I’m excited to feature several guest contributors today as part of our quarterly ‘Motherhood Blog Series’. In my classes, we talk a lot about ‘role overload’ as women as well as developing a support system. I think this post can help with both. Role overload refers to the many roles we play as women and the difficulty in managing and attending to them all. I know I feel pressured at times to be a superwoman! Also, if we don’t develop a circle of support, we can sometimes feel alone in all those responsibilities. Although all our situations are different, by sharing our experiences and supporting each other we find common ground and our days are a little easier! For today’s post I asked my contributors two questions,
“How do you balance all of your roles as a woman? How do you find gratitude everyday?”
As a perfectionist and perpetual over-doer (read: taking on too much) balance is not something I find easily in my life and by writing this I’m not claiming to have figured it out; because finding balance is a continual struggle for me; day-by-day, minute- by-minute. A women’s role as wife, mother, friend, daughter, businesswomen or boss (in my case, all of the above) knows no bounds and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and consumed by the details and responsibilities. For me, one of the most important parts of “finding balance” is first, figuring out what balance means for you. For me, it meant not trying to give 110% to everything, all of the time (to the point of being spread too thin.). A balanced life for me is being able to look in the mirror and recognize myself as someone I’m proud of- not someone who always gets it “right” or is “perfect”, but someone who makes an effort to follow my heart, do what I love, make the things that bring me the greatest joy a priority and LET GO of other things. Let go worrying about what others think of me, let go of the idea of “perfection” and the worry that I’m doing it “right” – whatever “right” is (dinner every night, a clean house, crafting with the kids, looking “blog” worthy all of the time…). Most of the time, its letting go of the unreachable expectations I have for myself, the feeling of never being good-enough, doing-enough, achieving-enough.
I’ve had to understand and accept that I’m not a superhero (except to my kids) and life is not a pie chart- I cannot fulfill ALL needs, ALL the time (including my own.). Balance for me, means making the hard tasks, the mundane chores, and the day-to-day responsibilities an adventure for my kids and me. We may just be at the grocery store or washing the car but to us we are searching for treasure, running from monsters, hunting dinosaurs, or flying to outer space… and as much as I make my children a priority I also make it a priority to find time to take care of myself; whether its an 8 minute workout from home or an hour at the salon getting a “blow out” — if I nurture myself, I’m in a much better place to nurture and care for others. Ultimately, I’ve learned to not take myself too seriously and to forgive myself for my many weaknesses. 2 sayings I keep in my head on any given day are: “be kinder than you feel” (to ourselves included) and “pray to get thru the day” because heaven knows I need grace to make up for my shortcomings.
Finding gratitude is really “practicing” gratitude for me. It’s an activity I intentionally do on a daily basis to help myself see and feel differently. Recognizing the good in our life is sometimes difficult to do; we all have bad days and trials to face. It’s easy to be grateful for the “big” things but if we only see those we miss so many small “gifts” in our life. I make it a priority to find joy in the small things- a smile from my baby, a “you’re my best friend” from my toddler, a compliment from a friend, a positive note from my daughters teacher, my kids sleeping in, or my husband bringing home dinner—our lives are made up of small moments; moments that make our lives easier, richer and bring us joy. If we open our eyes to those tender mercies we will see more clearly how truly blessed we are and how joyful even the hardest day can be. And when we feel joyful, we bring joy to others and that leads to the most contented, happy life.
~Layla Overman, Co-Owner of Poppy and Dot
Layla is a mom of 2 and a co-owner of the popular online boutique Poppy and Dot. This last year, Poppy and Dot launched an original design line of dresses, the “Ooh La Lovely” line that sold out in its first run! Layla shares daily snippets on her personal instagram (@laylao) and you can conveniently shop Poppy and Dot on their website or just by commenting SOLD! in the comments of the Poppy and Dot instagram (it’s that easy!)
It’s of upmost importance to me that my children know how much I love them and that I get those precious minutes alone with my Husband. I’m selfish with my time I get to spend with them & when I am home I AM PRESENT. Maybe this comes with the territory of tragedy and losing a child or maybe my own insight of being a child. A lot of bad choices I’ve made in my life were the result of not feeling loved. My household duties fall last on my list (maybe my hair a little further than that).
Gratitude comes from being grateful for what you have. Whenever my husband walks around the house in his dirty work boots I cuss him out silently in my head a little bit. But then I think of all the things he’s done right for us lately. I become appreciative of how hard he worked for those boots to become so dirty. If I find myself with a head full of negative thoughts I think of all the things I’m so lucky to have. Happiness is a choice. I have trained myself to not take anything personally, be kind no matter what, take the high road, and to never take life for granted.
~Kelly Pack, Packx7
Kelly is a mom of 5 as well as a master esthetician. She has a a 7-year-old son, 5-year-old son in heaven as well as triplet toddler girls. Her family suffered a terrible car accident in 2013 in which she lost her son. Kelly and her husband also sustained severe injuries that required months of rehabilitation. Kelly is the epitome of overcoming obstacles, forgiveness, and gratitude. She shares life happenings on her blog and instagram. She works at Nordstrom City Creek and you can book an appt with her here.
~Beth Young, Happy Baby Wrap
Beth is the owner of the wildly popular baby carrier company Happy Baby Wrap. She describes herself as a designer, a foodie, a runner, a mother to 3 sweet babes and a #girlboss. You can shop her carriers on their website and see what they’re creating daily on instagram.
I LOVED all these submissions and I gained more strength as a Mom by reading them. I hope you loved them too. Come say hi on instagram today and let me know how you find balance and gratitude everyday. I started Lactation Link to be a source of support for women – that is available through our in-person classes, online video classes, in-person consults and e-consults. Our instagram has become a support forum where you can get research-based tips as well as support from other Mamas!
Thanks for coming by today,
Lindsey Shipley, RN, IBCLC