It occurred to me the other day, while surrounded by brimming piles of overstuffed laundry baskets, thousands of teeny-weeny pieces of legos strewn across the house like sprinkles atop an ice cream cone and a laptop whose cursor was condescendingly blinking back at me, just why, as a working mother, balance is so difficult to achieve — something by which finding the Holy Grail or the ever-elusive Fountain Of Youth might actually be more easily attainable. But to answer this question, it’s imperative to take a stroll marathon back down memory lane.
Once upon a time, when kids were a mere dream and my own comfort and happiness were an actual consideration, I had what I would have considered, a really balanced life. I worked hard and I played hard. I allotted ample doses of ‘me’ time as well as time for my friends and family. I focused on my professional achievements as well as personal ones. I read, watched, and wrote till my heart was content. I was for all intents and purposes, content and balanced, living a life peppered with variety and harmony.
But looking at that former life, however, it’s become blatantly obvious why my life is so out of balance now… I’m attempting to apply the same subset of expectations to a life that doesn’t even begin to resemble to my former one. I’ll never again exist in a world steeped in such freedom or solipsism. So why then, am I looking to it for answers on how to achieve it now?
Just as my role and responsibilities have changed drastically with the addition of each child, so too, does the need for my expectations in an effort to fully comprehend what balance actually looks like within the confines of such framework. Over time, a seismic shift has occurred, by which most of my day is spent tending to the needs of my children. Therefore, balance can’t mean having as much freedom as I do obligation, or dedicating as much time indulging my own desires (or even the occasional solo trip to the bathroom) as I do those of my children’s. The scales will always be tipped in the direction of my kids, and after all, that’s what parenthood is all about, rendering the theory of balance to be truly what you make of it and not at all about the actual evenness of reality. Motherhood catapults you into a new balance which while certainly does not favor me, overall, I favor it.