The trouble with “balance”

I’m getting ready to give a teleseminar about time management for mom entrepreneurs, and that’s been taking me away from my other writing (this blog). The seminar is going to tackle some of the biggest issues mom business owners face: having time to do it all, and not feeling guilty for being both a mom and an entrepreneur. Admittedly, this is a tall order. (Find out more about the seminar at: www.mombizcoach.com and click the Events tab.)

One of the reasons this is such a challenge is because there is so much emotion wrapped around big ideas like “motherhood” and “entrepreneur.” Everyone and their dog has something to say about how things are supposed to go. If you’re a mom, you should stay home with your children, breastfeed them until they’re old enough to say, “No more, thanks, Mom!”, provide educational direction, character-building opportunities, and hot, healthy, organic meals to boot until they leave you almost 20 years later for someone/thing they love more than you. Well, those are just some of the things some people expect of mothers.

Entrepreneurs don’t get a much better go at it. They’re expected to be up to amazing tests of character and knowledge, to have the vision of SuperMan, the stamina of an Energizer Bunny, the discipline of a Marine Corps drill seargent, and all of their waking (and sleeping?) hours to devote to the growth of their business.

A lot of people (myself included) promote the idea of a healthy balance of these two completely different worlds. Balance is about three major points:

  1. The goal is to simply accept yourself.
  2.  Once you’re good with that, then set some priorities that are important to you.
  3. When you’re clear on what’s most important to you, then be intentional about how you spend your time on those priorities and let the other stuff go.

This philosophy is what makes it okay for me to feel very successful and satisfied with my life as a mom and an entrepreneur. I might not be successful in someone else’s terms (So what if I haven’t brushed my two-year-old daughter’s hair since she was born? And that pile of clutter easily found in every room of my house? Well, the pile and I have a mutual understanding now. We’ve learned to co-exist. And I know people who work 16 hour days in very stressful jobs who might not think I spend enough time stressing about my business. Hmmm. Ok.), but I am successful according to my own terms.

Balance comes for me when I focus on my priorities, then spend time doing the things that support those priorities, which are the things that are most important to me. It’s also about letting go of the things I’m not good at, or that I hate, or even the things that others want for me, but aren’t the things I want.

To have a balanced life, I have completely let go of the “coulda, woulda, shoulda” paradigm. I am focused on the most important things in my life: my family, my health and happiness, and my business. From my perspective, I’m doing great with the biggies. And I’m really getting good at ignoring the dust bunnies and the laundry mountain just outside my office door. Balance is all about making peace with all the extra things you could be doing, but that don’t matter as much as the biggies. So I think I’m just going to string some Christmas lights on that damn pile of clothes. Make it pretty. Or I could drag it out in the front yard, let some snow fall on it, and my kids would have a blast sledding down it. Now, there’s a SuperMom!

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