Motherhood is far too often assumed to be a passive experience. We become mothers through the acquisition of a child; the newfound responsibilities, changes in our identity, shifts in our priorities, changes to our goals, aspirations, and careers….they all seem to happen to us as we progress through the matrescence journey. Or do they?
How much of our motherhood experience are we actively participating in? How much of our motherhood journey do we choose, take accountability for, with definite purpose and intent?
What if I told you that we are choosing all of it?
As a working mother of two, and the founder of re-mom - a coaching service for working mothers on a mission to reinvent the working motherhood experience - I want to offer you a different way of looking at the working motherhood experience, particularly around work-life harmony. At re-mom, the working motherhood experience is a contributor to your overall health and wellbeing. In other words, it’s a part of your wellness equation.
Here’s how we see it. The Global Wellness Institute defines wellness as “...the active pursuit of activities, choices and lifestyles that lead to a state of holistic health.” Let’s laser focus on two things here: “active pursuit” implies we participate in an intentional set of behaviours and actions, with the goal of contributing to overall wellness; “holistic health” means that all the parts of a person’s wellness are interconnected and can only be referenced as a whole.
When looking at working motherhood through this lens, we can understand that:
Our working motherhood experience is a direct result of the active choices we make that contribute to the experience
We cannot speak about a working mother’s overall health and wellbeing without addressing how she feels about her work-life harmony
In other words, work-life harmony is the self-responsibility to make choices at work and at home, in a way that feels good.
Why does re-mom encourage looking at work-life harmony as a contributor to our wellness? What about work-life balance?
Ask any modern working mother, and the answer is easy to see: we spend our days trying to figure out how on earth we can “do it all”. With the pressures of performing at work as if we don’t have children, and the pressures of default parenting at home as if we don’t have jobs, the amount of mental, physical and emotional real estate spent on the constant chase for work-life balance is insurmountable. In a motherhood paradigm that views motherhood as a passive experience, motherhood happens to us, with little of our influence or control on how it shows up. Yet, we are the sole “figure outers” of this conundrum. Work-life balance, with the perceived notion of paying equal amounts of intention and energy on multiple priorities, is a math equation we’ll never be able to solve.
Work-life harmony, on the other hand, when approached as a wellness concept, gives working mothers the power to choose and participate in their lives, take accountability for those choices, and make choices that are rooted in feeling good. The mindset shift of actively participating in life is a game changer in how we see, interact with, and experience working motherhood. When subscribing to work-life harmony as a wellness concept, we get our power back. We call it harmony because it isn’t about equal amounts of effort, energy or priority that we are contributing to, but rather the overall feeling of satisfaction across work and life. Harmony means it feels good - no matter the hours, energy, or effort spent in each realm.
Just as a diet loses the 20 lbs fast, but only a lifestyle change keeps the 20 lbs off, the parallel in the world of working motherhood would be that work-life balance is the temporary, yet effective, fix to living a more comfortable working motherhood experience… but it’s the mindset behind work-life harmony as a wellness concept that maintains the feel-good baseline for the modern working mom for the long term.
At re-mom, we support working mothers in achieving work-life harmony by tackling her motherhood mindset, which then allows for her to design her life according to the choices she makes and holds herself accountable to - all with the focus of feeling good.
Doing this empowers mothers to put themselves first, recognizing their wellness as paramount. Well mothers show up as their best selves for their employers, their families, and most importantly - for themselves.
3 Core Mindsets to Adopt for Work-Life Harmony:
Self responsibility: Acknowledging and understanding that you are accountable for what your life looks like (no one else). No more blaming it on someone or something external to you. Your life is a direct reflection of what you allow to happen.
Everything is a choice: Everything in your life is there because you chose it to be. You are the only person who can decide how you participate in work and in life. You can choose to participate passively or actively; with intention or without; and with a focus on feeling good, or not feeling good.
Prioritize feeling good: A mindset that is often the most challenging to adopt for mothers, prioritizing feeling good is critical to achieving work-life harmony. Feeling good about your choices allows you to do more, participate actively, and maintain motivation because you aren’t pouring from an empty cup. Preserving your "feel good baseline" means you're able to handle more of the stuff you can't control. Focusing on the good feelings have real, scientifically proven benefits for physical and mental health because it reduces stress - a major contributor to a working mother’s overall wellness.