If I had to pick ONE thing moms tell me they find most challenging, it would certainly be the constant juggle between the children’s needs, cooking, cleaning, other daily chores, work, and finding time for themselves.
It’s a constant, relentless quest for the unicorn known as balance.
But does the idea of balance really help us?
It implies that the different parts of our lives are in opposition to each other. But being a mom, a self-caring human and an active adult are all parts of ourselves. They coexist and merge, sometimes with good results, other times not so well.
It also sets the stage for another big demon of ours: guilt.
When we are playing with our kids, we feel bad that we’re not answering our emails, or that the house is messy and the laundry is piling up.
When we’re taking a shower or having coffee with a friend, we feel bad for our toddler, because he’s already going through a lot since the new baby arrived.
We can’t win!
These different drives that coexist within us – caring for ourselves, caring for our family and for the work we do in the world – can make us feel like we are pulled in different directions without guidance and purpose.
Our autonomic nervous system, which manages many of our body's functions including rest, digestion and the “fight or flight response,” feels this deep uncertainty before we are even aware of it.
The visionary neuroscientist Dr. Stephen Porges defines this as “neuroception,” which is “the process by which our nervous system evaluates risk without requiring awareness.”
When we experience a neuroception of threat, we end up being in a constant stressed-out state, never really present or able to feel connected and safe.
But what if we could let go of this idea of balance and embrace the possibility of a more authentic life?
Connection with other moms who go through the same experiences can help a great deal. When combined with neuroscience, it can help us better understand what is going on, why we feel the way we do, and what could make us feel a whole lot more connected and present.
I am truly passionate about redefining how we view the challenges of motherhood. If we understand more about how our body and nervous systems work, we can begin to use compassion and knowledge to lift ourselves up from our daily struggles with balance, guilt, and the other usual suspects.