Thursday, June 25, 2009

Does Balance in Life Exist?

Before I had children, I would've definitely answered yes to this question about life balance. I had my life pretty well compartmentalized: Fitness, Family, Career, Romance, Finances, Friendship and Personal Growth. My sense of well being hung in the balance of how well I was traversing these different areas of my life. If one area seemed to be neglected, well then, I'd just take a weekend or so to tweak my schedule a bit. Call up a friend, take a trip to Borders for a book, or hit the gym. Voila, all was well.

Now, on the other side of motherhood, things are looking mighty different. I started thinking about this recently, having had my second child. It's dawning on me, as I move past the survival months of newborn life.

With a clearer head, I look at my life now as a mom of two. I simply don't have that many hours in a day or work week to be "balanced". There are trade offs I'm having to make on a day to day basis. If balance is what I'm after, that would be pretty depressing, chasing after something that's more of an ideal than a reality.

So no, my answer now is more a shade of gray. Even inching over to "no" if I was feeling a bit rebellious on a given day.

After all, two kids plus a household. What do I get? A life that continually loves to move towards chaos. Just check out my laundry basket, my recycling and garbage cans, my shopping list, my emails, and my calendar.

You see, I'm finding out that "balance" is a bit misleading goal at this point in my life. Balance conveys some sort of steady state, where everything has equal weight.

Time is precious and I don't want to be running around trying to be all and do all. It might look like I can on paper. But, I know where I'll end up. Feeling unfulfilled, I would have given a little of myself to everything, but not fully invested in anything.

Now is the time to embrace what is important to me and pick my priorities. I'm not so concerned about balance any longer. A better fitting word is alignment.

Yes, alignment resonates with me. If I can look back on my day or week and see a series of moments and activities that align with my heart's desires, then it's been time well spent.


Frank Marcopolos said...

Hi Bonnie, I like your distinction between balance and alignment. For a hectic life, it seems more apt.

Bonnie Gray said...

Thanks, Frank. Maybe life might look different in another season of life. For now, it's all about trade offs.

Frank Marcopolos said...

Yeah, it seems that way to me, too, but I don't think that ever really changes. Everything has a cost associated with it in some form or another, whether it be time, money, attention, or some other form of currency.

Rose said...

Just don't lose sight of the fact that those priorities can shift in an instant. One day it'll be the laundry and the next a child who needs a hug.
Letting go of the quest for balance has been the closest I've ever come to being in balance.
Loved your take on this!

Bonnie Gray said...

That is a good reminder, Rose. I think that is why motherhood is SO hard. I get pulled in so many different directions day to day, that calls a different side of me to come out.