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Balancing Act

I opened my inbox this morning to a letter from a woman who reads my blog often.  She writes me every once in awhile to let me know when an article or design has touched her- and, truth told, it’s like vitamin E for my soul. Definitely a great way to start the work day.  What stuck her and moved her to write me on tis day was a term I use often- “unbalance”.

I am quite fond of saying that I embrace unbalance.  What’s funny though is that you wouldn’t catch me saying that when I was in my early 30’s, a new mom with a career I was desperately trying to hold onto.  I worked so hard to balance it all. Family, motherhood, marriage, friendships, home, self, health, fun.. dear Lord, I’m getting exhausted just writing all that down! I don’t know when it hit me, it was really a gradual understanding, like a sunrise. Rays of acceptance spreading across my everyday slowly and gently- warming to the fact that balance is not what I needed.

I needed unbalance.  I needed to understand that in the course of any given day, I could not give things equal attention. I could get about 70% of what I needed to get done.  And some things, always, no matter what, needed undivided attention.  In the 90’s, “multitasking” was a big thing.  Doing lots of things at the same time. Sometimes, it makes sense.  Waiting on line- great time to read a book. Driving in the car- good time to listen to the radio. But, sitting with the kids at the park. nope. I needed to focus.

Diving my attention between the little guys running around in front of me and a magazine or book- meant I would miss out on the moment playing out right now. When I call someone to catch up on the phone, I came to understand the conversation was so much more meaningful when I gave it my full attention. there are some moments that can not be lived unless you are 100% present in them.  Maybe that would mean I couldn’t “do it all”.  But I’ve come to accept that’s OK.  I may have a great day at work and have a terrific dinner planned for the evening- but guess what? The laundry pile will have to grow a foot or two.  Or maybe all the chores will get done, and I will take some me time to just refill my creative cup – and I wont get to clock in a full day of assignments done.  I may have a terrific day getting home and work balanced- but, I’m doing it all in yoga pants and not a stitch of makeup. I do work extra hard to make sure the kids don’t ever get relegated to the laundry pile- but sometimes, I have to ask hubby to take them out for a few hours so I can focus on something else.

Unbalance is OK, because in the big picture, the long run, everything gets the time and attention it deserves. And something terrific happens once we accept this.  Not in a defeatist way mind you, but in a calm embrace. The ones we love accept it as well.  Not to sound self important, but I believe the women in the house really set the emotional tempo of the home.  If we are running around juggling it all and plates are crashing down around us- it creates a dark veil of stress that ways heavily on everyone around us.  But- oh! What a great lesson for our children to learn from us that perfection really only exists in a relative way. Perfectly unbalanced.  It’s the perfect way for me to “do it all” – and to to make the everyday life of doing it joyful.

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