I don’t think I have met a woman... single, married, mother or not, that isn’t looking for some form of balance. Have you found it? Do you know anyone that has found it? Nope! Balance is not something that can be achieved. Balance is the constant and consistent act of shifting weight around to feel equilibrium. Therefore, with every element that changes in your life, there is a change to your balance and it may take a little while to gain your equilibrium again.
As a 'mompreneur' in the summer time, my balance has been severely affected! Managing home life and managing a business while my children are home from school, have certainly caused me to re-evaluate the balance of last season and adjust to feel balanced in my current season.
Balance is a topic that comes up continuously in coaching and consulting sessions. When clients are struggling to find their ‘balance,’ I remind them that it is important to map out their priorities and to be clear about what balance looks like for to them. So, what does balance look like to YOU?
We are flooded with images and articles on social media that present what ‘ideal’ family life looks like. Pinterest bento box lunches, daily crafts, mommy hacks, get slim in 21 day detox plans, and the list goes on! If you are working towards an ‘ideal’ that you are seeing on your newsfeed, make sure that it is an ideal that represents YOUR wants and YOUR family. Once you are clear on how you want your family dynamic to look and what balance is for you, it is a lot easier to take manageable and intentional strides towards maintaining equilibrium.
Here is my top 6 list of ‘things to consider’ when finding your way through your personal balancing act.
1. Be Intentional. Intentions determine outcomes. Be intentional about your personal and professional lives. Set daily intentions to guide success in the areas that are important to you. Be sure that your intentions are in line with who you authentically are. This is the only way to harness your personal authentic power.
2. Focus on Quality Time. Quality is more important than quantity. Find ways to bond with each of your children in a way that makes them feel special. This will help to maximize the impact of quality time. In an age where constant connection to our professional lives and social media can take over, extra effort sometimes needs to be put in being 'there' when you are 'there.'
3. Let Go of Perfection. Perfection can be destructive. Wanting to seem ‘perfect’ can be even more destructive, as we have no power over the way that others perceive us…no matter how much energy we spend on it. Therefore, be authentically you. Enjoy the journey and remember that your family and professional life thrive when you can be YOU.
4. Have a Refuelling Plan. Self-care is a big piece of the balancing act. Explore what self-care means to you. Look for easy and daily options that provide ways for you to refuel.
5. Take Care of your Health. Physical health is essential to well-being and to be able to give your personal and professional life your best. Begin by taking note of your sleeping, eating and exercise habits. Be ready to adjust these healthy habits without losing them when your family needs change. In addition to having a plan to stay physically healthy, have one for keeping your mind and soul healthy. Incorporate ways to fuel your spirit and intellect.
6. Build a Solid Support System. Know your tribe. Who are the people that help you be at your best? Who are the people that support and lift you up? Cherish the family and friends in your support system and remember that empowered women empower women.
Tag, you’re it! It’s summer time! Children look forward to their summer breaks with great anticipation. They look forward to their days of sleeping in and the time they will have to play with all their toys, or do all the activities that they don’t usually have time to do.
Despite homes being filled with toys, technology and books, some summer days just seem to be quite long. Whether your kids are home with you, with a babysitter, or involved in summer activities, summer days can be even more stressful. Parents can feel like a broken record when telling their kids what they should and shouldn’t be doing. This is why it is so important to set aside a little time to be intentional about creating a summer routine that is right for your family.
Children thrive with routine. They are used to having a routine to follow and although they often welcome not having one during the summer, routines do not have to be rigid and are a great tool to battle common issues like too much screen time or boredom.
When creating a summer routine, the first thing you will want to do is take a look at any scheduled activities that your children have. Are they taking part in any camps? Are they involved in any sports? Then take a look at what your community has to offer. Are there any discount days at museums? Are there any specific story time activities at the library that you would like to attend? Once you have this list you are ready to go.
In addition to a list of things happening in your community, you can choose weekly or daily themes for your family. This approach can serve as a framework and inspire you to come up with fun and exciting activities that will engage your children. Take a look at this sample schedule:
Make Something Monday – Plan a craft or get out the Legos and build something.
Take a Trip Tuesday – A trip to the museum, the library, or on a special excursion.
Water Play Wednesday – Enjoy a water table in the backyard, the beach or community splash pads.
Thinking Thursday – Challenge your kids with brain teasers, riddles and board games.
Family Fun Friday – Plan a popcorn and movie night or maybe a trip out for frozen yogurt.
Science Saturday – Try out a new slime recipe or something else that is guaranteed to gain the interest of your little people.
Here is an idea of a more specific schedule. A schedule similar to this can be written out on a white board or posted somewhere that your children can see it. It then becomes everyone in the household working on ‘the list.’ This can be a great tool to help limit screen time and to ensure that a little bit of learning is added in your day to avoid summer learning loss for your children.
For parents working outside the home, daily themes and schedules may take a little more creativity to fit in and in some cases may not seem as manageable. Allow these to inspire you to come up with activities and routines that work for your family. Each family is unique. What isn’t unique is the success families have when they are intentional about positive parenting. Take the time to plan a Summer Success Schedule that works for you!
If you would like some support setting your summer up for success, drop me a line! firstname.lastname@example.org .
Shifting Perspectives is a weekly conversation with Yolande. Yolande, a Canadian of Caribbean descent, now calls the Turks and Caicos Islands home and in this podcast challenges Caribbean woman worldwide to fuel themselves with diversity in the way they think, the way they work, the way they parent and the way they live.