Balance: Everyone is seeking it and yet no one seems to quite grasp it! It’s a hot topic lately and one that small business owners and boss mamas crave more than chocolate or if you’re like me… coca-cola, Panera green tea and potato chips combined! I desperately needed it and wanted it. I thought that I could find it in many things: a planner, a set of systems, a checklist, a schedule. I even thought that I could find balance in enlisting the help of other people; and you know what, some of those things did work for a time.
That’s the thing with balance though. Balance, like the tide or the waves in the sea, has an ebb and a flow to it. It comes and it goes and washes away the things it needs to wash clean when it’s time to break free. That might be the most frustrating thing about balance: it doesn’t seem quite sustainable. It’s hard to hold on to and even harder to make permanent.
You see, without the movement of balance, I’m convinced we wouldn’t have such wonderful things as change and growth and transformation!
As beautiful and wise as that statement above sounds, it doesn’t change the fact that we still all crave some kind of semblance of balance in our lives, right?! I mean heck I sure do! I still need it and I still want it! Without some form of it how can I even pretend to be a good mother, a good wife and run a small business making sure that I take the best care of my clients?! I have to find some kind of compromise!
But this is the deal friends: I tried and I worked so hard to strike that perfect balance between those roles in my life for so long that I actually almost lost them all! I mean it… I worked so hard that I made myself so sick that I truly almost lost everything!
So here’s where it gets interesting and here’s my point friends:
I took a break and it was during that break that I was forced to give up some of those roles. I had to give some up completely while others took a back burner!
That’s when I learned that to truly find balance you have to just let it go!
There is no magic recipe or app or solution to “finding the right balance”. Everyone is completely different and there is no one size fits all solution. Balance exists in waking up each morning and deciding to make the day work for you!
YEP! That’s it. Make the day work for you because every day changes. Things will happen and there isn’t anything you can do to change that. That is exactly why the balance we are all seeking and striving to find has it’s ebb and flow. What we “create” for ourselves in structure and aid might work out for a while but as soon as the wind and tide shift and change happens (as it always will) those plans that we put in place might not work for us anymore! Once that happens, it back to the drawing board and that’s usually when we all begin to stress out and work ourselves back up again trying to find that perfect balance again.
During my time off, I focused solely on the one role that meant the most and that was being a mama, and goodness knows that as a mother you just have to relinquish a lot of control there! I woke up each morning and realized there were a few things that I needed to do:
- Gage the temperature of the day! I’m not talking about the weather outside (although I always check that as well!) I’m talking about the temperature and the mood of the day. Intuitively we all have a sense of what the day “feels” like! I know from the second we wake up how Linc is feeling and whether I need to put on some music and bring out the dance party to brighten our mood (and maybe some essential oils as well!) OR is it a relaxing morning of milk, coffee, and lego’s on the floor! I do this because for me, making sure we start our day off right is probably THE most important thing I can do!
The same goes for me as a small business owner! I need to check the temperature of the day! I’m usually most creative in the mornings in terms of writing and ideas. I keep a notebook by my bed and first thing in the morning I like to do a “creative flow” hopefully before Linc wakes me up. I set a timer for 2 to 3 minutes and I just write whatever comes into my head! Sometimes this is just a bunch of nonsense, but sometimes I just happen to come up with some amazing ideas for shoots, blog posts, or activities! Either way this lets me know whether today is going to be a creative day or whether it might just be an “office” day where I work on some tasks that need to be done. This also gives me a chance to get my brain ready! I’ve just started doing this recently because our schedules have changed and I have to say it’s been really nice! I also know when I’m not quite “feeling” it because I’m feeling a little down (hard on myself because maybe I spent too much time on instagram comparing myself.. yep guiltly) or maybe I just need a pep talk! These are the times when I either spent some time at the gym, go grab a Panera Green Tea or call a friend for some advice!
2. Make a plan! I have an amazing calendar! It’s a START planner and I have to thank my friend Elizabeth Friske for introducing me to them! She also turned me on to block scheduling! I know I said earlier that all the schedules and calendars and systems won’t ultimately make a difference, but if you use them and review them on a daily basis allowing room for change then I believe they can help you find what you are looking for. It’s not exactly balance as much as it is “a working see-saw”. I like the START planner because it not only breaks your day down by the hours; but it also includes gym time, any medications that need to be taken, water intake, what’s for dinner, a space below for any notes or ideas and an inspirational quote. These are all genius because I use every single part for my family! What I haven’t told you yet though is my favorite part: the space at the top in a square box lists your top three for the day very clearly~! This is my space that I use for just about everything: whatever my top three for that specific day is! Some days my top three might be all work related, other days it’s all mom related and some days it’s a mixture of both! I think that mixture is ultimately what sums up the life of a small business owning mama! Our calendars are filled to the brim with cross over tasks.
The important part for me was learning that I can’t expect to have the same plan each day and it to work out. Life is not cookie cutter and it never will be and that is why finding a balance and expecting it to stay the same will never last! “Balance” just like life needs to be flexible, it has to change with each day and so does our understanding of the balance we have created!
Each day I make a new plan created to the day that is unfolding with me. I check the temperature of the day and depending on how that day is shaping up, I make a plan accordingly. Sometimes the plans change and that is OK!
Sometimes the day doesn’t even come close to getting accomplished as I had hoped… and that’s OK!
Sometimes the day needs me to be more mom than it does photographer and you know what, that’s OK. That IS actually balance because my family and my son are important and they need me!
Other days, my family might not need me as much and those are the days that I can devote more time to my business and to my amazing families that allow me into their lives as their photographer. That’s where the other half of the see-saw kicks in and balance finds me there too!
Once I stopped worrying about finding balance and just started trying to do the best I could each day, for whichever needed me the most… that’s when I realized balance just found me! 😉
It can find you too mama!
We are all just trying to do the best we can and at the end of the day when you close your eyes at night if you can breathe a deep breath in and know that… you did a great job! If you can say you loved hard on your family, you loved hard on your little ones and you loved hard on your clients… oh mama you accomplished one amazing day filled with balance and grace!!!
And you know what… we are all in this together!!!