Everyone tells us we need balance in our lives. But what is it? And how do we get it? Perhaps most importantly, how do we ensure balance for our children?
Many people hear the word balance and they think of crazy yoga poses, and to be perfectly honest, that’s where the inspiration for this post comes from. One of the things I try to keep in the balance of my life is physical activity, including yoga.
And this past week, I found myself falling over way more than usual. It was one of those practices where I felt like I just couldn’t get anything right. When I really got to thinking about it, however, it wasn’t just yoga where I had been falling over.
The whole week had been full of stress: schoolwork, work deadlines, running around, a friend in crisis, etc. This yoga practice was the first time all week I had even made time for myself at all. And that was exactly the problem.
Balance can be defined as a “state of equilibrium or equipoise.” It’s important, I think, to find what exactly that equilibrium is for you. Sometimes it seems impossible to carve out any time for myself when I’m working a demanding job and raising two kids on my own – but it’s important. Having that time to unwind, in whatever way works, makes me more focused at work and a happier, better mom.
Also, while I want to spend as much time having fun with my kids as possible, it’s also important that they see me doing the things I enjoy, sometimes apart from them. Knowing that I have interests and hobbies makes them feel it’s OK for them to have the same. Discovering independent interests gives us something to share with each other as well.
Balance is also defined as “mental steadiness or emotional stability.” I think that the first definition (equilibrium) definitely contributes to this one! For me, balance means that I find some time to do the things that I enjoy, independent of kids and work.
Then, when I’m at work, I’m all work; but when I’m with my kids, I’m MOM, and that’s it. If I have to bring work home with me, I save it until the kids are in bed. But really I try to get everything done before I ever leave work – because then kid bedtime can be ME time.
I try to set the example for my kids of “work hard, play hard.” We get our work done – whether that be meeting a deadline at the office, or finishing homework, or doing chores – and then we let loose. It’s all about balance.
Stacy Lamb of Apex is the divorced mom of two. She is an active member and former organizer of Single Parents of the Triangle. Find her here monthly on Wednesday.