The Delicate Balance – making time for self

by Heligirl on August 9, 2011

in Beyond Mommyhood,Confessions

It’s no secret many of us parents struggle to find that ideal balance between home, work, family and self. More often than not, us moms are very guilty of neglecting that last aspect – self.

I recently learned how that bad habit can really do a number on me.

Shortly after the beginning of the year I found that I was focusing on work and family only. My business was growing and new and exciting projects were coming my way. I found my stride working part time on projects and spending the remainder of time participating in the kids’ preschool, hosting and attending play dates, and just enjoying time with the kids.

But something was missing. I was feeling depleted despite all the hand-picked work that inspired me. I’d started this business so I could be with the kids part time as opposed to having them in daycare full time, but they were wearing me out and my temper was rising more often than not.

It took some time, but it finally hit me. I was missing me.

It had been months since I’d taken myself to see a movie. I would see previews, think, “Oh, I have to see that.” Then before I know it the DVD is out.

I’d get e-mails from friends wanting to get together for drinks or dinner, but I’d feel guilty about leaving Hubby alone with the kids more than once every two weeks or so. He was usually willing, but I had this sense of duty that was all my own doing. I missed my friends.

I used to love going for a bike ride along the water, pumping my feet to the beat of the music and enjoying the rush of exercise. My poor bike is now so out of tune and again I feel guilty leaving Hubby with the kids.

It was after a particularly rough day when I found myself wishing the kids were old enough for grade school so I could just veg out in front of the TV, or meet a girlfriend for coffee, or sit on the couch and read a book all day that I realized I’d need to make a few adjustments to rebalance.

My church was offering a 10-week class called Beyond Limits that sounded fascinating. As my business grew, I was yearning to learn a few skills to go beyond my own limits to enjoy a more satisfying life. That included taking time for self.

I took one evening a week in class for myself and what I learned helped me realize that taking that time for self, be it spiritual renewal, doing things I love to do, or giving myself permission to do absolutely nothing productive whatsoever is exactly what I needed to achieve that formerly elusive balance.

Now I make time for me.

A few weeks back I put aside work and for a few hours took myself to the movies on one of the mornings the kids had daycare. It felt so good to escape and simply be entertained.

I put my guilt aside and set up a gathering of fellow lady pilots and we had a great evening of laughter, drinks and heartwarming friendship. I returned feeling lighter and relaxed.

And this past week I headed to L.A. for business. I purposefully scheduled a half a day to drop off the grid. I checked e-mail in the morning then got in the car and disappeared into the hills.

I wanted to spend a little time in Vasquez Rocks, hiking, relaxing, and just enjoying the quiet. My phone had no service. It was blissful uninterrupted time to commune with the rocks, think, focus and just enjoy the warm Southern California sun.

One thing I’ve found is when I do take this time to take care of me I have infinitely more patience with life’s little upsets, more energy to play with the kids, and I’m more creative and inspired in my work.

It’s a delicate balance, finding time to make work, family, home and self co-exist, but it is utterly essential we not forget to make self a part of the mix. I’m convinced changing our thinking to accept self time as a benefit to home, work and family will go a long way toward increasing our own inner peace and happiness.


Twitter: rachael1013
August 9, 2011 at 9:50 pm

That balance is so difficult. Lately, I’ve felt like I have lost myself. I haven’t been writing or reading books or spending much of any time to myself. When my son goes to kindergarten next month, my Mom will be watching the little one once a week, so I’ll get time for myself again. I can’t wait.
Rachael recently posted: Marijuana should be legal… but not for babies.

Twitter: Heligirl
August 10, 2011 at 8:29 am

I’m so glad to hear you’ll be able to make some time for yourself starting next month. That’s so important. I found my mood, patience and tolerance were much higher when I had some me time or did things I wanted to do. You’re going to love it!

Mama Spaghetti August 9, 2011 at 11:28 pm

Good for you! I think that it’s impossible to always keep the balance, but as long as you’re good at noticing when it’s off and doing what you can to correct the situation, then I think you’re doing better than most people.
Mama Spaghetti recently posted: Sometimes my life is like Jeopardy

Twitter: Heligirl
August 10, 2011 at 8:31 am

Thanks Mama. It’s a constant battle as things change. Travel is starting to play into the business now and while that takes me away from home, I’ll be sure to put me time in during the away time so I come home recharged. Thanks for the vote of confidence. 🙂

Tania Elfersy
Twitter: PurpleLeavesRed
August 10, 2011 at 9:06 am

Thanks for this post. Balance and finding “me” time is certainly one of my major challenges, especially as a newbie mompreneur. I think the challenge comes from the fact that I am a “first-generation” mompreneur (as I am sure many moms setting up their businesses from home are). Combining flexibility and boundaries (just because I can work at midnight, doesn’t mean that I have to) is something that doesn’t come naturally to me when I am feeling so ambitious; it is something I need to actively learn. Thanks for reminding us that finding more time for oneself also promotes creativity and inspiration — it’s a win-win!
Tania Elfersy recently posted: The Bottle in World Breastfeeding Week

Twitter: Heligirl
August 10, 2011 at 11:30 am

You’re welcome. I think we as moms who are also being entrepreneurs put even more pressure on ourselves to keep work, family and home going that we’re even more prone to forget self. It really was an eye-opening discovery to find when I did let go of guilt and made time for me I was even better at balancing and even more creative. You’re right, it really is a win-win.

Susan August 10, 2011 at 9:24 am

Good for you! I think that, for me, as a SAHM, I need to schedule things just for me. Things to get me out of the house, guilt free. I’ve had workshops, classes, dates with girlfriends, and now I participate in a Reiki share once a month (a bunch of us practitioners give a short session of Reiki- healing energy- to people who come in off the street, for free). Being able to give, and to help another person heal, is great mojo for me.

Something about not earning money any more had me thinking that what I contributed was “less than” in some way. In fact, I now realize that my contribution to this home and family is priceless. And yes, remembering to take care of myself is still a bit of a challenge. Need to do better at taking care of this body of mine.

Putting on your oxygen mask before helping those around you is so important. Congratulations to you for scheduling in time for yourself. You’re seeing the benefits and aren’t they worth it!
Susan recently posted: Past Life Regression- Continued

Twitter: Heligirl
August 10, 2011 at 11:32 am

I love that analogy Susan, putting on the oxygen mask before helping those around you. Excellent! No one, especially not society, is going to give us permission to focus on ourselves when we need to. There is that terrible “selfish
“stigma” tied to it. It really, truly is something we have to decide to do ourselves, and understanding it helps those around us really does help us let go of that guilt of being selfish.

hannamay August 21, 2011 at 11:45 pm

In this kind of balance home, work and family, I think this is so difficult to do..Maybe when someone together with that could help, and make time to your self..
hannamay recently posted: Trying To Get Pregnant Tips

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