Balancing it All
Holistic Health Coach Ashley Leonetti shares some tips to help new parents find balance.
* guest post from Ashley Leonetti
As I sit here, one week away from my daughter’s first birthday, I reflect on the amazing year we’ve had. Amazing in so many of the obvious ways, like how we’ve created and raised the most amazing little girl. All the incredible changes she has made in her short time on this earth; all the special memories we have made with family and friends and through our travels; the growth that has occurred for me personally as a mother, a business owner, a wife, daughter and friend; and most amazingly—that we survived and came out stronger than ever!
Being a mom, has without a doubt, been the most rewarding and gratifying job I have been given yet, but like all things that are worth doing, it does not come without its struggles, challenges and triumphs. Add a career, relationships and hormones on top of that, and now we’re really talking. I have learned so much through my own experiences, as well as through other amazing mothers in my life who have taught me how to do my best and to try and juggle all of these important aspects of my life. And although some days are easier than others, there are a few things I try to do and remember every day to bring balance to our little life.
Find Time and Make a Plan:
At the beginning of each week, my husband and I set aside time to chat about our upcoming week. Because we don’t have child care, we set our schedules to work around each other, which means a big juggling act. Being organized allows us to respect each other’s priorities and know ahead of time whether we need to make changes or find extra help. We linked our calendars, which allows us to easily see each other’s schedules and know when it’s OK to schedule appointments, important calls, etc.
As a work-from-home mom, it is easy to feel like you’re always working. It’s important to find your time for productivity and set your me “hours.” I work best in the morning, so I set my alarm clock to wake up two hours before my daughter (typically) and commit that time strictly to work. I leave my work in a designated area, so that when I put my daughter down for her naps, I can quickly get started again! Even though this may mean neglecting a little housework or only getting in one to two hours of work done at a time, it all adds up. Then at the end of the day, I can “clock out” and unplug.
Meditation and Finding Me Time:
Let’s face it, we are all hardworking moms. We are all busy and being pulled in a million different directions. The demands of motherhood, maintaining a working household, building a career and living life are stressful! I have found that daily meditation and the act of clearing my mind are so helpful when trying to calm my nerves and anxiety.
At any given time, there can be multiple thoughts swirling around in your head, and that never-ending to-do list can become paralyzing. Giving your mind and body time to recharge and pause is so important for being able to think clearly and focus on the task at hand. So often we find ourselves dwelling on the past or looking to the future, so by practicing meditation (whether it be the act of sitting still, taking a bath or a gentle yoga practice), even for just a few minutes or breaths, we can allow for our mind to settle and regroup. This self-love and care has been so important in keeping myself grounded and sane this past year. Juggling two (or a few worlds) is stressful, but taking care of yourself (meditating, eating well, sleeping, and exercising) allows you to better take care of everyone else!
Cut Yourself Some Slack and Be Flexible:
Go easy on yourself! Motherhood is freaking tough stuff. It may look like someone has it all together, but we’re all going through the same things. Some days you will get it all accomplished; other days you might forget to brush your teeth. As soon as I was able to accept that I am only one person and can only do so much, I was better able to focus on all things that I do well! It’s hard not to compare yourself to others and what you see on Pinterest or Instagram. Remember, you are only seeing a few seconds of someone’s day. Be open to tips and tricks from other moms, but most importantly, find what works for YOU and YOUR family. Be proud of the life that you have built and give yourself some credit! We all deserve a little pat on the back!
Divide, Conquer and Ask for Help!
As women and as moms, I feel like we have been given this innate drive to feel like we should do everything ourselves and do everything perfectly. No less than a week after Delaney was born, I was up vacuuming and trying to do the dishes and anything else that would make me feel like I could still do it all. Um, crazy lady. After months of tearing myself down for not being able to keep the house spotless, breastfeed my baby, start and run a business, teach classes, get food on the table, and still be a human, I finally realized that I now have another full-time job, and the most important job at that—to be a mom. When I finally realized it’s OK to ask for help, it was then that I started to feel more and more like myself.
Splitting the house chores and our daughter’s needs with my husband has been a lifesaver. I do the food shopping and preparation; he cooks on the evenings I work late. I clean the bathrooms; he takes out the trash. I pump; he cleans it when I’m done. From the beginning, he was comfortable with the bedtime routine and keeping her alone for the weekend when I had work engagements or plans with friends. He works and I work. He values and respects all the work that I do and I respect his. We know that in order to make things work for us, we have to make some sacrifices and be the other’s biggest support system. Even though our alone time is limited, this has brought us closer than ever.
When you’re working, work. When you are with your kids, be with your kids. As a mom that works from home, I first thought that I could at least check and respond to emails when I was nursing or my baby was playing by herself. However, I quickly found that trying to do too many things at once led to more anxiety and stress. I wasn’t giving my daughter the attention she deserved, and I found that I was answering emails poorly and being less productive. It’s challenging, but I find that like with anything, when I focus my energy on one thing at a time, it makes for a much healthier environment.
Date your Spouse:
That little bundle of joy became our whole WORLD in the blink of an eye. Everyone tells you it’s going to happen, but you don’t realize how every decision, plan and move you make now involves another person attached to your hip. My husband and I quickly realized the importance of carving out time for us. In no way does this always mean having a babysitter and hitting the town for a night out, but we do make it a point to set aside one night a week that we devote to us. Once the baby is in bed, phones and computers are out of sight and we spend time with each other enjoying a meal, catching up on our favorite show or just talking without interruptions. When it works out, we take turns planning a date night where we surprise the other with a few hours just for the two of us again. Find a routine that works for you and your partner and make a commitment. This time to ourselves, reminds us that first and foremost came our relationship, and by continually strengthening our bond, we can be the best parents we can be!
Ashley is a Certified Holistic Health Coach, Certified Health Fitness Specialist and Yoga Instructor focused on women’s health and pre- and post-natal wellness. Through her own experiences and training she works with women to empower and assist them in finding and living their healthiest and happiest life! She believes in a holistic approach to health and wellness by addressing all facets of her client’s well-being. Ashley lives in Wilmington, Delaware with her husband and daughter and provides services remotely to clients all over the world!
You can find out more about Ashley and the services she provides here.