By Marie Woodhead, Teach a Kid to Fish Board President
“There is no work-life balance. We have one life. What’s most important is that you be awake for it.” ― Janice Marturano
I often feel like a circus performer, balancing my family on my back as I walk on a thin tight rope across the Grand Canyon – wearing stilettos. Fortunately, for my family’s sake that is not my job. However, for parents in the workforce, it can feel like you’re on that tight rope not only balancing but dodging balls, and juggling as well. What keeps us from falling off the rope? Balance.
As a noun, balance is defined as an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady. As a verb, balance means to keep or put (something) in a steady position so that it does not fall.
I think it is useful to identify and nurture those things that balance our exceedingly complicated lives – the things that keep us upright and steady. These things are different for each of us.
Ironically, my job outside of my family responsibilities helps me stay balanced. Having more of my time occupied forces me to be more effective and efficient. It also reminds me that I am more than just a mother. I think I’m a better mom because I have the opportunity to nurture and develop my sense of self. (Also, I cannot lie; I do enjoy getting away from my “perfect” family once in awhile.)
My balance also comes from a few of my most treasured things – sleep, being active, and eating a balanced diet – which all help keep me in a steady position. My life is so much more rewarding when I am awake to encounter it plus I am more effectively and efficiently engaged. Kids learn by imitating their parent’s behavior. Your healthy balanced life will teach your kids how to have one as well. It is also important that our kids see us lose our balance occasionally, so we can show them how to regain it once it is lost.
What are the “balances” in your life?