Growing up, my parents divorced when I was eight. My brother and I lived with my mom, and she raised us on her own. Which meant she worked all the time. And we barely saw her.
A Different Time
Since I was raised by a single working mother that left me in charge of my brother before and after school from about fourth grade on. I am almost certain a lot of my anxiety comes from being the one to get us out the door and to the bus stop every morning. But my mom did the best she could with what she had. However, I knew if I ever had kids I wanted a career that allowed me to be the one to drop them off and be the one to pick them up. I also wanted to be able to go to as many school things as I could. My mom could never chaperone or come to school parties. I wanted different for my family.
Trying to Balance it All
I have held a job pretty much full time since I was fifteen. Shout out McD‘s for being my first real employer! There was a time in my early twenties that I didn’t work for a few months, but I also didn’t leave my house. I think that was something to do with me being depressed not my work ethic. Anyhow, I knew that being a stay at home mom wouldn’t really work for me, not to mention once we had kids not working was not even an option. So I have always been upfront with my employers that I need flexibility when it comes to my kids. Sick days, Holidays, in office hours, whatever. Except that is a tricky landscape for me navigate because of the guilt I would feel when not in the office. Or the guilt I felt in the office because I couldn’t pick my kids up or go on a field trip. So after eight years, I am working from home, which requires a whole new balancing act. Like when to turn the computer off or put the phone up.
Parenting, no matter what else you do, work from home, go to work, don’t work, work on the moon is hard. Trying to teach little hybrids of your partner and yourself how to do life can at best be maddening some days. And I know we hear and see it everywhere. Life is about balance. You must have balance to succeed. Meanwhile, we scratch our heads muttering “how the eff are we supposed to find balance?” Well, my friends, I am no guru, and I don’t play one on tv, but I do know you can find a way to live a happier life. Am I twirling around singing every day? Absolutely not. But by learning where to give and where to take, helps me deal when things implode. I have no idea what makes up the specifics of your life, but I am sure you are probably a lot like me and want to do the best you can. Be the best version of yourself for you and your family. And if I can feel like I am better than I was a year ago or even six months ago, anyone can.
Learn to Let Go
In my life finding balance meant letting go of things and people that were not serving me. It wasn’t instant; it took some work to get there, and it was hard. And also so worth it. It allowed me to be more present for the things that mattered. Every day I have to choose to do the things that will lead me to the life I want. It just doesn’t happen. Mornings where I don’t feel like doing anything, I can either crawl back in bed and accomplish nothing. Then deal with the guilt and consequences of not achieving anything. Or say okay, let’s do this one thing, and then you can have twenty minutes of free time.
Balance doesn’t mean all parts are equal. You may have to lean this way or that to get it to work. It’s like a recipe. You have to make it to your taste.