(This was first published on my previous blog, My Dripping Pen, before being transferred here.)
Do you feel like you are constantly running behind schedule? Never getting to fill the page, or screen, with check marks signaling completed tasks? I know that most days I feel as if I am nearly drowning beneath an ocean of lists, to-dos, deadlines, schedules, and family obligations. This feeling of struggling to breath beneath the inundation of life is no way to thrive as a person, and certainly not as a mother with the responsibility of setting an example for her children and always finding time for them. French women would never suffer such a chaotic and out of balance life. And neither should we.
So how do we thrive as mothers? Let’s first identify our biggest problem as mothers so that we can find the solution.
The Biggest Problem We Face as Moms
It is not the never ending todo lists. Nor the mountains of laundry to be washed each week, the constant tidying up of toys, or the never ending need for help your kids have for engaging their curiosity. No, all the things begging to get done in our personal, family, and professional lives are not the problem. (Though they contribute to it.)
The problem? Balance. As professional women and mothers, we are tightrope walking across Niagara Falls. (Have you heard of Blondin, the incredible tightrope walker who carried a stove on his back and stopped half way between the US and Canada to cook himself an omelet, among other things? If not, read a bit of his story here – it’s amazing!) A tightrope walker must have incredible balance. To make it across the tightrope of our daily lives, we too must find balance. Balance between educating our children, engaging their minds and their creativity, loving our husbands, caring for our homes, and succeeding in our professional and personal lives. French women face this same problem of having to constantly rediscover balance in their lives – they don’t have maids and cooks and assistants, either – but they are usually more successful than the rest of the Western norm.
So, what is the solution to the seemingly never ending search for balance in our lives? Creativity. That’s right. Creativity is not just for the artist, the writer, or the musician. Creativity is even more vital for mothers than for sculptors or painters. After all, our children are our greatest “creation”.
How does this creativity thing work as a mother? By helping us find ingenues ways to get things done. And by helping us find ways to delegate or cut out as many tasks as possible. Don’t laugh or think this answer is too simplistic! (Not yet at least!) Just give me a chance to explain.
Yes, But Does it Really Work?
It does. And not just theoretically. It works in my own life. Would you like to know how I’ve used creativity to help me (at least some of the time) strike balance between my family life (which also requires striking balance between being a mom and a wife) and professional life? First, let me give you an idea of the lay of the land in our home.
Both my husband and I work from home, we have two dogs, and a 9-month old very passionate and strong willed baby girl. So life can get a little noisy during the day. And busy. Also, not only am I working freelance as a blogger right now, I keep up my personal blog here, write a blog with my brother, and am working on a new series of novels. Most of the time it feels like I am drowning amidst todos. To find even some semblance of balance in my life, I have had to get creative! Especially since my daughter knows when I get up in the morning, no matter how early, and wakes up too. So I use her nap time to work on my freelance blogging. And that lovely, happy, time right when she wakes up from her nap to finish up. My daughter and I do all the housework and cooking together, and if she just isn’t letting me work on my noveling, I take her to the lovely childcare at my gym so I can work in their cafe (when I’m not doing yoga). Plus, I have found that by pushing through some extra work on Mondays and Tuesdays, I can reserve Sunday for working on my own blogs and novels. And, in one moment of heightened creativity, I discovered that giving my daughter measuring cups to bang together can give me sometimes even 15 minutes of (somewhat) quiet work time before playing with her some more.
Your life is unique, and so will be the ways you find balance. Use some creativity to find ways to strike balance like a French women, and watch your life become even more enjoyable. I would absolutely love to know some of your tips and tricks that you discover! I am always looking for new ones to try in my own life!