Balance: a state of equilibrium or equipoise; equal distribution of weight, amount, etc.
When I was a kid, my mom signed my sister and I up for gymnastics. This was huge. I grew up on the farm, oldest of a large family, and we didn’t get to do a ton of extra-curricular stuff. We all took piano lessons, but there just wasn’t the opportunity for a lot of extra stuff, so when gymnastics was offered, we jumped at it! It was pretty basic – rolling, balance beam, stuff like that.
You know, the Olympic gymnasts make it look so easy – just waltz across that balance beam, and off you go. You know what? It’s not that easy. Doing more than just walking is a little difficult. Turns out I don’t have that much balance.
Balance is tough. Especially when you’re a tall, definitely awkward elementary girl.
I remember introducing solid foods to Katie when she was a little girl. She loved peaches, sweet potatoes, carrots – she ate them so well. I was pretty sure I had this new mom thing down pat. She didn’t love beans or peas, but, no big deal, right? She was doing great with other vegetables – like carrots and sweet potatoes.
Did you know if you only feed your child carrots and sweet potatoes, their nose will turn orange? It’s true. The tip of her cute little nose started turning orange.
Again, balance. While carrots and sweet potatoes might be perfectly happy for a child, they also need beans, peas and other-colored vegetables.
Balance. It’s a hard thing to achieve, you know. And right now, it’s something I desire more than a lot of other things.
I think most people who work outside of their home understand this – trying to find time to keep up with the never ending list of things to do at home after work is done.
But I dare say that working moms get this even more. Trying to find a way to balance working outside of the home while still running a household.
I have decided that it’s actually impossible, and that frustrates me immensely. As the director of a not-for-profit organization, I don’t have a typical 9-5 job. It’s the kind of job that I could be at 12-14 hours a day, and still have stuff to do. It sticks with you when you go home. It involves evenings and weekends.
And I love it.
But after a full day in the Centre, I go home to my other job – my real job, as a wife and a mom. And that too, is more than a full-time job. It’s 24/7.
So, how do you do two jobs that require that much focus? That much time? And beyond that, how do you do them both well? I feel like I am constantly doing a half job at everything I do, because I just can’t give anything the focus it needs.
While I’m at work, there’s still appointments that Katie needs to be at, calls from doctors and therapists. John still needs to get to work and kids need to get home after school. There’s not freedom to stay for an extra hour after closing to get some stuff done, because there is a family waiting for me to make supper.
But when I’m at home, work is there. There’s evening meetings that leave my kids at home alone. There’s calls and texts from work during family movie night. There’s weekend commitments that have taken our family to churches all over Southern Alberta.
So how do you balance it? How do you do each well?
I think this is a struggle, though, for every mom – if you work outside of the home or not, because there is a constant struggle between being a wife and a mom. This is something I’ve really been working through lately, especially since it’s gone from just being me and the kids to now being Terry, myself and the kids.
Again, a situation where each need such focus, so much attention. But how do you balance it?
I love to spend time with my husband, especially when we get to get out of the house for a bit. But, doing that leaves 3 kids sitting at home. So, being a good wife = being a bad mom, or at least that’s how it feels.
But it goes the other way too. Something that’s developed in our home is that I have a Netflix series going with each of my kids – a show that we’re watching together that we only watch together when the others aren’t home.
For Katie, it’s Gilmore Girls – we’re on Season 5. John and I have started watching Heroes, since the second season of Gotham isn’t on Netflix yet. Nathan is the child who’s home most on the weekends, and we’ve been binge-watching Merlin. It’s a fun thing and I love having this. But, for every time I choose to sit and watch tv with one of the kids, I’m saying no to Terry.
Again. How do you balance it all?
This happens as soon as you have more than one child. How do you balance between kids? This has also been a big thing for me over the past year. Katie’s health concerns have demanded the bulk of my parenting attention, and I’m so thankful for boys who have gone with the flow. But I’m constantly trying to be intentional with the boys, making sure that they are getting the time and attention they need as well.
This is the constant tension I live in – feeling pulled in so many directions, feeling like I’m not doing anything well, because I’m trying to do so many things. And I really hate not doing my best at everything. I take a lot of pride in any job or task I do, so it’s unsatisfying to me to feel like I’m just barely coasting in everything. And these are just the big parts of my life – this doesn’t even take into account being a friend or a sister or a student. All that has to get put in there somewhere too.
So, I’m still tall, thankfully a bit less awkward, but balance is still a struggle. I don’t know what the answer is – I really don’t. For now I just keep trying…and running….and just doing the best I can. I mean, that’s all I ask of my kids – why am I expecting more of myself?