Now six years into motherhood, I still feel at times like I am trying to figure this mom-gig out. If there is one thing I have learned, motherhood is a balancing act. Some days I am wobbling my way on a tight rope and I only hope the net below me is strong. At times I feel like I am mastering the unicycle. Then there are seasons in life where juggling is not my forte, the plates fall and some days they shatter. Still, balance is a word I find myself repeating, adding to my powersheets and trying to incorporate into my daily life.
Balance. A word that is used to define weight being distributed evenly. Often times when we hear the word balance it gives the perception of having it all together or seemingly having one’s life ordered perfectly. It becomes easy to put balance in the category as a nice ideal, but far from a reality in my current state of life. Still, balance is something the majority of mothers are probably saying they want to bring into their life. I have two hands raised over here, waving ecstatically!
Inevitably, we cannot do it all. As much as we would like to do everything and say yes to every opportunity for us and our children, adding more plates to handle will not bring about balance. If anything it will result in feeling stretched thin, agitated and burnt out. We can’t do it all nor should we expect ourselves to, and admitting that doesn’t make one weak or a failure.
When we talk about balance it is realizing that not everything in our life will be given the same amount of time and attention. As much as I want to carve out some time to exercise, I won’t be giving it the same time as I give to tending to my children. Each one of us have been given a specific mission, vocation and talents in life. While our vocation should be our priority, it is recognizing what elements in our life can assist us to live our vocation more fully.
As mothers we all know that no matter how much we plan, our plans change in an instant. Schedules juggled. A routine gets interrupted. The perfect balance act falls apart. At least that is what we perceive. Again, the reminder for me that having balance doesn’t mean perfection.
Another trap that is easy for mothers to fall into is thinking that having balance and self-care is selfish. That somehow if I begin to seek balance in my life I am ignoring my children, my family. As mothers we all have those “must haves” that help us to serve our families better. Realizing that and prioritizing that is not selfish. Our vocation calls us to give endlessly, to sacrifice continuously (day and night) and in that is beauty, even on the difficult days. But we are not able to give endlessly unless we have something to give, unless we ourselves are filled, renewed and refreshed.
While I can’t juggle everything, I am trying to put into place a few key practices. I think that by looking at two to three priorities and striving to incorporate them into my day to day or week will aid in the sense of balance. Even on the days when it seems the plates are shattering or nothing is going to plan.
What are three areas in your life that help you to feel the most alive, help you to thrive? Perhaps, this Lent is a good time to make steps to incorporate them into your life.