If a genie in a bottle appeared to you right now, what would you wish for? I think balance would be at the top of the list for most working moms. The struggle to find a semblance of healthy balance between kids, marriage, work, family and friends, church, meals, cleaning, and other activities can be daunting… and don’t forget hobbies and sleep! I tell my husband often that I either feel like I’m doing a great job as a mom, a great job as a teacher, or (very, very rarely) a great job at managing our home – but never all at the same time. More days than not, I fight a general sense of overwhelm and guilt, and from talking to other moms, I know I’m not alone here. The picture above shows the
pristine cluttered state of my kitchen counters this afternoon after a super busy week of work gearing up for midterms and our normal family activities. The rest of the house sadly looked pretty much the same way. I did do a little cleaning tonight and plan to finish tomorrow, but I want to keep it real and show you that I’m preaching to myself as well! The struggle is real, friends.
Day-to-day life can leave us feeling like “balance” is just a mirage – or at least the way we envision it. I think one reason why achieving balance seems so impossible is that we never we really stopped and clarified what it looks like in the first place, nor identified the practical steps to get there. Balance is really about priorities, boundaries, and perspectives. It’s as much about what we’re saying “no” to as what we’re saying “yes” to. When we focus on trying to do and be “everything to everyone” (This always reminds me of the old Everclear song), we will either fall short or burn ourselves out in the long term. I know, because I’ve been there more times than I can count!
My Myers-Briggs personality style is Idealist (INFP), and I’m a classic firstborn – a people-pleaser and (recovering) perfectionist with big dreams and goals. Last fall, I had some health issues (which is another story for another time), and the Lord used that situation to lead me to a place where I sought out Truth to identify and make several necessary changes in habits that had created an unsustainable pace of life. I’m eternally grateful for the wisdom I gained during that time and for its positive effects in my life and our family. I’m not yet where I want to be in the quest for balance, but I’m thankful to be at a much better place than I was!
Do you struggle with balance as well? In The Best Yes, Lysa Terkeurst describes balance as “a tension to manage, not a problem to solve,” and says that we must first be honest with ourselves if we are to move forward in progress. Tomorrow, in Part 2 of this post, I’ll be sharing the questions I ask myself to get back on track when I’m struggling and some of my favorite resources on balance.