Feature stories from the May 2015 Mother’s Day issue of Connections
Lisa Callan’s Balancing Act
Many in Issaquah Highlands know Lisa Callan because her community work and volunteering touches so many lives. To say Lisa is engaged is an understatement! She shares her Issaquah Highlands home with husband Bryan and their 10-year-old son Riley. Like many other families, they are going all the time. Volunteer work, before and after school activities, family activities, church, playtime, commutes, and regular work. Riley is in Karrate, piano lessons, and drum lessons after school. He also does before-school activities several days a week. How does Lisa balance it all? Let’s ask her!
What obligations do you have outside the home?
Issaquah School Board of Directors, ISD School Board Legislative Representative, Eastside Human Services Board, Grand Ridge Elementary School PTSA Board, Issaquah Kiwanis, Issaquah Chamber of Commerce, Church, Claire Becket Guild for Children’s Hospital, mother, driver for before and after school activities, homework coach, practice coach, nerf-gun battler, minecrafter, (and watchful parental eye).
How do maintain your life balance?
For me, it really does take a village. I know many moms who balance even more than I do. But we are all willing to help when and where it is needed – to share carpooling duty, watching kids during meetings, or volunteering. Many hands can make lighter work and create a better outcome for our kids and community.
Are you always successful?
Well, finding time for me is a struggle, my house is a perpetual disaster, and a date night – What’s that? A positive mindset helps when plans go awry; letting go of guilt, being ok with spilled milk and the bag of groceries you left in the car overnight. Going with the flow helps. Have breakfast for dinner if you want. Feed your faith and nourish your soul so your bucket is full enough to fill others counting on you.
Who is your role model for great life balance?
My mom is my role model. She volunteered, had a career, was involved on local health and human service boards, national boards in her career, and took care of three generations. Through it all she values faith, family, and friendship and works at all three.
Do you think that the role of mother has changed much over the generations?
It definitely has changed! We don’t have to hang the laundry on the outside clothesline anymore, but we have to Snapchat, Instagram, and Tweet. We have to watch out for our kids in their physical and virtual worlds. Two incomes are almost a requirement to get by. Our worlds are blended by our 24/7 access through our electronic devices. I don’t think it is better or worse, I just think it is different. Our lives are less private but more supported through social media. We have faster access and more information to raise our kids than we ever had. We need more information than ever before to meet the challenge of growing our kids to be ready for a future we haven’t experienced.
Where do you find your main support?
My husband is my number one supporter. I am so fortunate to have a partner who shares the load in every way, and doesn’t mind the things that don’t get done.
Callan family portrait courtesy of IH photographer, Michelle Enebo
I facilitate a workshop called “Infinite Possibilities” for moms (based on the book of the same name by Mike Dooley). The material is helpful because moms are the ultimate multi-taskers and we juggle (very well, usually) everything that life, family, and our to-do lists throw at us; but we don’t often take the time to deliberately think about how we can build our happiest life possible. One IH mom commented, “IP helped me remember that my happiness is just as important as my family’s happiness.” – Kerri.
In the workshop, we learn techniques and tools to build the life we want to live. The most important tool is our thoughts because they come first, then come our attitudes, our words and our actions. We get to choose all of our thoughts! But many of us worry about things that might happen – which is not useful at all! If we start thinking about what we DO want to happen and what we DO want to create in our lives we “flip your thoughts”. That positive, creative thought is powerful. “There is always another way to look at something. This concept has gotten me out of more than few funks I have been in and given me the positive power to have a better day for me equaling a better day for those around me aka the kids.” – Pauline.
Another powerful tool is perception. Our perception triggers how we are feeling, and we are all totally in control of our perceptions. If you don’t like how you are feeling, change the way you are looking at the situation! For instance, it is helpful to accept “challenges/problems” as learning opportunities and chances for growth. If we welcome challenges, we can use them as the tools that they really are. “I learned to take calmer approaches to parenting and other areas in my life, by visualizing what I want the result to be. It has also taught me to spend a few minutes thinking of my gratitude every day, which really centers me.” Patti
Goals and dreams are another important topic. Moms often think that their dreams are not important. IH mom Robin noted, “Infinite Possibilities helped me to find and set my own personal goals. As a stay-at-home mom for 15 years, sometimes you lose sight of them.” We each have amazing, unique talents, abilities, past experiences, passions (I call them our “superpowers”) that are special and are meant to be shared with the world. Your dreams are where all of these superpowers can be used to their highest purpose! If you have a dream (i.e. writing a book, getting a job, running a race, starting a business, re-organizing your home, traveling, etc…) there is always someone else (probably many someones) who will benefit from your dream coming true. Dreams are not selfish, they are essential to a happy life. Even your children will benefit– they will see a mom who is passionate, follows through on her desires, and is happier in the process!
Deliberately create a life to love with more happiness every day by employing small things. Think thoughts of gratitude. Look for the good in every situation. Appreciate where you are now. Be Happy Now! Take baby steps toward your goals/dreams every day. These are small steps give big results. “IP helped me realize that it’s not the big changes that will lead to my happiness but the small changes I can make in my everyday life that will make the most difference.” -Kerri.
I have a dream to create a “Mommunity” where we moms work together on creating our best lives, working toward fun & fulfillment instead of perfection, getting rid of worry, being happy in each moment, and then being an example of happiness and fulfillment to our kids. With each workshop with IH moms, I think we are getting one step closer.