Striving for Balance

“I was on all the time before, I guess,” A long-time friend and client sighed when I called her about a missed conference call.  “Now it’s different.”

Yes, it’s very different, as she now tries to include the life-changing role of mother with the challenging, evolving, creative role she has held in the many years we have worked together.  It can certainly be overwhelming, trying to manage the changing facets of our lives.

Do I tell her how long it takes to find that balance, to work and parent?  How it shifts just when we get into a routine, sometimes subtlety, sometimes glacially? How even a minor shift can throw off the pace, change the day’s goals?  How I feel like maybe I have found it—a couple days a month—now that my oldest is 17?  Oh, and we all have a different center, and what is balanced for you  is confusing to me?

First, give yourself a break.  Let yourself get used to your new routine, enjoy quiet moments with your baby—they really do slip by before you know it. After time, you will find a balance of work, baby, partner, extended family, friends, pets, home, illness.

BUT, one day you might realize that you lost a bit of yourself along the way. I know I did, as did many of my friends. I wish someone had advised me to within a year try to remember what you love to do–or want to try– when you are not working, mothering, partnering, cleaning, shopping, erranding, sleeping.   Explore your mind, challenge your body,probe your soul and do not feel guilty for continuing your own journey through life.  It will give you peace, relief, joy, quiet. A smile.

I think that finding something of your own is so important to happiness, whether you choose to work outside the home or not, once you have kids.  We all know people who can only talk about their kids, their kids, their kids.  Boring. Yes, I want to hear about their accomplishments, their tragedies, their amusing moments.  But be able to converse about the world outside your home too.

“Don’t let your circle of friends get too small. Variety keeps life interesting,” that’s the advice I have given my kids since they were young.  And I live by that myself. C

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One thought on “Striving for Balance

  1. lasoeurmoi

    Ah, balance. Ever elusive and impossible with children, marriage, career, and ourselves. My women friends share the sensation of being lost – especially now that we and our children are older (though not as old as yours). This is a refrain I’ve heard so much of late, especially with the economy and country in a state of disrepair. But I also know this is also natural. That women feel a dislodging as our children to whom we give so much and work so hard for become happily more independent beings. And our focus changes. Back to ourselves and our potential. Refreshing but also scary and heady. And what next?

    The best conversations and connections I have with people may start with a discussion of perplexing parenting or spousal issues, but always end up talks of passions, intellectual and creative endeavors, politics, philosophy, and what’s next.

    And you are so right about remembering ourselves, our passions, and the things that give us happiness. We are important. We are not just parents. Not just spouses. We are individuals with great gifts, potential, laughter, deep and simple thoughts, and full of smiles. Despite the shit and beauty.

    I love your post. Thank you.

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