New mamas, allow me to share my newest revelation: I am letting go of the idea of balance.

It’s taken me five years to learn my truth: There is no such thing. It seems we are always talking about this elusive thing called “balance.” And I’ve struggled for years to find it. But what I’ve learned in the process has allowed for greater joy to emerge.

There is no secret formula for balance. Some days we are rock stars—gliding through our world with ease, ticking off completed tasks and projects all over the place, baking cookies, volunteering at our child’s school, and helping a friend in need. But that’s not every day. And that’s okay.


Our lives are measured in seasons. Our weeks and months and even each day can be divided up into seasons of focus, seasons of passions, seasons of needs. The desires and the necessities of our families change constantly, and our reactions to them and our subsequent movements through life also change. What meant balance one day doesn’t mean the same thing on the next.

Balance. It’s not constructs of time that make it possible, it’s the attitude of the heart. It’s being fully present in whichever place we find ourselves, surrendering to the idea that each moment is unfolding as it should be, trusting that our day is providing for us exactly what should be.

I don’t think I’ve had a single day of motherhood when I felt “caught up.” I am always partway between numerous work or creative projects, while attempting some sort of family magic, and then plodding through the daily have-to’s of life—bills, providing food, driving people places—all of it. I don’t think it is possible to feel caught up without massive amounts of help. (So ask for help when you can!)

I’ve adopted a new attitude about the myriad of end results I’d like to achieve in a day. As much as possible, I’m no longer tied to the outcome. I work to stay present, to remain grounded in peace, to focus on one thing at a time. I can’t be in three places at once. It is simple physics. We mothers try to be, but we can’t be.

Life becomes simpler when we surrender to the seasons of the day, the week, the year.

Some days will be for creation, some for nurturing, some for going forth boldly in the world, some for quietly rearranging the cabinets inside the home. These days, instead of attempting to do all these things in one day, I sit quietly in the morning and I ask. I ask the inner self, I ask the universe what I need to do that day. Where does my heart need to be? Who needs me most? And then I let the rest go.

We can’t “do it all” at the same time ladies, and trying to do so creates anxiety, both for ourselves and for our families.

Let’s shift our inner paradigm. Simply by staying present we are doing enough, more than enough. We don’t need to balance all our passions and responsibilities into each day.

For me, now, balance means presence.

Balance doesn’t mean crossing off my entire list of goals, across all the categories of my life. Balance means presence. Balance means living through the heart. Balance means finding love everywhere, no matter what the task.

Give yourself a gift of more peaceful mothering. Give up the quest for the perfect balance. It doesn’t exist. All we have can do is to be present wherever we are.

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When I was expecting my first child, I wanted to know everything that could possibly be in store for his first year.

I quizzed my own mom and the friends who ventured into motherhood before I did. I absorbed parenting books and articles like a sponge. I signed up for classes on childbirth, breastfeeding and even baby-led weaning. My philosophy? The more I knew, the better.

Yet, despite my best efforts, I didn't know it all. Not by a long shot. Instead, my firstborn, my husband and I had to figure it out together—day by day, challenge by challenge, triumph by triumph.


The funny thing is that although I wanted to know it all, the surprises—those moments that were unique to us—were what made that first year so beautiful.

Of course, my research provided a helpful outline as I graduated from never having changed a diaper to conquering the newborn haze, my return to work, the milestones and the challenges. But while I did need much of that tactical knowledge, I also learned the value of following my baby's lead and trusting my gut.

I realized the importance of advice from fellow mamas, too. I vividly remember a conversation with a friend who had her first child shortly before I welcomed mine. My friend, who had already returned to work after maternity leave, encouraged me to be patient when introducing a bottle and to help my son get comfortable with taking that bottle from someone else.

Yes, from a logistical standpoint, that's great advice for any working mama. But I also took an incredibly important point from this conversation: This was less about the act of bottle-feeding itself, and more about what it represented for my peace of mind when I was away from my son.

This fellow mama encouraged me to honor my emotions and give myself permission to do what was best for my family—and that really set the tone for my whole approach to parenting. Because honestly, that was just the first of many big transitions during that first year, and each of them came with their own set of mixed emotions.

I felt proud and also strangely nostalgic as my baby seamlessly graduated to a sippy bottle.

I felt my baby's teething pain along with him and also felt confident that we could get through it with the right tools.

I felt relieved as my baby learned to self-soothe by finding his own pacifier and also sad to realize how quickly he was becoming his own person.

As I look back on everything now, some four years and two more kids later, I can't remember the exact day my son crawled, the project I tackled on my first day back at work, or even what his first word was. (It's written somewhere in a baby book!)

But I do remember how I felt with each milestone: the joy, the overwhelming love, the anxiety, the exhaustion and the sense of wonder. That truly was the greatest gift of the first year… and nothing could have prepared me for all those feelings.

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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I was blissfully asleep on the couch while my little one was occupied elsewhere with toys, books and my partner. She got bored with what they were doing, escaped from his watch and, sensing my absence, set about looking for me. Finding me on the couch, nose-level, she peeled back my one available eyelid, singing, "Mama? Mama? ...You there? Wake UP!"

Sound familiar? Nothing limits sleep more than parenthood. And nothing is more sought after as a parent than a nap, if not a good night's rest.

But Mother Nature practically guarantees that you are likely to be woken up by a toddler—they're hardwired to find you (and get your attention) when you're "away."


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