Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Let Me Introduce You

Remarkable Renewal Team

I mentioned in my first post that seven amazing women are working with me to bring the Guide and our national women's initiative to mothers around the world. They are highly talented, incredibly wise, brilliant in their respective fields and amazing, loving women who are also mamas of young kids. And, all of them are former or current members of my Austin Personal Renewal Group.

I'd like for you to meet them and I have asked each of them to share their answer to the question: What does balanced living look like to you?

For me, balanced living is paying attention to all aspects of my life including myself. And by paying attention I mean appreciating the good, respecting and learning from the bad, and not allowing worries in any one area of my life overshadow the other areas in my life (i.e., suck the energy from everything else). This is a constant process and effort, but it is worth it. In order for me to be fulfilled, and therefore fulfill all of my roles, I need to feel that I'm experiencing the joy and grief that ALL of life has to offer.
~ Meredith Roach, book launch event coordinator for RTA, Broadcast Production Manager/Producer, McGarrah/Jessee. Mom to Emory, age 2

As a graphic designer and mom to Miranda (4) and Maxwell (1), I work for myself and I have created a schedule that allows me around 20 hours a week to work. I am learning that I need some daily quiet time alone to fully appreciate my very energetic life with two young children. Whether it's going for a quick walk, taking the time to make a good dinner or talking with a friend, I know that I am more giving and relaxed when I take care of myself. To put it simply—when I feel balanced, I've noticed that I smile more easily.
~Bella Guzman, art director/graphic designer for The Mother’s Guide and RTA, Owner, Bella Guzman Design, Mom to Miranda, age 4, and Max, age 2

To me, balanced living "looks" like something from the pages of a magazine:the superstar mom chopping organic veggies for her happy and well-adjusted kiddos' lunches on her way out the door (having already exercised, showered, dried her stylish hair and donned hip-yet-casual clothes and accessories) to pursue her exciting career, launch a new nonprofit, or write a best-selling novel. But looks can be deceiving!

I may not "look" it, but I "feel" balanced when I think everyone's needs are met: my children are happy, exposed to interesting things, and know that they can have my undivided attention whenever they need it; my husband feels totally supported in all endeavors and we are both excited about the future; I have time to complete my work and my clients are happy with it; and I fit in a little time for myself for whatever I need--exercise, organize, maybe someday even accessorize!
~Anne Hebert, editor for The Mother’s Guide and Renee Trudeau & Associates (RTA), freelance writer/editor,; mom to Champ, age 5, and Hays, age 1 ½

It's easier for me to spot when my family's balance is out of synch than when it is present. Life flows smoothly when we're balanced -- routines flow, kids play, and everyone's happy. Being present with my kids and husband gets us 50% of the way to achieving balance. Another contributor to balance is "mama time" -- some type of exercise or quiet time -- in my daily routine. And then there's saying "no" to half or more of the projects that come my way. That allows me to work with the people and projects that are the most fun and the best fit.
~ Amy Hufford, web designer/strategist for The Mother’s Guide web site and RTA, owner, Stellar Communications, Mom to Hannah, age 5, and Stella, age 1

For me, balanced living is when I experience abundance and gratitude. It is when I am able to enjoy myself and family without succumbing to the pull of the tornado of thought and worries, that consumes so many of our lives. Balanced living has helped me learn the signs (physical and mental) when the vortex is getting too close and it has become easier to step outside the craziness and take care of myself. When I feel balanced, my child is singing, the dog and cat are at peace and my husband and I share meaningful conversation that does not induce high-velocity winds.
~ Wendy L. Morgan, branding/outreach consultant for The Mother’s Guide and RTA, owner, Wendy Morgan Dot Connector and Brand Strategist; Mom to Ruby, age 6

To me, balanced living is a collection of one balanced day after another. Taking each day one at a time, striving to make that one day balanced and the follow it with another, is what creates a balanced life for me. A balanced day is one where I can go to bed feeling accomplished. Either accomplished in work – having been mentally challenged and productive, or accomplished with my family – having spent quality time with the kids where they know my focus is exclusively theirs. Perhaps accomplished in my marriage – having made time to talk with and support my husband and to nurture our relationship outside of the children, or accomplished in my home– having met simple needs like making sure there's always a roll of toilet paper when you need it, or milk in the fridge. For me, the feeling of balance comes at the end of the day when I slide in to bed and review the day in my mind, and drift off to sleep easily and with great anticipation for tomorrow. Is each day balanced? Hardly. But each day is lived with the intention of achieving that balance, and with the gentle permission to sometimes not accomplish it.
~ Rachel Hobson, program manager for RTA, owner, Not So Suburban Design,, mom to Anna Kate, 5 ½ , and Ben, 2

What does balanced living mean to me? It means having “breathing room” in my day, in my week and being tolerant of things that don’t go quite as planned – whether that’s finishing laundry, pursuing a new client or wanting to bake coffee cakes for neighbors during the holidays. “Breathing room” means that a sick child doesn’t throw me into a tailspin and leave me doing email and work at midnight. Those cushions of time and energy easily absorb the bumps in the week that naturally occur with two small children.
~ Laura Williams, PR consultant for The Mother’s Guide and RTA, PR Consultant and Freelance Writer. Mom to Megan, 4, and Emily, 2.

To me balanced living is not about equilibrium, perfection or even achieving a goal. It’s more about approaching life with ease, letting things flow and unfold. It means having enough time for those things in life that are MOST important to me. It means having time to visit with my son’s teachers or other mom friends on the playground when I pick him up in the afternoon. It means regular, heart-felt connection and conversation with my parter and important women in my life. It means having the space and capacity to be spontaneous and adventurous with my son—going on nature hikes, creating experiments in the kitchen, taking luxuriously slowwww walks. It means being able to cook (I like to cook), “slow food” meals for my family at least two nights a week. It means having time to nurture my body through dance, movement and yoga. It means feeling like I’m living a life infused with meaning, connection and that I’m able to be present with people around me … if not all the time, a lot of the time.
~Renee Trudeau, author/president RTA, mom to Jonah, 4.

What does balanced living look like to you?

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