My family and I stood among dozens of spectators for 20 minutes and watched a man slowly and carefully transform heavy, odd-shaped rocks into perfectly-balanced works of art. It was breathtaking. No one in the crowd thought he could do it, but then we’d watch it happen right before our eyes.
We’ll be focusing on balance during the month of July at The Power of Moms — how to find balance when so many things pull on you and how to put your strength and energy where they need to be at critical moments.
Sometimes I feel like my life is one balancing act after another. Just when I’m finally feeling on top of things, my son will develop croup at 1:30 a.m., the dishwasher will break or my eyes will be opened to intense suffering somewhere in the world, and I’ll realize that my “dishwasher woes” are completely inconsequential in the grand scheme of things. As I’m deciding how to best balance my time and energy, I often feel like I’m staring at a big pile of rocks that simply don’t fit together.
Here are a few snippets about balance from our authors at The Power of Moms:
- “My 4-year-old is trying to learn to balance on his bike. He tilts to one side and the other. He screams, ‘Mom, did you see that?’ He is my last. I will only see this feat accomplished by my own child one last time. The dishes can wait, the clothes washer can be balanced later, the computer time can be put on hold, e-mails returned later and The Schedule delayed. I don’t want to miss the Best for Good. I want a more balanced life!” (Janette Wright)
- “One secret to finding balance ‘involves something we call serendipity. … Serendipity usually happens because of a crisis or a when you are least expecting it! It might be just getting a great idea because of something that one of your kids said or did. It might be just taking a minute to enjoy a gorgeous sunset. It might be getting a call from a long lost friend, just when you thought it was so important to accomplish something else. An annoying interruption by a child becomes an opportunity!” (Linda Eyre)
- “The biggest challenge is finding the right balance. The amount of time we have to ‘spare’ changes with the different stages of our lives. There is no perfect day where we squeeze everything in. Something usually has to fall to the background while we focus on something else. It would be tragic to tip the scale so much that we forget to enjoy the stage we are in now. Find joy and learning in the simple things everyday.” (Suzanne Christensen)
As I watched that man balance rocks on the beach, I learned a few things.
(1) Balance requires practice. This man was a professional, but it still took a considerable amount of time for him to find the exact balancing point for each rock. There’s no need to get down on ourselves when we’re stuffing juice boxes into lunch sacks while having a phone consult with the pediatrician and simultaneously mopping the floor with wet rags under our feet. Getting our lives under control simply takes practice.
(2) Balance is a temporary state. I didn’t stay around to see the rock towers come down, but one gust of wind or a powerful rainstorm, and we’re back at square one. Our family responsibilities will never be “settled” once and for all. One day you’re cooing at your newborn between bites of your dinner. The next, you’re discussing puberty with your 11-year-old while you fold laundry together. I don’t know why I feel like a failure when my life gets out of balance. It’s usually not because I did something “wrong,” but because the balance point has shifted.
(3) Balance is possible. I heard a dad in the audience whisper to his daughter when the last rock tower was completed, “See, Honey. You can do anything you set your mind to do.” It might seem impossible to have “Hallmark” family moments, balance your budget, get enough rest and pursue your mission in life, but it’s not. It won’t happen all at once, it won’t be easy, but balance (for rocks and for mothers) is possible.
QUESTION: When have you successfully balanced the important areas of your life? (Even if only for one day.)
CHALLENGE: Identify one change in your thinking (or in your routine) that can help you develop more balance this week. Then commit to making that change.
Photo by April Perry