Until I had my daughter, balance didn’t seem that hard to achieve. I was balancing competing needs and desires, sure. But they were all mine.
Now, I’ve got to balance hers and mine. Some weeks, something’s got to give.
I’m coming off one of those weeks. I felt perpetually stressed and harried. I was working on a revision for a book (I’m a writer as well as a therapist), on deadline, and shockingly, it turns out that 15-month-olds do not respect deadlines.
And just as shockingly, I was getting stressed out and irritable with my husband, even though he was doing extra with my daughter in order to give me more writing time.
(So let this be my apology–and my thank you–to him.)
The thing is, my husband and I are both in motion all the time, it feels like, and there is still more to do, and organize, and plan. Welcome to parenthood, people like to say, with a knowing (and just slightly snide) smile.
But do they find it as perplexing as I do, that one little person can cause such a domino effect in our lives, that she can alter our entire experience of time and of ourselves? Sometimes I look around, and I find it all to be unrecognizable.
This is not a complaint, not exactly. It’s more of a curiosity. How does this happen?
But back to this past week. I was trying to balance what I want to do in order to get my family ahead (in the form of the book), with the immediate needs of my daughter. That led to another inevitable question: What gives?
I wrote in an early post about how I’m not a believer in the notion of having it all, per se. I’m a believer that we can have it all some of the time, through a delicate balancing and re-balancing. We have it all by sacrificing some things to others, by figuring out the right trade-offs in any given day or week or month.
But sometimes, it’s hard to even figure out what the right trade-offs are. There’s no time to think about that, on top of everything else.
Only we have to, or else we’ll find ourselves chronically out-of-whack, and off-balance. Becoming mindful of the process and stepping back from it in order to reflect is especially crucial in times of stress (the times we’re least likely to feel up to the task.)
Just another one of those parenting paradoxes, I write, with a knowing (and not at all snide) smile.
Rock garden photo available from Shutterstock