If there’s one word I struggle with the most, it’s “balance.”
I have come to the conclusion, after years of searching through sweaty palms and skyrocketing pulse rates, that there is absolutely, undeniably, no such thing.
Do you know ANY mom who has her days perfectly planned and executed with predictable pursuits?
Our lives are in a constant state of UN-balance. Parenting is not predictable. When you have kids, you officially enter the Casino of Kid Rearing, where you will spend your days throwing the dice to see what kind of day you’re going to get. No one ever knows.
It simply is what it is.
As I sit here writing this, I am actively neglecting all the other areas of my life in desperate need of my attention. My house is a disaster, my basement floor is flooded with dirty laundry, and my kids are hungry, constantly bickering, and demanding my attention. I have a birthday party to plan, a cake to bake, and the school forms have piled up along with countless other to-do’s on my list. I will probably get one or two things accomplished before the day is over, leaving several other things in the dust.
Let’s just hope the kids get fed.
Us moms have developed the fine art of managing the constant chaotic life of raising kids, working, maintaining relationships, and developing new pursuits outside of our homes.
I don’t know about you, but I have yet to master this juggling act. One ball rises in the air as the others fall to the ground. I look at the balls that landed on the ground and shake my head.
Every single day.
One morning, I stood at my kitchen counter, staring at my ridiculous scribbled list highlighting all the sorely neglected areas of my teetering, UN-balanced life. My palms got sweaty and my pulse began to quicken as I felt overwhelmed to the point of paralysis.
That’s when it hit me. I must stop this agonizing battle for balance. I will never ever ever ever live a balanced life. Countless speeches, books, podcasts, and articles instruct us on finding balance in our busy lives, and how balance will bring a person sanity and peace. This expectation – this phenomenon of trying to achieve an impossible goal– does nothing but stress us all out more.
How do moms live a balanced life?
So THIS is my new goal:
To live in the state of UN-balance and actually be OKAY WITH IT. To not feel like a failure from the constant slathering of “You need balance in your life!” coming from all the well-meaning, charismatic coaches and mindful mentors who claim this is the key to happiness.
Every single day, things will be sacrificed to free me up to follow through on other things. The needs of our children rise and fall in no predictable pattern, and we must be flexible enough to bend our plans to meet them. The scale will be off, the pie chart will never be evenly split, nor does it need to be.
Life is unpredictable, kids are unpredictable. Likewise, parenting will never be predictable or nicely tucked into a neat package of orderly balance.
Often, when my world tilts way off its axis, it means I’m really living, with a passion that naturally releases my grasp on the reigns of control. When a riptide pulls me away from the steady current of life’s best laid plans, I experience some extraordinary moments – moments I never would have found had I clenched my teeth down hard on that ever-elusive “balance.”
If we spend our lives reaching, stretching, fighting to achieve that ideal, we’ll assume we’re not working hard enough. If we spend our lives believing that balance brings peace and prosperity, we’ll feel like failures because our slippery, sweaty mothering hands can’t grasp it…
And then we’ll have completely missed out on the true ebb and flow of life.
That’s where the good stuff happens, where parenting is at its finest.
And I’m willing to bet, you really do, too.
The original version of this post was first published on Parent.co. Visit TheMomCafe.com for more posts on motherhood by Christine Carter.
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