I had been feeling off balance. I wasn’t making time for all the important pieces in my life. Every piece was getting what it needed, but not what I felt I should be giving it. I had been so frustrated that, even with being at home, I wasn’t finding balance! We’re all told that balance is the ultimate goal. Every parent wants it, and most of us feel like achieving it is an uphill battle, that no one wins. I’ve felt this way for years. How do I balance home and work? How do I balance personal time and time with my family? These questions are the ultimate source of parent guilt.
Yesterday, as I sat on my deck, watching my husband teach my daughter to ride her bike, I had a sudden realization about life balance! We can’t try to measure our balance as though we’re using a scale, because life isn’t stationary. We have to look at balance in terms of riding a bike, because life is always moving forward. Energy has to be focused on one foot at a time, to keep a bike upright and moving forward. If we try to put equal energy on both pedals at the same time, we stop moving and fall over. The same, if we only put energy on to only one pedal. We have to be allowed to do this in our lives, as well; and, we need to be able to do it without guilt! We need to allow ourselves to shift our energy focus to where it’s needed at the time. I was once told that Fair doesn’t mean everyone gets the same, it means everyone gets what they need. I believe the same can be said for life balance.
If you need to take a week off family outings because you’re prepping for an interview at work, you do it! Your kids will be fine! If you need to refuse overtime at work because you’re planning a family day at the beach, do it! You’re boss will get over it, and you’re not the only one saying no! If you have to miss a night at the gym because you and your partner are due for a date night, you need to do that! You can make up leg day tomorrow! If you need to let the dusting wait so you can finally finish that book you’ve been reading, give yourself that! We can’t be everything to everyone! We can’t spread ourselves evenly over every situation always. As it stands, we’re going to miss daytime school events, pub nights after work, and other extras. The idea is that we don’t miss them all. We have to let ourselves be parents, employees, partners, and individuals when we need to be, without guilt. Because if we don’t transfer our energy to where it’s needed, when it’s needed, we stop moving forward!!