Why You Should Stop Looking for Balance (and What You Should Be Looking For Instead)

This is a guest post from Nina Manolson of SmokinHotMom.com.

Magazines and yoga teachers all say the same thing – find balance. And we mogul moms are certainly looking for it.

But I’m here to tell you to give it up! Instead of trying to find “balance”, what you should really be doing is…getting enough support.

It’s when we feel…

  • supported in our daily to to-do’s
  • partnered in our family decisions
  • championed in our life goals
  • not alone in our struggles (and we all have them) …

…that we experience that elusive feeling of ease and inner peace in our life.

But our current culture tells us that the way to get to that feeling is by creating balance. 

It’s as if finding the right amount of work time, family time and self time will suddenly make us happy.  But having the “correct” ratios – if that were even possible – is not going to give us what we’re really after.

What’s hidden in this mythical and elusive “balance” is

  • our desire to feel a sense of inner peace (even when there’s kid chaos all around us)
  • a longing to not feel the pressure of our to-do list hanging over us all the time
  • a craving to be able to hear our own thoughts, feelings and wisdom (even though we are thinking about and caring for so many others)
  • a hunger to enjoy the people we love in our life (even though life is very full)

That’s what we’re all after, right? We want a meaningful life in the midst of our real, busy, crazy life, whacky ratios and all.

So, how do you get there? How do you create the space to have a life that you can actually live in and love, instead of just manage?

Support.

Support is what we need, yet it’s the one thing that’s truly lacking for so many busy working moms.

Instead, we function in the “I’ll just do it myself” mode that throws us off kilter and into overwhelm and exhaustion. 

Now before you jump to the conclusion that I’m talking about the kind of support that looks like live-in-help, a nanny, a personal assistant, a chef and a trainer (as nice as that would be), I want to assure you that getting support doesn’t need to break the bank.

Certainly support sometimes looks like a hired team: administrative help, household help, coaches, therapists, childcare etc.

But support is often right under our noses and all we have to do is ask. Yes, ask for help. I know that asking for help can be a challenge for many moms, but asking is the way to go.

Getting specific about where you really need help is the key to finding the support you really need.

Answer these questions and you’ll have a good idea of the areas that are calling out for some support.

  • What do you hate to do?
  • What are you not very good at?
  • What do you keep telling yourself you should do, but you just don’t do it?
  • What do you find frustrating?
  • What part of the day are your rushing most?
  • When do you wish you weren’t the only one doing the ….(dishes, taxes, etc)

Now:

  1. Choose one of the areas that you’ve identified.
  2. What are the tasks that are involved in the area you’ve chosen?
  3. Break down the task into smaller pieces and be specific. This makes it easier for someone else to step in and take over.
  4. What kind of support do you need to accomplish these tasks?
  5. Who could you ask?
  • Are your kids old enough to help a bit more around the house?
  • Do you have a partner that could do an extra errand a week?
  • Do you have members of your work team that could take some tasks away from you?
  • Do you have a friend who could come over to help you sort through kids outgrown clothes?
  • Could you ask the babysitter to come an hour early to help sort through the piles?
  • Maybe it is time to hire someone to help?

Once you’re clear on where you need help and who can help – ASK! Support won’t come your way until you ask for it.

Now, once you’ve got the support, be patient. It takes a while for whatever support systems you’ve chosen to fall into place and it might take a little while for you to get used to letting go and receiving the support.

But it’s worth it. Support is the new ‘balance’ because it’s the real key to creating a life you love. When we are not alone in our endeavors anything is possible and everything is manageable.

About the author:

Nina Manolson, M.A. CHHC is the Smokin’ Hot Mom Mentor who helps busy moms create a positive and healthy relationship with their body, food and life. Her free CD “The 7 Steps to Being A Smokin’ Hot Mom” is available at SmokinHotMom.com.

Nina Manolson

Founder at Smokin' Hot Mom
Nina Manolson, M.A. CHHC is the Smokin’ Hot Mom Mentor who helps busy moms create a positive and healthy relationship with their body, food and life. Her free CD “The 7 Steps to Being A Smokin’ Hot Mom” is available at SmokinHotMom.com.

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18 Comments

  1. Michelle @ Find Your Balance

    Haha that does make me giggle given the name of my business. But I totally agree. Balance isn’t about a pie chart or ratios – it’s often about being gentle with ourselves and, yes, support!

    Reply
  2. Crystal

    I’d like to add that getting support from the kidlets is a loving way to teach them life skills they will need later on. For instance, I turned over individual laundry responsibility to each of my kids at about age 12 – less work for me and they always knew what they had clean to wear.

    Reply
  3. Prerna

    I totally agree with Nina, and @theresa, support is the new balance. I’ve hired help for cleaning the house AND cooking, and I love it! Its given me time for myself, the family and of course, my business. So, yes, get ALL the support you need, simply because you do need it!

    Reply
  4. Christa

    Thank you for this post. Asking for help…then receiving the help without the case of guilt. I remember the first time I asked for help from the family. It felt a little foreign. As well as a bit awkward to receive. Practice receiving the help is what I need to to.

    As I explained to our son (who’s wallet was washed for the 12th time). There are too many pockets in the laundry for one person to be in charge of…we each need to check them before they get in the wash. This probably applies to other areas as well…there is just too much for one person…teamwork is the new balance.

    Thanks again.

    Reply
  5. Marita

    My main problem is that I forget to ask for help! I know that sounds silly, but it often simply doesn’t occur to me to ask someone. I think it’s a bad habit to be so independent. Great businesses have rarely come from just a single person; there is usually a team effort behind every great company. It’s not about doing less in one area and more in another: everything has to fit together to make the picture complete. Thanks for the reminder!

    Reply
    • Heather Allard

      I totally agree, Marita – great businesses and profits come from a team effort, even when it appears to be just one person running it. 🙂

      Reply
  6. Cathy von der Nuell

    Support is like Spankz, it hold us all together were things need to be held together.
    No one will know you need help unless you put it out there to the universe. We all need help, we all need to give help, and realize when someone who cannot ask for help, needs help.

    Reply
  7. Sarah

    LOVE this post! Great insight and action items for us Moms…thank you!

    Reply
  8. theresa ceniccola

    Love it! support is the new balance:-) So totally true. And while it’s hard to ask for help, we have to remember that other people are just waiting to step in and provide that support. Thanks, Nina!

    Reply
    • Heather Allard

      I love that! Support is the new balance. 🙂

      Reply
  9. Amanda Howell

    I’m definitely in the category of those who hate to ask for help. There’s an additional stigma in my case, we’re a military family. How funny that some of the ones most in need of help, are the least likely to ask for it. I don’t even like asking my husband for help, because I feel like he works all day, so I should have things in place when he gets home. And I know that’s silly, because I work all day too. And I like what Jenn said in the comments, about top achievers all have support systems in place. I’ll put it on my wall in front of me, if I have too!

    Reply
    • Heather Allard

      I like what Jenn said, too. It’s so, so true! 🙂

      Reply
  10. Jenn McGroary

    Excellent advice Nina. As mom business owners we definitely have the tendency to try to be “Super Mom”, asking for help is viewed by many as a sign of weakness and a failure to being able to do our job. (I know I’ve had that feeling more than I’d like.)

    All the top achievers have support systems in place to help build them up to greatness. No one can do it all themselves. A great reminder to get the help you need, whether it’s in business, home care or self care, all will go a long way to maintaining a healthier you!

    ~ Jenn

    Reply
    • Heather Allard

      You’re so right, Jenn – when I look at the top achievers, they all have support in every part of their lives. Sometimes I think we mom entrepreneurs are so far behind the eight-ball that we don’t even know where to begin in terms of getting the help we need. These questions from Nina will (hopefully) make it easier for us to get started. 🙂

      Thanks for dropping by!
      Heather

      Reply
  11. Angela Keller

    Great advice. I don’t know why it is so hard for us to ask for help but it is vital. I would also add carpooling to the list of possible areas of help. That is a major help in my daily routine.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    • Heather Allard

      Great idea, Angela – carting kids around all day to school and activities eats up SO much time!

      Heather

      Reply

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