Balancing: Is It All Just An Act?

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photo via freedigitalphotos.net

photo via freedigitalphotos.net

I’ve seen a lot of posts on other blogs lately, or comment threads in social media groups I belong to, discussing “finding balance.”

“How do you find balance as a blogger?”

“How do you balance your work and family life?”

“How balanced is your social media vs. face-to-face interaction with people?”

I’ve sought the answers to these questions, too.  I’m a mom. I’m a wife. I’m a writer. I’m a church secretary. I’m a Sunday School teacher. I’m a community volunteer.  And on and on… just like everyone else.  We all have a thousand various things in our life, constantly vying for our attention. Some of them are very important. Some of them are lower on our priority list. But they all have value to us or we wouldn’t include them in our lives.

But lately I’ve been thinking…  is balance all it’s cracked up to be?

Maybe it stared when I was watching the Olympics.  World class athletes don’t have balance.  They eat, breathe, and sleep their sport.

Then I started thinking about an author who spoke at a seminar I went to a few months ago.  He spoke about waking up before sunrise and writing. Then he went to his day job and on his lunch hour he wrote. He came home from work and he wrote. He ate dinner with his family and put his kids in bed and then he wrote some more.  Every day. For years.

Where does this idea of “balance” come from?

Don’t some of the best creations of the human race come from some fairly “imbalanced” people?

Isn’t there something to be said for throwing yourself – your entire being – into a passion?

In my own life, two things take precedent: My family and my writing.  I spend time deeply immersed in nurturing those two loves.  If that means that the floor doesn’t get vacuumed today then I’ll write in a pile of dog hair, but I will write. If it means that I can’t go out with my girl friends then I will sip my glass of wine (or apple juice, as the case may be) over a game of Candyland. Do I lack balance? I don’t know… maybe. Probably. After a recent visit with family during which time my every sentence had something to do with my husband, children or writing it was pretty clear.  Is that so bad? I don’t know…

What do you think? Is balance something to be sought or is it just an illusion?

Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?

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If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve! 

 

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14 responses »

  1. I think this is one of those cases where the problem is not the idea, the problem is that our understanding of the idea is flawed. Balance has a tendency to be used in place of the word equal…that this area of my life is equal to that area of my life, as if family is a tomato weighing the same units of measure as the apple of work. I think that is an incredibly flawed view of balance, which unfortunately, most of society seems to share.

    I like to think of balance in terms of chemical equilibrium, or even the simple physics of a lever. An incredibly heavy load can balance with a much smaller one, if you move the fulcrum. A ton of a reagent dumped into a solution will come to equilibrium given enough time. This is a different sort of balance…one where things are level, or they come to a place where they are stable–not where they are equal.

    I think too, the other mistake is applying the idea of balance externally, rather than internally. Balance should be found in how you feel about what you do, not how much time you spend doing them. And…I think its important to remember, when comparing one’s self to an Olympian, that it takes a team of normal people to support their efforts. Most of us could be great at something if we had a couple of people in the background taking care of the minutae.

  2. Love how Thalassa responded to this. I agree that we’ve come to thinking that balance also means equal. Not the case. Yes, balancing scales, perhaps, but not when considering the parts of your life. When you’re in mom mode, that takes precedence. When you’re writing, that’s in charge. Unfortunately, this balance business seems to fall harder on women, as men – by nature – are better able to let go of the things that aren’t working for them or fulfilling them. Which is why I take care of the bills, lol.

  3. Agree. Thalasa says it better than I ever could 🙂

    And as you said–we all struggle with balance, but at the end of the day, our definitions of achieving balance are vastly different. For me, balance comes from finding happiness in the things I enjoy doing. There will be days when work > everything else and I won’t have the chance to see my girlfriends for cocktails (or whatever). It’s not an intentional snub and they know that; we just shift things around so that we do make time for each other later. If too much time goes by and I don’t fulfill my end of the bargain (in this case, I never come through with my gfs), then I’ll feel a shift in equilibrium. Does that make sense?

    In any event, you obviously have so much going on in your life and a strong, beautiful connection with your family. You are balancing every day. Just make sure you take time for yourself, too 🙂

    XOXO and thanks for this.

  4. I don’t even think about balance. For me it is about survival! LOL Did everyone make it through the day? Yes? Then me time to blog LOL It is like my reward for doing my “day job.”

  5. I really appreciate this post. I’m only a year into blogging, but with three kids ages 3 and under (the youngest being only 7 weeks) I’m quickly realizing that I can’t possibly “do it all.” I’ve been feeling overwhelmed this week and have felt the need to figure out what my priorities are. But I like what you say about it being ok to throw yourself completely into what your passions are. Now I just need to figure out what those passions are (besides my family, which is my main priority).

  6. I think it is possible to balance what is important to us after we’ve filtered out all of the nonsense in our lives. I think the trouble is that people think they need to balance too many things. Keeping a pristine house and homeschooling and volunteer work and a full DVR and fitness and date night and. and. and. That can’t happen. There is not enough time and not enough oomph in one person to make that possible. But if you boil it down to what is important to you and what is best for you and your family, I think balance is possible. This gets me thinking about the people who brag about how busy they are and complain about how busy they are in the very same sentence. Great post.

  7. I also think of balance as being something more dynamic and it isn’t really necessarily the kind of thing where we have things looking perfect or balanced according to some external standard, but rather, like you say finding a balance within your passion. So vacuumed floors each and every day are only crucial if vacuuming is what you love…right? At least I’m thinking about the laundry that’s sitting in a basket still and thinking so.

    i’m glad to see a different kind of perspective on this. thanks.

  8. I don’t think balance is possible. I think of a little of this and a little of that. Some weeks, I can devote my time to writing and my blog. Other times, I devote my time to my children and husband and barely touch the blog or write. It’s just what it is. I dedicate the time where it’s needed. I do what’s necessary and beyond that I do what I can. Thanks for sharing with Turn it Up Tuesdays!

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