By Isabelle Bridges Boesch & Jessica Hagen

As mothers, we all have extremely full lives, yet we want more balance: work/life balance, a balance between caring for their families and caring for themselves, and between caring for each aspect of their lives. Here’s the thing, if we want to have fulfilling lives, lives that actually feel good, we need to shift the way we look at balance. We need to turn balance on its head. 

Let’s imagine for a second that your life is a pie and each segment is a different aspect of your life – your partner is one slice of the pie, your health is another, your parenting yet another. Does the thought of having to keep all these different areas of your life equally balanced make you feel overwhelmed and hopeless? If so, you are not alone! There’s a direct correlation between being overwhelmed and desiring balance that we don’t often recognize. In other words, it’s not the sense of being overwhelmed that makes us feel out of proportion, it’s the desire for balance — for all the pie pieces to receive equal attention — that makes us feel inundated.

Putting too much pressure on ourselves to pay attention to everything and everyone equally is not only impractical – it’s impossible.

Our lives are constantly changing, expanding, and contracting. The needs of our children and ourselves invariably shift from day to day. These facts require us to be stable, but also flexible; therefore, why would we expect complete fluidity in all aspects of our lives when life itself is not designed to work that way? It’s important to be realistic about our expectations and simultaneously conscious of how we can achieve our goals with family, friends, and work.  

Rather than strive for “balance,” learn the art of “balancing.” When you change the term balance from a noun (a state of equilibrium) to a verb (to arrange, adjust) it becomes dynamic instead of static.

There are three important things to think about when looking to find equality in our consistently wavering world: 1) Grounding into our values, 2) Core activation, and 3) Focusing on one point. 

Grounding into our Values

Consider not only what you allot your time to, but why you do the things you do. If you’re often spending time considering what other people think of you and how you have to please or satisfy other’s viewpoints regarding what they think is right, you’re ultimately ignoring what you consider to be important in life and what you think should be done. In other words, ask yourself the following questions: If I didn’t care what anyone else thinks or feels, would I do this? What would I do if I wasn’t trying to please anyone other than myself? 

Value your own thoughts and feelings on what you think is important before you thoroughly consider what others find important to them. It’s always beneficial to take constructive criticism into account, but it’s equally important to make your own judgment call on what the best path forward is for you. It can be exhausting and extremely unproductive to put too much weight into other’s opinions, especially because everyone has a different opinion. Once you’ve established what you personally value and have taken other’s comments into consideration, make your own judgement call. Trust yourself.

Another very important aspect of grounding yourself in your values is making sure what your doing is not jeopardizing your non-negotiables (i.e., sleep, not working on the weekends, not being away from your kids for more than four nights, not drinking alcohol, being sure to get enough exercise, etc.). If you’ve vowed to commit yourself to being more healthy, do your best to stick to the goals you’ve set to achieve success. If you’ve decided what kind of life you want to lead and/or what kind of person you want to be, strive to fulfill those goals. All we can do is our best, and oftentimes people come to find out their best is more than good enough as long as they’re true to themselves. 

Core Activation

By core activation, we mean engaging one’s core desired feelings by changing your language, which will subsequently change your physiology. Consider how you speak to yourself or think about the world. If you always talk about what makes your life more complicated or you continuously concentrate on things you perceive as negative in your life, you expend energy on the exact feelings you’re trying to avoid. Instead of concentrating on the difficulties of life, change your language to fixate on the positive aspects of your day. 

Often times people focus on the big picture without considering the importance of the details. The details are in your daily attitude. When we talk about what we don’t want, we increase our negative thoughts and feelings. On the contrary, if you talk about the positive in your life – the moments of bliss you experienced that day or week – you’ll improve your attitude toward life. Focus on your core desired feelings on a daily and weekly basis to experience them even more. Gradually, negative perceptions of your surroundings will dissipate and you’ll develop a happier, more constructive reality. 

As we noted earlier, changing your language will in turn change your physiology. For example, if your desired feeling is finding peace, but you are constantly stressed out or anxious, try changing your mindset. When you’re stressed, your body releases adrenaline, which causes increased heart rate and blood pressure. Think of how you would breathe if you felt at peace and practice inhaling and exhaling in that way. Practice the technique you feel would coincide with the feeling of being at peace. As you calm yourself down, your heart rate will naturally slow. A low resting heart rate allows one to feel more at peace, and helps you reach your ultimate goal. 

Focus on one Point

Spotlight what is working rather than what is not working. If your core desired goal is feeling at peace, what can you concentrate on in your life that is peaceful? Say you have a job that can sometimes be very difficult, but your personal relationships at home more often than not are very gratifying. Spending the majority of your time concentrating on the difficulties of your work life will hinder the happiness you feel in your personal life. Instead of concentrating on the job that can sometimes be difficult, concentrate on how happy your home life makes you and the benefits those relationships give you. Consider that even those who work at their “dream job” sometimes feel overwhelmed and unenthusiastic. Those same feelings of unhappiness can be vice versa for others – an incredibly happy work life but a difficult home life. Count your blessings and know that it’s okay to feel unbalanced. 

Permission for Asymmetry 

A lot of people struggle with the myth of having to acquire balance everyday. Think of the need for balance as something unnecessary to strive for. When you stand on two feet perfectly still, perfectly balanced, you don’t go anywhere. As human beings, we are constantly in motion, and it’s okay to not have every aspect of our life perfectly synced. When we require all aspects of life to be in continuity, we’re setting ourselves up to fail in all aspects of our lives. 

Sometimes your family life will be more important than your work life, your children’s baseball game will be more important than cleaning the house on your Saturday off, or your date night with your husband or wife will be more important than returning a work email right away – and that’s okay. Balance is graciously accepting the times of imbalance. The sooner we allow for imperfection, the better our mental state will be overall. 

Isabelle Bridges is a Mother’s Empowerment Coach. She takes a stand to help overwhelmed moms develop the confidence to reclaim their passions, pursue their purpose, and live their dream. She provides group mentoring in her Mom-ME Circle program so moms can create a life they love within the container of sisterhood.


Phone: 805-455-3108

Jessica Hagen is an advocate for healthier living through natural remedies. She’s a Writer/Editor for HealthTunes, the non-profit online streaming audio service founded by Walter Werzowa to improve one’s physical and mental health by pairing medical research with active music links.