The Secret to Finding Balance

g Breen
Image via Nicole Spangler Photography

No matter where we live, where we work, how we feed or sleep or parent our babies, the one thing all moms strive for is balance.

It's elusive and finicky and often feels (frustratingly, exhaustingly) just out of reach.

Finding balance — and holding onto it — is a blend of the right mindset and the right tools.

For me, the secret lies in my mindset — it's remembering to make my way through one moment at a time. When I look at the small steps that I need to take, they seem feasible. It's when I let my mind and heart try to ingest everything in one gulp that I get off kilter. When I keep this mindset at the forefront, I get things done, I'm present, and (my family would say) I'm also pleasant!

{ MORE: 4 Things That Totally Count When You’re a Mom }

Working with the right mindset is absolutely necessary before taking these small steps. Sophie Skover, Life Coach and Solutions Consultant with LSS Harmony, explains that the tools you need to find balance include thinking ahead and having the ability to say one little word.

“Review your schedule and see what you can realistically fit in,” Skover suggests. “Print out a weekly schedule with hour slots and then write in all your appointments (add in driving time, traffic time, and all the other little distractions that can pop up or creep in). Next, look at what you are already committed to on paper — it may make things a little more clear.

Finding balance — and holding onto it — is a blend of the right mindset and the right tools.

“Now, if you see a lot of empty space, these are your ‘yes' slots. If, however, your schedule is already packed with responsibilities, this would be a great opportunity to see this time as already scheduled and as a great place to say ‘no (thank you).' This does not have to be a permanent ‘no,' as things are always changing, but for now, it is an empowering ‘no.' Practicing healthy boundaries by saying ‘no' is a great way to continue living an empowered and balanced life.”

I love this practical solution embedded in the mindset of how it's OK, even positive, to say “no.” Your slots might be filled with working out, date nights, or your kids' dance classes, but they might also be filled with family time. All of these count and are legitimate reasons to say “no.”

I asked several moms to share their best motherhood balance secrets. As expected, they were thoughtful and wise with a braided blend of thinking and doing.

mom advice
Image via Elke Govertsen

Elke Govertsen is the publisher and editor of Mamalode Magazine.

Elke's best advice on motherhood and balance is this: “Take it easy, but take it in, which reminds me to not stress out so much that I actually wind up missing the important stuff. It allows me to just be. … “

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mom-advice-Jessica-Smock
Image via Jessica Smock

Jessica Smock is a former educator and educational researcher with a doctorate in development who blogs at School of Smock and The HerStories Project, a site dedicated to the study of female friendship.

Jessica's best advice on motherhood and balance is this: “One piece of advice that I would give is that you might need to think differently about your marriage. Before kids, my husband and I didn't argue much at all, and when we did, it was about minor things.

“Even though I had studied family sociology (I wrote my undergraduate thesis on first-time parenthood, interviewing couples before and after the birth of a first child), I still was taken aback by how much new parenthood can strain a marriage; you're overwhelmed, you're exhausted, and the daily work of parenthood is endless. The statistics are striking: it's the toughest time for a couple.

“For us, it's been a gradual process of thinking of ourselves as a team, or two people with the shared goal of raising a healthy, happy kid. For a marriage, parenthood means constant negotiation and rebalancing of tasks. For women, that means that they should think beyond ‘asking for help' from their husbands. They need to have the constant discussions to allow their spouses to be true partners, not helpmates. In my view, a true marital partnership is absolutely critical in striving for balance as a mother.”

mom advice
Image via Tina/Life Without Pink

Tina is a mom of two active boys and the author behind Life Without Pink, a personal lifestyle blog focused on parenting and raising boys to give other moms inspiration.

Tina's best advice about motherhood and balance is this: “It's never easy trying to balance it all, but one thing that works for me is setting a timer and giving myself small tasks to complete. Fifteen minutes: fold the clothes; 20 minutes: clean the kitchen; 10 minutes: straighten the living room.

“I feel more accomplished and focused when I do this.”

This is a hot topic for Tina as a work-at-home mom. Check out her other tips here.

mom-advice-marcelle
Image via Marcelle Soviero

Marcelle Soviero is a mother of five, editor-in-chief, and owner of Brain, Child: The Magazine for Thinking Mothers, writer, author, and teacher.

Marcelle's best advice about motherhood and balance is simple, direct, and to the point. She says, “When it's family time, it's family time; when it's writing time, it's writing time.”

{ MORE: Tips for Making School Lunches Your Kids Will Actually Eat }

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How do you strike a balance in your life? Share your thoughts and advice in the comments. We'd love to hear.

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The Secret to Finding Balance

Galit Breen is the author of Kindness Wins, a simple no-nonsense guide to teaching our kids how to be kind online. She has a master's degree in education and a bachelor's degree in human development and was a classroom and reading teacher for ten years. In 2009, she launched a career as a freelance writer entrenched in social media. Since then, her work has been featured in various online magazines including Brain, Child, The Huffington Post, TIME, and xoJane. Breen lives in Minnesota with her h ... More

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1 comment

  1. mommy nhoj says:

    Kudos to these responses! I couldn’t agree more. One thing I have learned is to really reach out and talk your feelings out rather than expressing it. It makes things better for both of us. Parenting can be overwhelming that’s why support system is very important – be it from your husband, immediate family member, friends and colleagues. Proper mindset indeed make a difference!

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