from a life of chaos to one of calm and control.
Katie was a guest on episode 17 and walked us through how to find yourself when you have lost yourself in motherhood.
Today she is going to help us with finding our work-life balance.
Work-life balance … Does it exist?
Having work-life balance in the sense of splitting time 50/50 is not realistic or what many of us want.
It is possible to have balance, but we must first change our perspective on what work-balance looks like.
“It’s really more of a pendulum and it will swing. And I think that that’s totally okay and being open to that idea. It’s really important in this process. So knowing that if you know, in this stage of your life or this week or day or whatever, you’re spending more time with work, then you know, next week or tomorrow even, or even later that afternoon, you can spend more time with your family.”
Trying to have a real balance that is half and half is not ideal or achievable.
If you look at work-life balance as something that changes depending on the day, week, or season, you will find that it is easier to achieve balance.
So knowing where you are in your stage of life will help you have a better understanding of how much time you spend on work and home. This allows you can have your balance that is unique to you.
For instance, if you know that you have to spend more time at work for the next few days for an upcoming deadline, plan after the project is completed to spend more time with your family.
Remember, this balance swings like a pendulum. And swings back and forth whenever you need to.
Katie mentions that we need to take a step back and see why we want to balance. If you are doing it because that what the people you love or society says you should do, then you need to ask yourself some questions.
“What does that look like for me.” “Why am I looking for balance?”
Oftentimes we’re looking for happiness. We’re looking for calm we want to be more in control of our lives. We want to stop feeling like we’re being pulled in a zillion directions and be able to just be present in the moment in whatever we’re doing.
The three cores to work-life balance
Many times moms say yes to things that they don’t want.
We feel busy and like there is not enough time in the day. Then we do things that society says that we should. And then find it difficult, or almost impossible to find balance and indeed be happy.
After talking to Katie, she brought up three things that we need to have to achieve the work-life balance that is unique to our lives and needs so that we can live a happy and fulfilled life.
“We’re always trying to follow someone else’s expectations. Whether that is how we were raised. This comes from our family’s expectations of how we’re supposed to do things. Whether that comes from society telling us how things should be. We often do things because we feel this should. And it’s about getting clarity really on why we’re doing things.”
By having this clarity that Katie talks about, you can transform your life.
Of course, this takes time. But if you allow yourself time to reflect regularly, you will get there.
Ask yourself, “why am I doing this?”
When you are stressed and overwhelmed, pause, and reflect. Then ask yourself, “what is going on to cause me to feel this way?”
Asking yourself these questions will help you gain more clarity and allow you to do the things that are truly important to you.
“So it’s about changing your perspective on it and getting really clear on what you actually want to be doing with your time.”
I am sure you have heard it before. We all have 24 hours in a day.
How you choose to spend those 24 hours depends on you.
Unfortunately, we can get more time. And no one person has more time than you have.
One thing to take note of in your life is habits. The things that you do habitually during the day and the week that eat up most of your time.
“But also I would say we live our lives in a very habitual way. We go through the routine. We just go through day to day and do the same thing over and over and over again. Because we don’t take the time to step back and say, why are we doing this? Is this what we want to be doing? Would you do it? Because that’s just what we do. It’s habit, it’s a routine.”
Take a look at the things that have become a habit in your life and examine why you are doing what you are doing.
Becoming more intentional about what you do in your life will help you with finding more time.
When you’re doing more of the things that you want to do versus the mundane stuff on everyone’s never-ending to-do list, you will find more balance.
Next, you want to stop focusing on the lack or what you don’t have.
Many times moms will say, “I don’t have time for that.” Or “the day is done, and I didn’t get all of these things done.”
Instead of focusing on the lack or what you didn’t get done, focusing on what you did get done.
Switching your mindset and focusing on what you did accomplish will help you feel more balanced.
“So be intentional about that and make your choice to do what you want to get done. It’s really up to you. It’s all in your hands. And letting go of this feeling of feeling like you need to do it. Oh, like we don’t need to do it all. We don’t maybe even believe in doing it all. But we’re just doing it because we’re supposed to do it and we should do it. When we can learn to let go of that a little bit, it’s very freeing. You get a lot of freedom back.”
A critical piece of the balance puzzle is priorities. When your preferences don’t line up with our values, it leads to struggles and unfulfillment.
Many times mom’s priorities are a result of other’s expectations. One of the biggest reasons this has happened is because moms have lost themselves in motherhood.
Naturally, when we don’t know how we are.
Katie and I talked about this in episode 17. Make sure to listen to this episode because it can change your life if you are stuck in a rut.
Maybe we don’t have confidence. Because having confidence is outside of the norm.
Society has told us that we should live a certain way and do certain things. But you have to have confidence and courage to step outside of the box.
So you have to be very courageous to step outside of that and say, actually, that’s not important to me, but these are the things that are, and this is how I choose to live my life.
Know that you are more than likely going to get resistance from those around you.
Be prepared and know that not everyone is going to agree with you. And even support you.
Know what your values are.
Not sure about your values or need help identifying your values?
Do this exercise that Katie gave.
So take even 10 minutes. Grab a piece of paper and a pen. Go find yourself somewhere quiet and just have some quiet time to reflect on one of the times in life that made you really, really happy. If that means I wish we could do this all the time or we need to do this again. You know, you brought so much joy into your life during these moments. What are they and what were you doing? What was happening? Who were you with? Who were you with?
From there, you will be able to pull out what your values are. Write all of the values down.
Then categorize your values. Once you have done that, pick 3-5 values.
Your values could be an adventure, family time, organization, or, like Katie, connection.
Once you understand your values, you will be able to establish your priorities, better manage your time, and establish boundaries.
Now some moms are most energized when they are working. And others that would rather spend all of their time at home with their children. Then there are those in between.
Wherever you fall is fine. Understand what makes you happy and energizes you. But know that as a mom, you will have to spend a certain amount of time with your kids.
Just because you don’t spend the majority of the day with your kids doesn’t mean that you are not a great mom. Set your priorities and do what works for you.
“So then you can set up those boundaries. You can put things in place so that you’re not feeling so drained all the time.”
Having boundaries sets you up to live more intentional and more freeing. Need some help establishing limitations?
Take some time to reflect and identify the following:
- What areas of your life are causing you the most stress?
- When do you feel the most overwhelmed?
- What areas of your life cause you the most overwhelming?
- When do you feel a lack of balance in your life?
Katie uses the example of having your kids in extracurricular activities five days a week.
This is causing you to be overwhelmed, stress, and overworked.
You are running from work to activities and rushing through dinner and nighttime routines to get the kids to bed at a decent hour.
“And I very much believe in this process, figuring out for yourself is important first step. But then having a very open line of communication with the others around you that impacts or your spouse, your kids maybe your coworkers, or your boss.”
In the previous example, that means getting real with yourself and admitting that you hate running around every night. And you are running yourself thin.
Then sitting down with your kids and letting them know that instead of doing activities five nights a week, it will only be two times a week.
You may find that the kids feel the same way you do and just want a break as well. Or they may be disappointed.
Either way, you set up the boundary that you will only do extra activities two days a week and stick to it.
You may find that you need self-care every day.
To make sure that it happens, put it in your calendar.
Just like you schedule meetings and appointments with others. Have a scheduled time for yourself that is non-negotiable.
When you do this, it will become a priority.
Once you set your boundaries, be brave. It is hard. And it takes courage.
You are going against the norm, and you are going to be in a vulnerable place as first.
“None of this is complicated, but that doesn’t mean that it’s easy.”
You may be emotionally attached, or you may come against resistance from those you love. That is why it is important not to make this journey of life alone.
Reach out to a close friend or get a coach to help you stay accountable and push you when you want to back down.
Once you identify and establish boundaries, you will be a happier mom with less stress.
Two important actionable step that we can take to finding more balance in our busy lives
To achieve balance in your life may feel so challenging, but it can be done.
What can you do now to take action in finding more balance in your life?
“I think it’s really about developing that self awareness and getting to know yourself better. Like that’s really the foundation of all of this. If you are so disconnected from yourself and this is going to be a struggle for you. So reconnecting with yourself and what’s important to you”
If you haven’t already, go back and listen to episode 17 on how to reconnect with who you are.
Here is an actionable bonus step from Katie:
“Giving yourself permission to take these regular steps back to simply check in and see if what you’re doing, if you’re being intentional, if it’s moving you towards your goal, if you’re currently happy or if this is not what you want to be doing.”
Take time to check in with yourself daily to see if your goals are still the same. Check to see if your priorities are still the same.
Just taking a few seconds from your busy schedule to just pause and reflect will help you make sure that you are following your compass and heading in the right direction.
“It doesn’t have to be long and just check in, are things going the way I want? Am I being intentional in my actions and my day? What is my end goal? Is this moving me towards it? Has my angle shifted or is it still the same? Cool. Moving on.”
Remember, you have to slow down to go fast. So take the time to pause.
Katie’s new group coaching program
Start June 2019, Katies is starting a new group coaching program called Finding Your Work-Life Balance.
If you want more of what Katie shared in this podcast episode, you have to sign up for the group coaching program.
“We will be working through this. A lot of what we talked about today, this process of finding work-life balance and what that means to you. And giving you clarity, so that it’s easier when you know where you’re going. It’s a lot easier to figure out, you know, what’s working, what’s not working. There’s going to include two one-on-one calls with me.”
Katie will not be doing any more one-on-one calls in the future, so you want to jump on this opportunity now.
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