Monday, March 7, 2011

Achieving--and Maintaining--Equilibrium, Part 1

Why do I feel the need to write about this?  Three or four different things have come up over the last few days that have accented the difficulty most of us have finding a balance.  These things got me thinking: do I feel balanced?  Is chatzos helping?  Please don't read that there is one way to feel balanced.  I acknowledge that everyone deals with their circumstances individually.  This is what things looks like in my life.

I know that the current term is "work-life balance", but I think that even those of us that chose to not work face balance issues.  When I say, "equilibrium", I am really referring to feeling like one is fully present and engaged in each of one's commitments-- no one thing is taking away from another.

I feel like I have been fighting a battle to achieve equilibrium for the majority of my life.  I am sure that if I asked the 16 year-old me what her major concern was, she would say, "How do I do everything that I want to do AND still have time to study so that I can get into a good college AND have time to work so that I can buy myself a car?" 

As I got older, the more difficult it seemed to achieve equilibrium.  Don't even ask if I felt "balanced" in law school.  And if you knew me then, I would prefer you keep to yourself your comments about the level of UNbalanced-ness that existed in my life. 

Later, after I was married and after DS was born, finding that state of Zen-- where I could be a perfect and present mother, an understanding and supportive wife, and a productive and enthusiastic employee-- seemed virtually impossible.  If I was doing well with one thing, another thing suffered.  Every working mommy knows this: You can't do it all.  At some point, something has got to give.  For me, this struggle was very difficult to overcome.  I hate not being GREAT at everything.  It ripped me apart to not be fully present for my son.  Likewise, I felt guilty about not being fully present for my job.  Sure, being a mom is very stressful and working under a quota is very stressful.  Sure, together the two are mind boggling.  For me, though, the struggle to do both well caused me just as much stress as the pressure from any one of my roles.

One of the reasons that I chose to stay home after DD was born (despite going from having a comfortable margin to being B.R.O.K.E.) is that I was just tired of the struggle to achieve equilibrium.  "Is this what life is about?" I thought, "Constantly feeling guilty that you aren't giving 100% to any of your commitments?"  For me, the answer was, "No."  One of my goals as a SAHM is to show my kids that equilibrium can exist.  To do that, though, I would have to find my own equilibrium!  Not an easy task, even without the stress of a job.

This is one of the reasons that the Chatzos Challenge resonated with me.  My family would see me working, a little bit each day, toward a goal and would never see me out of balance trying to get it all done in one day.  This is the role modeling I would love for them to have. 

Have I achieved equilibrium?  I think, yes.  Is it ALL from Chatzos?  Definitely not.  It has helped-- especially my experience last week-- more to come on this success--but so many other steps have really put me in a place where I can say, "Yes. I feel balanced."  

How did I get to this point?  How will I maintain balance?  I will try to visit this later in the week.

What do you do to feel balanced? 

1 comment:

  1. To feel balanced, I manage my expectations. Or I try to. Like you said, we can't have it all (perfect), so since I can't, maybe I can phase it back and instead of achieving perfect I can achieve another level that is actually do-able. So, I pick what I can actually achieve, lower my expectations, and constantly adjust so that I meet, or at least get close to meeting, my revised expectations.