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As you will see in the May issue of Connections (due out this week) we asked Issaquah Highlands moms for advice about how to balance busy lives with motherhood. We solicited them through the community weekly e-letter (sign up at www.isssquahhighlands.com/connect) and through Facebook.IssaquahHighlands (like us!). We learned a lot! This and other stories from Connections will be featured here in the coming weeks.

BALANCE
Motherhood is a balancing act, often striving to achieve perfection! It is an incredible learning experience; as the kids blossom into young adults, we are given endless opportunities to (re)discover ourselves. Ami Desai-Mehta

There is no such thing as balance, just choices! What matters is if it works for you and your family. Find your happy by spending your time where it feels right, at that moment. Be present. No guilt, no regrets! Kelly Rabin

Your choices in balancing motherhood and life/career are made best when you trust they are made with the right intentions. Deciding between two very tough options is never easy, so you DO know best, momma!! Prachi Vora

You don’t have to be perfect because you are already perfect in your child’s eyes. Don’t worry about keeping up with the Joneses; do what you can when you can and let go of guilt when you can’t do it. Annon

BREATHE
BREATHE! I breathe, and I make sure to do things that make me happy. I am a much better and more resourceful parent (and person) when I take time to do things that I enjoy and that “fill me up“. Kim Foster

Don’t feel guilty when you find that you have a quiet five minutes. Take advantage of it, sit down, close your eyes and do nothing!  Aimee Holy

I say: back to basics.  1) You can’t say yes to everything, so figure out what tops the list, and carve out time for that.  2) Don’t micro-manage the kids, just remember the freedom we had in the 70’s and 80’s, and keep your fingers crossed.  3) Be thankful and breathe deeply!  4) Find your therapy: a walk in the woods, a good book, a massage, friend-therapy, whatever floats your boat.     Teresa Cowan

A weekly class at Hot Yoga Experience to clear my head, a shared outlook calendar with my husband to keep our family life well organized (and make sure date nights and family time are in the books!) and a family vacation or project on the horizon to look forward to and plan together. Jody Turner

VILLAGE
Even with 16 years of parenting under my belt, I have yet to master the art of motherhood. I know I never will, nor do I want to. Learning from my kids, husband and friends is what makes me a “better” mom. There are times when I realize I need to step back and ask for help. We have amazing neighbors and we are always there for each other. Know when to ask for help-and always be willing to lend a hand. It really does take a village.  Stacey Sprinkle

Over the past 18 years of parenting and working, the most helpful learning has been that it takes a village. No one person can do it all so surrounding yourself with others who can support your success whether it’s family, paid help, workmates or friends, is essential. Realizing this and being able to ask for support and accept help has made all the difference in my success as a parent and in my career. Jennifer Molloy

DELEGATE
Read the book Cleaning House by Kay Wills Wyma. It gave me permission to release all laundry duties to my kids when they turn 7. My two boys now 9 and 14 have been doing their own laundry for two years now. They sort run the washer and dryer fold and put away once a week. I visit the laundry room twice a month when I do my own. My husband does his own as well. This gives us more time to have fun as a family and allows me to spend time Doing what I love and balancing my career. Brenda DeVore

DE CLUTTER
Keep out the clutter! I realized a few years ago that the less I had, the less time I needed to spend maintaining things that really weren’t adding anything to my overall sense of well-being or life goals. Every time your attention is drawn to a purchasing opportunity ask yourself: is this really going to make my life better? Sometimes it will, but more often it won’t. It can be hard to let go at first, but realize that in saying “no” you are actually saying “yes!” to filling your life with what really counts. In addition to having quality time for my family this simple process has allowed me to maintain a presentable home, build a business and participate in my favorite hobbies like community gardening and practicing yoga. Sarah Games

FOCUS b
Take time to make it a priority to focus on your family each and every day. It’s really OK if the house is a mess…..it can always be cleaned later. However, when later comes, you can never recoup those years with your family. The solution? Clean the house together, even if it’s not perfect. Renee Zimmerman

At one point in my career I found I was missing my son’s baseball games or not able to drive him to practice because I didn’t think I could miss work. What a nightmare.  Finally I opened my eyes and made the decision that I would miss no more games or activities no matter what (except for the rare unavoidable situation).  Work came second.  At first I thought my work would suffer but I don’t think it does.  I think I do a better job because I am happier.  Cindy McVay

I try to give both career and family my 100%. I have a demanding job that requires me to travel. I noticed that giving my kids 100% attention in the short time that I have with them helps.  Shazia Sadaf

Make a point to make “moments” with your kids whenever you can! Moments can happen in the car, at Starbucks or playing at home- moments become memories! Carrie

LOVE
I remember my mother telling me when I was younger, “A mother loves her children more than anything, she would give her life up for them”. I knew what she meant after I became a mother. I love my daughters with such am immense love that continues to grow each year. My heart fills with pride and joy when I watch them move through everyday life. Even as teenagers, I love to look at their faces and reflect on they how they have changed from babies to the current day. I have never had a greater gift as this love. Kari O’Neill

You never stop being a mum… even when your kids are 30 something, they’re still your babies, you worry about them all the time…even tho they don’t live with you anymore, they have their own homes, mortgages, lives…. and then you have your grandchildren too, and so it starts all over again! It’s what mums and grandmums…do 🙂 Lynne Trowern