Why Work/Life Balance Doesn’t Work

Striving for work/life balance leaves working moms feeling anything but balanced. 

  • Other feelings it brings up: 
  • Chaos from non-stop juggling, check. 
  • Anxiety driven by worry and overthinking, check. 
  • The feeling of never being enough, double check.

Hi, I’m Amber Pecoraro, a Life Coach, mother of four, and career professional. I used to strive for work/life balance and it made me feel terrible. I was introduced to coaching in 2020 and my life was forever changed when I realized I could question the subconscious thought that was playing over and over in my brain around work/life balance: “I need to be the best mom, best wife, and best supervisor.” 

I see two big blind spots come up when I coach working moms on creating more balance in their lives and you can see them clearly in my 2020 thought around balance:

#1 – We hold ourselves to unrealistic expectations

Being the “best” at all our roles (especially at the same time) is not a quantifiable or achievable goal. Moreover, when we don’t reach the unreachable goal we feel guilt, shame, and out of control.

#2 – We don’t consider our own needs. 

My definition of balance did not include the most necessary focus…ME! How can we feel balanced if we don’t even consider our needs as part of the balance equation?

There is better way

Fortunately, there is hope and actionable steps you can take to create more balance in your life. 

First, we need to rethink the definition of balance that aligns with the way we are built as humans. Throw out that work/life balance reference that never worked and let’s talk about integrating your Being and Doing energies. 

Optimize YOU to create more balance

The right side of our brain is known as the intuitive side of our brain. Qualities like creativity, imagination, presence, stillness, flow, and surrender live here and represent the Being energy that is part of who we are as humans.

The left side of our brain is known as the analytical side of our brain. Qualities like logic, goal-focused, achieving, structure, process, and planning/completing tasks live here and represent our Doing energy.

Both of these energies are vital to us as humans but if we have been operating predominately in one energy vs the other, it can lead us to feel unbalanced. In my case, I was operating predominately in my Doing energy when I was striving for work/life balance by being the “best mom, best wife, and best supervisor”.  Therefore, it was important for me to incorporate more ways that I could access my Being energy in order to feel more balance within myself. 

When we feel more balanced internally, we are more proactive vs. reactive because we can better identify what is important for us to put our energy into and what is not. This helps with setting realistic expectations and boundaries with ourselves and others. 

Small changes go a long way

Good news! You don’t have to spend 50% of your day Being and 50% of your day Doing in order to create more balance. Incorporate small opportunities to integrate your less-utilized energy (Being or Doing) and take away (or set boundaries around) areas where you’ve been operating in your more predominate energy and you’ll start feeling results.

For me, I’ve added more slices of quiet time in my day and make an effort to get out in nature. I’ve also stopped saying “Yes” to things that overexert my Doing energy. These small investments in cultivating my Being energy and putting boundaries around my Doing energy go a long way in the balance I feel.

Other examples of how you can BE more:

  • Draw, paint, or color
  • Sing, dance, or listen to music that brings up a feeling of nostalgia
  • Make a focused effort to be present in the moment 
  • Journal, devotional, read for fun!
  • Ask yourself what you want and need 
  • Set expectations and ask for support from loved ones

How to start creating more balance

  • Reflect on how you define balance in your life and what subconscious thoughts may be driving a feeling of unbalance.
  • Experiment! If you are predominately operating in your Doing energy, add opportunities to cultivate your Being energy. Set boundaries around Doing energy overload tasks. 
  • Get Creative. Think of ways to cultivate your Being or Doing energy that feel fun and light. If something feels heavy in your body – try something else.  
  • Be patient with yourself and give yourself grace. This is an experiment so there are no failures! You are figuring out what works best for you to create more balance in your life. Small changes remind us that we are a priority which positively impacts the balance we feel.

Let’s recap: 

It is possible to create more balance in our lives. Rethinking balance that aligns with the way we are built as humans gives us a sustainable foundation that encourages us to check-in with ourselves. Integrate your Being and Doing energies in a way that feels light and fun to discover the optimal balance for you. 

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