As I write this, my four-week-old daughter is asleep, snug in her Baby Bjorn carrier, nestled against my chest. She is my first child, so I’m entering the world of parenthood like every other woman does: all at once, with a lot of panic and thoughts of “What the @#$!@#$ was I thinking?!” I tried not to make any set plans and to let go of my expectations before her birth, but I’m still a bit flummoxed by how much my life is changing.
In my coaching practice, one of the areas I frequently focus on with clients is life balance. It seems a tad ironic (or perhaps karmic) that my own life is so completely out of balance right now. But a wise colleague told me a story about Steven Covey. Apparently, Covey’s daughter called him in a panic after her child was born, and he told her that sometimes you are supposed to be utterly out of balance. Clearly, the trial-by-fire that is new parenthood is one of those times.
How do we cope with those massively out-of-balance times?
At the moment, I try to remember that I do not need to overcome this, I need to become something new (we are never overcoming, we are always becoming). I will not get back to the “way things used to be.” A change this large creates a new state of being. Adding the role of mother is an enormous shift in my identity, tasks, and self-image. That can’t be done overnight, obviously. I will co-create this role with my daughter–she will teach me how to be a mom to her. It also helps to remember that life balance is not a fixed state that one attains and then holds steady. I gave up some things (some permanently, some temporarily) to be a mom, and that certainly shifted the balance in my life. Most important, I am reminding myself to cherish these moments of my daughter’s new life–as crazy as it makes my own life–because they will go by incredibly quickly.
What things have made you out of balance? How did you grow from those experiences? How have they shaped what you are today?