Ten years ago, “balance” was the buzz word spoken in professional circles as I was coming up in IT. Seeing the success of women like Sheryl Sandberg and Ariana Huffington, working women couldn’t help but wonder how they balanced family, relationships, careers and time for self. Women seemed to be ascending into higher professional ranks and for the lot of us desiring to the same, we were hungry to confirm that nothing would have to be sacrificed in the process.
However, time is one hell of a teacher and what time has taught me is that “balance” is a real as the tooth fairy.
I didn’t know that 10 years ago, so I tried to do all of the things. But any mother who has tried to be the doting and present parent, while advance in their careers, finding time for yoga and self-care, sleeping eight hours a night, and occasionally, seeing friends – knows the feeling of failure and, inevitably, mom guilt when all these things are pursued simultaneously.
The Cambridge Dictionary defines balance as “a state where things are of equal weight or force.”
When considering this definition, the pursuit of balance or trying to do all the things “equally” is just plain unrealistic. And that’s why I’ve long given up on creating balance and instead opted for something more achievable – harmony.
In music, harmony is achieved when musical instruments or voices are combined together to achieve a pleasant sound. It doesn’t mean that every instrument or person has the same role. It means that every instrument or person has a specific role to play and depending on the song or part in the song – their role may appear more or less consequential.
If we extend this to how we think about parenting – all of a sudden, it’s not about trying to do it all at once. It’s instead about figuring out the harmony of your work-family-life.
A quote that has always stood out to me is by the author Nora Roberts who once said, “the key to juggling is to know that some of the balls you have in the air are made of plastic and some are made of glass.”
If you ask me, that’s what parenting is all about. Figuring on which of the many balls in the air are priorities and letting the song of that season be led by those things.
This is step one in moving away from parenting guilt. Step two is acknowledging that to still find the right harmony – to keep the glass balls in the air – you need support. The support aspect is why we built Hello My Village. You see, parenting can easily be the only focus every season but the harmony of our lives are immediately threatened if nothing else gets its moment to shine.
So, I say, let’s start building the support systems we need today. And comment below with the 2 or 3 balls that you’re striving to keep in the air this season. That is, what’s leading the song of your life right now?