If I told you to walk across a tightrope, I’d even give you one of those long poles for balance, would you do it? No, you don’t get to practice. Yes, it might start raining. Yes, objects could be flying around while you are going across. Ready, set, go! What? Does it seem like it would be impossible to keep your balance through all those obstacles? You’re probably right. What if I rephrased it to say, as a parent you should be able to achieve balance - are you ready to walk the tight rope now? Here’s the thing, if you don’t find balance you’ll be followed around by the guilt that there is more that you could be or should be doing.
How did we get here? Research has shown that parents are more involved with their kids today than any other generation. No, that is not a typo; we are MORE involved with our children. So why do we have these expectations that there should be more that we are doing. Pinterest has upped the ante that having chocolate cake and vanilla ice cream is no longer enough for a birthday party. No, you have to have a specially decorated cake that matches your table-scape, which goes along with your theme, games and party bags. Do anything less and the guilt starts to creep in.
We strive for balance that we know is impossible, but yet we drive for it anyway. We feel as if we are the only one who is unable to do it. You look around and think that they have done it, why can’t I? But in reality none of us are doing it, no one is achieving the perfect balance that we all perceive we should be. Where did this definition of balance come from anyway? The next time you find yourself feeling guilty about how you are spending your time take a minute to figure out where that expectation came from. What is it that is making you feel guilty? Don’t stop at the first answer that comes to your head, really think about it and get to the root of the belief.
Balance is something that only you know what it truly means for you. There is no right answer, only the definition you create for yourself. The challenge is that many of us don’t take the time to create that definition for ourselves. We let life happen and by doing so we accept whatever definition comes our way. Trust me it’s not as daunting as it sounds. If you take the time to decide what is really important to you using your heart as your guide, you will never go wrong. It will help you prioritize the things that really matter. It will help you see the value in taking time to do the things that fill you up and bring you joy.
Achieving balance is something that may change day by day or even hour by hour. What looks like balance today, may be the complete opposite of what balance looks like tomorrow. And you know what, that’s ok! It will never be perfect and will never look exactly like someone else’s balance, so give yourself a break J.
I started writing this blog because I wanted to have deeper conversations beyond "How are you?", "Busy", with other parents. Over the years I've shared personal stories, articles, authors and topics to facilitate conversations with parents about the joys and the challenges of parenting.