Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Parenting Pointers: Balancing Kids and Work

Balancing the demands of modern motherhood is a tough job. Juggling kids, work, family, friends, volunteering and trying to find some “me time” is challenging to say the least and sometimes it seems downright impossible. But, what every mom needs to know is that success within motherhood, work and life is possible, and you get to define what that looks like.

Interior designer from HGTV’s “Buying and Selling with the Property Brothers,” lifestyle expert, author and mom of seven Lisa Canning almost lost her family by pursing career success.
It took going to supervise workers at a dusty, chaotic construction site one-week post-partum while in granny panties and wearing a pad the size of Mount Rushmore, with a newborn (her fourth child in five years), to make her realize her priorities were out of balance. Canning dug herself out of her self-built chaos, defined her own version of success and today coaches other moms on how to live their best lives. She details her journey and provides life changing tests and exercises to get women started on their own motherhood makeovers in her “mom bible,” The Possibility Mom: How to be a Great Mom and Pursue Your Dream at the Same Time [July 16, 2019].

“That moment was the beginning of the end—the end of jeopardizing happiness and peace for the sake of perfection and control,” says Canning. “I vowed to no longer put work first and sacrifice the good of my family. For those first years of motherhood, I felt like I did not belong anywhere. Some of the faith-filled, stay-at-home moms I associated with did not understand my love for my business and my drive. I wanted to prove to the career women that you could have kids and not let your work commitments slide. I wanted to prove that motherhood was attractive and awesome. To the stay-at-home camp, I wanted to prove it was entirely possible to be happy at work and home at the same time.”
Canning learned how to balance kids and work. Watch her talk about it here: 

I had a chance to interview her to learn more.

Why is it important for moms to have their own ideas of success?
Motherhood is not a one size fits all situation. There are so many things that impact a mom's personal situation including number of children, temperament of children, her own personal energy and her own personal priorities, that it really is not possible, nor fair, to a compare a mom's life to someone else's.

This is why I argue that a mom has got to define success for herself. For some moms, being able to write a blog from home while babies nap is success, whereas for others, the ability to make a home cooked meal from scratch is her ideal. A mom has got to decide what is success for herself.

In my opinion, the only common denominator is that work cannot come first. I felt quite acutely the cost of putting career ahead of everything else, and I hold fast to David O McKay's quote that no worldly success is worth failure in the home.

How can moms get the "me time" they need?
I think a mom has to schedule it, but also get creative about it! Could you swap babysitting duties with a mom friend so you both get a break? Can you put kids into pajamas and drive them around during nap time so you can park in your favourite spot and have a coffee and read a book while they nap? Regardless of how you do it and what you do during it, I think "me time" needs to be a priority in the same way you would prioritize a doctor's appointment, or soccer practice for your child.

Why is it important to reconnect with your spouse even during busy stages of life?
I think it's important because the health of a marriage impacts the health of a home. I find that the regular challenges, like a tantruming toddler, or spilled cheerios on the ground get dealt with in a more pleasant manner when you are feeling more like a team.

How can friends help hold us accountable?
I think we need to develop a culture of dream chasing with our friends, because I'm a big believer that motherhood is not the place where our dreams have to go to die. But what happens when a toddler scribbles all over a business plan, or a baby spits up on your outfit just as you are out the door to a meeting? These challenges can be overcome with a lot more grace when we can turn to people for support. I have a circle of friends who I check in with regularly, and ask them to hold me accountable to tasks I have set out to do. I find that is the simplest way- simply texting a friends and sharing with them something you need to work on in the next 2 hours for example, and them texting them again at the end of that time period with an update on your progress.

What role does faith play in your life?
For me, my faith is the foundation of everything. I've learned from experience that God always has better plans than my own, and so I trust Him with everything!

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