Finding “balance” and letting it go

I’ve had the word “balance” on my mind a lot recently, probably because the concept has felt elusive for a long time.

I try to grab hold of it by making the most of naptime and planning our days the day before, making sure we have a good mix of days in and days out, parent initiated activities and free play.

I sometimes successfully edge closer to it by going to bed on time.

I strategise for balance by sending my kids to a childminder (both girls for three hours one day and just the toddler for three hours another).

I’m pushing for balance by taking up running – I’ve been twice so far with a local group of mothers.

Yet I’m beginning to think that balance isn’t an achievable goal. Not for me, anyway. Not in any sense that’s total. There are days when the toddler doesn’t nap but clearly needs to nap. Days when I didn’t plan because…so many reasons…I just didn’t. Days when we don’t go out because I can’t face the effort of getting out and talking to other people. Sometimes that’s OK. Other times I end up wishing I had taken us all out.

Too many nights I lack the discipline to make myself go to bed when I should. Or I do but can’t shut my brain off. Sometimes I feel like falling apart just looking for that hole punch or that glue stick. I look around at all our stuff and want to throw it all away because I can’t find anything.

My children seem happy with their new childminder (a local friend from our church) but I worry every time I drop my nineteen-month-old off, just like I worried about her sister at that age. But I need the time and she’s so obviously happy there. So in a sense this gives my life some balance and in another it doesn’t.

It’s hard for me to tell whether balance skirts away because of something I’m neglecting to do or whether it’s, even at least partly, beyond my control. I find myself blaming myself for not feeling settled, for not always being happy, for not being all the things that it looks like good mothers, good people, are.

When I take it to God, I know that “balance” has become in my soul another word for “perfection”. And if I cling to it, I will end up beating myself with it. But that if I give it to Him, I can be free.


4 Comments

  1. September 23, 2015 / 4:42 pm

    Love this. I came to a point when I realised I was fighting so hard for balance that the thinking around it had become, well, unbalanced. I heard once that finding balance is like being on a see saw, you don’t expect it to remain flat. So if our energy is low and I make the decision to cancel an activity and stay in the house that IS me achieving the goal of balance 🙂
    Charlene recently posted..Advice from the Heart Linky – 22/09/15

    • September 24, 2015 / 7:43 am

      That’s a great way of looking at it, Charlene! I will remember that. x

  2. September 24, 2015 / 2:08 pm

    Before I got to the end I was thinking that perhaps you had confused balance and perfection – perfection is elusive and unsustainable but balance to me also means forgiving myself and understanding why things may not have turned out as planned as well as trying to gently align the elements in my life. I also think that balance can be misleading – for me the elements of my life aren’t all equal at any time but instead some have more focus and some less and this evolves and changes over time
    Muddling Along recently posted..Snippets from an offline summer

  3. September 25, 2015 / 2:08 pm

    Having been through periods in my life before when balance was just not an option, or anything near an achievable goal, I now know that my life now is far more balanced than it’s ever been before. I exercise, I work, I mother, I spend time on my own and with my husband. YET, it’s still a constant struggle to get it right all the time. And that’s part of the thing with balance, I think. It’s a constantly shifting thing and I do think it’s nigh on impossible to always get right. For me, my feelings of balance shift when I feel out of control. And, when you’re a parent, it’s just not possible to always be in control of everything. I think you’re doing a tremendous job of owning your feelings and striving towards at least an element of balance that helps you to enjoy life. And you’re right, part of the whole balance thing is knowing when to let go and stop striving and just give in to things. xxx

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