Wanna know what it is? You can’t. Not know, that is. Have it. You can’t have it. You cannot have life balance. That is the secret. Not because you don’t need it, deserve it, or are not bright enough to achieve it. It simply does not exist!
Seriously. It doesn’t. I just figured this out. Today. And I must say I feel better. Relieved, even. It’s nothing I’m doing wrong that I can’t “get” this. It is simply not possible.
What is life balance? I think it’s something different for each person seeking it. Which is another reason why it can’t be pinned down. There could never be a single formula. For me, it means having all areas of my life—homemaking, homeschooling, fiction writing, blog writing, business—organized and executed with precision, control, and harmony. Planned and carried out smoothly. I don’t even mean “perfectly”—I mean somewhat efficiently. But real life never allows this. The little—and big—fires always creep in.
Ever lose a library book? We do all the time. (Note: It’s always a kids’ library book.) It’s the kind of thing that makes me lose my shizzle. It’s a time eater—looking for lost library books is a time-consuming monster. It is made more maddening because it is utterly unnecessary—if only they would simply put the books back in the designated library book basket it would never even happen! But noooooooooooooo. So then I must rant and rave about the lost library book. I mean, I don’t get mean or holler at them. But I do that annoying mom sing-song voice of reproach. You know the one. “If we could just put the the book back where it belongs, then this wouldn’t happen. I make a special place for all our stuff but everyone just drops everything wherever they want. And why are your markers all over the floor? And your Lego? This is how things get lost. Or broken. Or lost and broken. Or broken and lost. Bleh bleh bleh...” It goes on longer but I don’t want to give you a brain bleed imagining what it sounds like. You already know if you have a mother and were ever a kid. Or are a mother. (If you are innocent of this practice, I will personally sculpt a statue of you and lay flowers at its feet every Mother's Day.) As of now, I have not yet found that book. And, no, I have not stopped sing-songing. I’m trying. I swear. (Not really ... But I know I should and that’s the first step.)
The freakin' designated library book basket.
This sort of thing makes me nuts because I DO NOT HAVE TIME TO LOOK FOR FREAKIN’ LIBRARY BOOKS! Yes, I am yelling. (Sorry.)
Time is such a pain in the tush. (That’s Portuguese for “butt.”) There is never enough time to get everything done. Even when you try to plan it out, those little—and big—fires always creep in to screw up everything. Of course. In spite of planning, I never achieve everything in a day that I hope to. And I don’t generally over-plan—I truly do not. I try to keep the plans/to-dos moderate and draw on experience to set goals I have an actual chance of accomplishing. And even with this mindfulness, achieving the daily goals remains a challenge. Which returns me to the topic at hand which is life balance and the fact that you will never have it. Not until you are elderly and then you will probably feel like you have nothing to do. So what are we supposed to do about this?
I don’t have an answer but I do have an idea! Want to hear it? It’s kind of brilliant.
Just change your attitude. Yeah, I know—easier said than done. But it works. I know that I cannot plan effectively because there are simply too many variables and too many individuals with their own ideas of how time will be spent. For instance, sometimes a person simply must cry for 20 minutes about a paper cut whilst recovering in my lap. And any plans I made don’t matter an iota. Sometimes things like this happen several times a day. And no one can actually get out the door when Mom wants them to so that we can say on track. There is always one more drawing that MUST BE FINISHED or socks to be put on and someone is always starving and then everyone realizes that they are starving as well. Also, something is always lost. Always. Do you get where I’m going with this? So I adjust my attitude. I reframe.
On Sunday, I decided to sleep in a little which ended up being 9:00am (WHAT?!) and then I needed to make breakfast and clean up the kitchen and get supper going in the slow cooker. Then I wanted to visit Mem at the nursing home and Dad in the hospital (yes, he is back in there ... ergh ... but on the mend, so no worries), all of which took up a ton of my day. Yet, meanwhile, I imagine hours and hours of unfettered time unfurling wherein I can accomplish oodles and oodles of work. There has been no day like this since I have birthed these children that would indicate that such a day is likely. Except when they are not here. Except they are pretty much always here. Why do I think it will happen today? I am unnecessarily frustrating myself. Instead, maybe I could work in the time I do have available to me and adjust the tasks as needed. And most importantly, accept reality for what it is.
I know when the kids are grown and the elders have passed that I am never going to regret one moment I spent with them. So to lament “lost” time is the true waste of time.
This is a work in progress, people. I share my good ideas and then I fumble around attempting (and often failing) to execute them. It’s about trying. Although Yoda says do or do not, there is no try. Hmmmm ...
This kid just found the book! It was in the couch, although I could have sworn I checked there ... several times. She suddenly remembered her brother was reading it to them the other day. I shall sleep well this night.