Never has there been such pressure as a Mum to achieve life balance and perfect parenting…
And while we are frantically trying to do it all, there is a new buzzword: balance. It’s everywhere….
There are whole books dedicated to it: Achieving Balance, How to Balance your Life, Balancing Work and Life.
Well I call bullshit. Yep. Bullshit on balance.
Balance means “a situation in which the different elements are in the correct proportions”. Sounds simple enough right? A worthy and achievable goal? Bullshit. Yep, I said it again.
Now I’m not sure about your life, but my list of elements runs something like this: me, my partner, 3 kids, 2 dogs, 18 extended family members, approximately 12 close friends, 2 jobs, school logistics, sports, hobbies, holidays…and that’s just the big overarching stuff. There’s also all the mundane day to day things (and anyone who says laundry for five isn’t a significant element to balance clearly doesn’t do it!) Plus there are all the life goals we want to work towards: being healthy, less tired, building strong relationships, pursuing our individual dreams, extending our home.
And here lies the problem with balance. Not only should we somehow be doing all of the elements at the same time but also doing the right amount of each. Apparently not only do we need to be doing the right things, but also the right amount of each of the right things. If this doesn’t create a sense of deep seated panic in you, you’re a calmer person than me. I think I’m on top of things if everyone has clean clothes, matching socks, a healthy lunch packed and recently cleaned their teeth by 9am in the morning. Anything on top of that is a bonus. So the idea of having all the rest of it under control, underway and in proportion? Unneccessary stress. Unneeded pressure. Bullshit.
So if we’re not aiming for perfectly balanced perfection, what then? Well I’d like to suggest a more manageable aim: making time for what matters most to me. How much time? Well that will vary day to day.
What matters most will vary too. Sometimes what matters is that my kids have clean jocks for school. Other times it’s important that I stop and spend time with each child by themselves to check in on them and their world. Sometimes I am working on me and my dreams. And sometimes I am simply pairing socks. Because all of these things are important to today and to the big picture that’s life. All of these things matter. And I may not be doing them all at the same time or in the right amounts, but that’s not what really matters. I am doing what matters to me, and there’s nothing more important than that.