Pardon my french :-) (A whole 'nother post - or at least a Facebook post - is waiting to be written about my exploration into my use of profanity.)
Anyway. As I was saying. Balance... I'm done with you. I'm done obsessing with you, striving for you, feeling like I'm no good when I can't achieve you. Maybe some people can seek you and feel good about it, but for me (a recovering perfectionist) it just feels like I never can get you right.
You know what? I used to be good at finding you (or so it seemed). But that was when all I had to worry about was myself. You know, in high-school and college (and maybe a bit as a teacher... but even then it was a little difficult to keep you in my sights). As a student I was great at you-ing - keeping my grades up, playing sports, involved in music. I worked for the family business in the summer. I had plenty of friends. I had it all covered - mind, body, spirit, social life, academics, physical activity, creativity - you name it. When I graduated I picked my favorite professor to present my diploma to me and he called me a Renaissance Woman - YES! Doesn't that phrase just scream, "BALANCED!"??
But then again... maybe I never really touched you. Is seeking to be the "best" or being a perfectionist truly balanced? Is staying up to midnight to finish homework after basketball practice or waking in the middle of the night freaked out that you're not going to finish your work in time (so you start doing it right then in there, in the dead of the night on your bedroom floor) balanced? Is running till your knees ache and you can barely stand up in church for the hymns balanced? Hmmm...
And now as a mother I find my world always just a bit askew. My kids are a teensy bit older now so things are way better (and by better I mean easier) than they were four years ago or even two. Now I have time to write, I go on walks alone (every once in a while anyway), I regularly teach Hypnobabies, and I actually COOK meals (sometimes) And yet... I still find myself trying to catch even a glimpse of you in my days. But you remain ever elusive. My plan changes daily. I will get up early and walk. No, I will get up early and do yoga. No, I'll stay up late and write. Every day the book I'm (not) writing is in the back of my mind. Every day I think, I need to exercise more! Every day I feel like I need to give more to my kids only to realize I'm wanting to give more to myself.
I wrote a shit-ton about you (yes that is the precise, technical amount) last year. And now I'm declaring this the last time (for a while)! It seemed as if I had given up on you last year when I wrote about moving away from balance and towards flow, but you are a persistent will bugger. You didn't want to be evicted from my mind. Danielle LaPorte first gave me the idea that maybe you were a myth. And then my friend Jolette Jai (check out her Jai Institute for Parenting!) posted this on Facebook:
Don't strive for balance. Strive for excellence. Strive for that which moves you from inside. Rocks your world. Pulls at your heart and doesn't let go. Not even for a moment.
Yes! Thank you. So last night I'm lying in bed, but my brain was in spin mode (I guess when it's like that I'm wringing out ideas, because they were swarming my brain like mosquitoes on a hot, muggy summer's night) and the words "FUCK BALANCE" just came into my head. And it felt great! Of course, I felt a little fired up too, which didn't help with falling asleep, but still I felt relief.
Because you know what? It all goes back to this simple truth: no one can be all things, do all things, have all things. I guess some would argue that balance isn't about that. But that is what it feels like to me sometimes. I'm a mom who's homeschooling her kids. I don't have time to train for a marathon (but my friend Rebecca does - yay Rebecca!!) And other women don't have time to blog about the incessant stream of thoughts that runs through their mind. The truth is we have to make choices. Many of us modern mamas still have the message "you can have it all" burned into our psyches and it's simply not true. I slowed down on the blogging for a couple of months and it was perfect for the summer - we traveled, spent time with family and friends, and were outside a lot. And now here it is October and my writing juices are flowing. So that is what I'm doing. Someday my kids will be older, more independent, and even (gasp!) move out... and then I'll have time to write AND exercise consistently. But for now my method for shutting up the gremlins in my head will be a big "F-you" to balance. My measure for a good day will be how my family feels and whether we did things together and independently that bring us happiness. And once I calm down a bit, my gentler mantra will be, "Life is Lumpy, Let it Be."
So Au Revoir Balance - for now. Maybe I'll take a gander at finding you again when I'm a Grandma.
ps If you have creative ideas or tips for meeting everyone's needs and staying connected while doing so, I'm all ears. Just don't use the terms "Me-time" or Balance. ;-) Sound like semantics to some of you? Maybe. But I'm sold on the power of our minds and the words we use. You can thank Hypnobabies for that.
Wife, mom, information and peace seeker.