Picture it: A Real Housewives cast member, ridiculously rich, impeccably dressed, glamorously coiffed, perfectly manicured, surrounded by housekeepers and nannies for one child, the back of her hand on her forehead, screeching the B-word. “Balance, Dahling! I must find balance!” That’s the image I get in my head when I hear moms grumbling about finding balance.
I hate the B-word. I think people just like saying it. Kind of how I like saying collective. Collective. Now that’s a cool word…but I digress. This infatuation with balance has become a fad, second only to reality TV. Rewind 30 to 40 years ago. Our mothers weren’t running from corner-to-corner desperately looking for this so-called balance.
If searching for balance has become your reality, then allow me to be the bearer of bad news—The Scales of Mommy Justice will never tip in your favor.
So stop looking for balance! It doesn’t exist. Let me tell you why.
According to Dictionary.com, balance is defined as “a state of equilibrium or equipoise; equal distribution of weight, amount, etc.”
Now apply that to your life. Imagine, for a moment, you were a pie. If you apply the definition of balance, everyone or everything in your life would be guaranteed an equal portion of you at the same time. But that’s impossible, as everything and everyone in your world requires you to show up and to show up fully.
Take my life for example. If we entertain the premise of balance, my pie would have to be sufficient enough to simultaneously sustain God, my husband, eight kids, my writing career, household duties, my parents, my close friends, community and volunteer work, myself…the list could go on. By the time I finish serving up equal pieces of myself, everyone’s slice would be only 1/24ths of a pie or less. That’s less than a sliver! The portions I would deliver would be balanced; however, my commitments would be severely neglected. Every obligation would only be getting a small piece of me. You cannot be fully present if you are only concerned about dividing yourself equally at all times.
Instead of slinging around the B-word on the regular, try the P-word.
When we set priorities and establish a schedule, we allow ourselves the time and freedom to be fully present and 100 percent engaged and connected with the task at hand. We don’t have to worry about sharing ourselves equally at all times, because whomever or whatever we’re focused on at that particular moment will get the whole pie.
So how do you prioritize? First, you have to realize that priorities can and should change daily, even hourly. When you set your schedule according to the level of importance, you establish order, ultimately eliminating the scattered, “unbalanced” feeling that multitasking can bring.
Did I just say multitasking is bad? Yes, I did. At least in most cases.
Consider this. If you are trying to read and answer emails while at the same time helping your son with his homework, then that’s a multitasking fail. What you should do is carve out a block of time in the afternoons when you can focus solely on responding to your clients and a block when you can give full attention to your child’s education. Now, if you go for a quick run or brisk walk around the parking lot while your daughter is in karate class, then that’s multitasking at its finest. No one is being neglected; no one is getting just a fraction of your attention, and you’re knocking out two fitness birds with one stone!
When you bring order to your daily life, you commit to devoting your best self to your obligations, even if a particular task takes only 15 minutes to complete.
If you are already prioritizing and scheduling and you are still feeling, dare I say, unbalanced, then the problem most likely is that you are not setting yourself as a priority. Glance over your schedule. Is your hair appointment listed? A mani? A pedi? A massage? How about coffee with a girlfriend?
Ladies, we must remember that we are important, too. Just as we owe it to others to show up fully, we owe it to ourselves, as well.
So set those priorities and include yourself. If you don’t you’ll be “unbalanced” and angry, and those B-words and P-words will morph into something altogether different…if you know what I mean.
Donloyn LeDuff Gadson is a writer, inspiration specialist and award-winning blogger. She is also the creator of KeepingUpWithTheCrazy.com, a blog that chronicles the craziness of day-to-day living in a family of 10. Donloyn can also be found at Donloyn.com.