work-life balance

jenny greenstein

Vida is 6 months old and as cliche as it sounds (and I know it does), it’s all moving too fast. While I adore watching her reach milestones like eating solids, roll over, ‘chatting’ up a storm and getting ready to crawl, part of me feels heavy. Her curiosity about the world pulls at my heart strings because that means more independence, and further detaching – which is a good thing, I know! It’s what we ultimately want for her – to thrive and become autonomous. But the art of holding on and letting go is a constant challenge. My baby will always be my baby, but she won’t always BE a baby. That said, knowing and accepting this reality has helped me cope with the transition into focusing more on myself again, “working mom” and all.

I’m never not grateful to design my days and be my own boss, but there are moments of struggle while establishing this new normal. I don’t have the demand of a corporate job, but the responsibility to create structure is mine so it leads to working whenever there’s time – nights and weekends, sending e-mails while playing with V or following up with people late in bed when I should be going to sleep! When I have a free second, my default is to work, and because I can from wherever/whenever, I monopolize these moments to accomplish a new task. But how much can I take on without compromising time for myself, family, and all else outside of Your Soul Style? What’s too much? What’s too little? When is it time to shutdown the computer (and the worst culprit of all – iphone!) and say enough? It’s a delicate balance, and one I have yet to master. Building and sustaining a business is hard, but having Vida requires the negotiation of time even more-so. Not everything gets done in the speed I’m used to, and I’m learning how to surrender and accept that. I recently read a few write-ups from women in similar positions about managing their first years as entreprenurial moms and their relatable stories shed light on how balance looks different for each of us. Some of us have part (or full) time nanny’s, others do day-care, some lean on friends and relatives for support, but regardless of how you take care of your baby, we are all doing our best to create the most ideal situation for us and our family. The dynamics are each unique.

To balance our own passions, with motherhood, career, obligations, time with family, friends and ourselves is not easy and I’m learning (or trying) to detach from the guilt and embrace the idea that there is no perfect version. Vida deserves my full attention and when I’m with her I focus on staying present, but I’d be lying if I said there weren’t distractions. Life is distracting! While there are rare days when I feel like superwoman accomplishing it all (laundry done, phone calls made, e-mails sent, baby nursed & asleep, dinner on table), I mostly close my eyes at night freaking about a running to-do list that grows each day. I wonder….when does it all normalize? Does it ever normalize? Or is this just the ‘new’ normal that I need to acclimate to? Does it get easier? Will I ever stop feeling overwhelmed? When will I stop feeling guilty about time spent away? I know I’m not alone when I ask myself these questions.

As Vida gets older I hold on tight to whatever sense of normalcy I can grasp, but like the aftermath of any life-changing event, my practice requires embracing patience while allowing the appropriate time for things to settle in. Being gentle on myself is key, and understanding that these days are short-lived helps me keep it in perspective. This time is precious, and I want to be here. Really here. I never want to look back and wish I did things differently. Vida is growing at lightening speed, and I am savoring each and every moment the best way I know how. By remaining flexible, open and balanced, even if that balance is constantly shifting. Life will never go back to what it was before Vida arrived, but our new normal refines as we reach individual milestones, growing parallel along side one another. With each new experience, we both stretch and expand. Through the discomfort of change, we find our place. One of my favorite recent quotes by Anais Nin explains it best, “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” And how much more beautiful is that flower when it’s finally in bloom….

photo via lori berkowitz

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