There’s a lot of talk about balance floating around out there. Work/Life balance in particular always gets me thinking, and when I try imagining work/life balance, I think of spinning plates and tipping scales and running back and forth trying to keep them all perfectly aligned or it will all come crashing down.
Trying to maintain “balance” makes me see myself as frazzled, and it feels like an impossible goal to attain. In an ideal world, balance would mean that we are able to give our all to everything that is important to us, all of the time. But we don’t live in an ideal world, and if we are always giving 100%, then we are going to burn out very quickly.
I don’t believe in balance. I believe that life ebbs and flows and that there are periods where certain things take precedence over the others.
There are periods in time when work will be the focus over a lot of things - if you’re an accountant, for example, tax season means your scales are dangerously tipped towards work. For a photographer, the holiday season or wedding season may mean that you are spending less time than usual with your family.
If you have a new baby, your baby will probably take importance over your job and household duties.
If your marriage needs work, then it might be time to have someone watch the kids more often than usual so you can work on that aspect of your life.
And you know what? It’s okay.
It’s okay to lean in to work in that busy season because heck, it’s what’s paying the bills.
It’s okay to absorb your newborn and all their snuggly yumminess because guess what? They can’t take care of themselves.
It’s okay to leave the kids behind for an extra date night because you and your spouse need to reconnect just a little extra this month.
And it’s also okay to need time for yourself and to do something for you.
I get this question often on Instagram - “How do you do it all?” And my response is always as honest as possible. I don’t! During my busy season as a photographer, I definitely pull back from kid/house/volunteer duties. When it’s my off season, I’m giving my husband and kids as much focus as I can. Sometimes there are several blogging events in a row, and that takes the forefront. And sometimes I see that my marriage needs a little extra lovin’, so we’ll schedule an overnight with the grandparents or set up a couple of date nights. Sometimes I need to take care of myself, too, so I do whatever it is I need at the moment. I also have someone who cleans my house once a week, and I have a meal delivery service for myself and the kids, and a husband who does a lot, too.
If I wasn’t honest with people about that, I can see how they might think that “I do it all,” but it’s not fair to any of us, myself included, to think that. So the next time you wonder how you can balance it all - stop. Think about what in your life requires the most attention at this moment, and lean into that. Stop feeling guilty for it, and let it flow.
Eventually, you will find a balance - but don’t let yourself think that balance means that work, your home, your family, your faith, and your friendships will all be in alignment all of the time.
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