At a women’s networking event I attended this week, the question we were asked to share about was “How do you create balance in your life?” It was interesting to hear how many professional women in that room had 4, 5, 6, and 7 kids and still managed to come up with an answer! I’ve got 2 and I’ve found creating a balanced lifestyle to be quite a challenge.
As a woman who prefers movement vs stagnation, who is committed to continual growth and fulfillment, and who craves intellectual stimulation and creativity (aka…PLAY of the growth-up sort), there is one thing I know for sure. At least a few times a year, in order to balance out the barrage of mundane tasks (laundry, dishes, errands, bills) that hits you like a Mack truck once you have kids, I need to get away from it all.
And I don’t mean just a vacation or a fun girls getaway (although those are great too). I mean intentional time where I get to focus on my continued personal, emotional, relational, and professional journey. Where I get to remember what my “soul goals” are and ponder how I’m going to live them out. I need the opportunity for authentic face-to-face connection and community with like-minded, like-spirited others who desire the same thing. Off the screens and into the physical dimension so that we can share actual space and time to witness and support each other in the importance and value of investing in these experiences.
So…with a husband, a house, two kids, a dog, and a business to attend to…HOW do I do this?
- I put an internal stake in the ground. My internal dialogue goes something like this: “sometime this fall, I WILL do a retreat. Why? Because I spend so much time and energy focused on the needs, growth, and development of others in my life, that if I don’t attend to my own needs I’m going to implode.”
- I pull out the calendar and find the “sweet spot” of time. A time frame that feels far enough away where I can make a plan for the kids, plan the cost into the budget, and set the intention that THIS WILL HAPPEN.
- I put an external stake in the ground. I let my husband know of my plan, pull out the calendar, and ask him if he has anything going on. I am ready to respond with my WHY as well as clarity about the details. Clarity is power, so get clear internally first before you take your plan to the external environment.
- Once the time comes, I let my kids know just slightly in advance that I’ll be away for a night or two-or 5-depending on how deep of a personal growth dive I’ve signed up for. I explain what the plan will be for them while I’m gone and offer them the opportunity to ask me questions to set their minds at ease.
- Attend the event—enjoy myself to the fullest. If and when “mommy guilt” rears its head, I cultivate the internal dialogue that, “this is not only a growth experience for me, but also for my kids and whoever is getting the opportunity to cultivate a deeper relationship with them while I am away.” I also remember that I’m setting the standard for my partner, my kids, my friends and family, that just because I’m a mom doesn’t mean I don’t have a self that needs attending to. In fact, BECAUSE I’m a mom, it is a gosh-damn MUST!
- Return home re-energized, re-stored, ready to go another round in this thing called life, but now from a place of inspiration rather than obligation.