A few weeks ago I wrote about juggling. Now as I continue to have all these balls in the air, balance seems to be a more prevalent word on my mind. How do I balance it all? What are my priorities? What in my life is getting the most time and attention? What in my life needs more? What needs to be cut out altogether or at least cut back on? Being a mom, a parent, a human being is a balancing act, it’s not always a matter of juggling. And while juggling is a pretty cool skill to have (both real balls and figurative ones), I can’t help but think how much better a balanced life is than a juggled one.
The definition of balance as a verb in the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is 1- to bring to a state or position of balance, 2- to bring into harmony or proportion. I really like that second definition, to bring into harmony or proportion. Sometimes my scales are off. Sometimes I put a greater weight on the side of things that don’t really deserve it. Sometimes I blow things in my life out of proportion. Sometimes I forget my priorities. Sometimes I don’t want to adult. Sometimes I don’t ask for help. Sometimes later sounds better than now. When I do these things, I am not living a balanced life, and everything gets overwhelming and sloppy. I begin to juggle. Sometimes well, sometimes not. Balls get dropped, lost, broken. I feel like this is not just the result of having 3 kids and a hubby with full schedules. I feel like when my life gets overwhelming, it’s the result of me not knowing limits, boundaries, and priorities. When my house is a mess and the laundry is overflowing, the dirty dishes are rising out of the sink like the Great Pumpkin rising out of the Pumpkin Patch, Evan needs to be at basketball, Christopher needs to be at climbing, Logan has karate, the dog needs to be walked, the cats need their litter box cleaned, the trash needs to be taken out, homework needs to get done, I need to get a workout in, dinner needs to be made, life goes on and on and on… And then what? When do we breathe, and relax, and rest easy? When do we throw our white flag in the air and declare that it’s enough, I’m enough. None of the above define me. None of them define you. Whether we do them well or not. Right now, I don’t feel like I know how to do life well, my scales are off, I’m overwhelmed by all the things, and I’m a little tired of juggling. Are you? What’s the solution here, for me? For you? For our kids? For our families?
For me, I’m ready to go make the list of priorities. I need to see them on paper in front of me. I know the things in my life that are the priorities, but I need to SEE what I am putting all my time into lately and see if it balances with my priorities. Every Sunday, I make a schedule on the dry erase board of what my week looks like. Maybe next week, some things need to get booted. When I look around my house and when I look at my to do list, certain things always pop up, like clear the kitchen table, organize a bedroom, etc. What if in those tasks, the problem is too much stuff taking my focus away from my priorities? I could overlook the stuff, or I could get rid of the stuff; especially if the stuff isn’t serving me and is just causing the overwhelm and the imbalance. All I know is that I need to figure out what I am constantly putting above my priorities, what I am making my priorities, and make an appropriate and life-giving change.
Dr. Seuss wrote, “Oh the Places You’ll Go!” I can probably read most pages with only a little prompting, as I read it so many times over the years when my boys were little. When I think about the word balance, I think of this book. Near the end of the book, Dr. Seuss writes, ” You’ll get mixed up, of course, as you already know. You’ll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go. So be sure when you step. Step with care and great tact and remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act. Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up your right foot from your left.”
Yes, life indeed is a great balancing act. And I will be careful where I step. I will be careful about where I commit my time and attention. This week I will work on not mixing up my right foot from my left (prioritizing what seems to be important over what really is important). What are your priorities? Where are you wasting time? Where do you want to spend more time? Who needs more of your time? Who are the important people in your life? It’s not about things, or to do’s, or schedules. It’s about people. Where is your heart driven to and where do you want it to be? Leave me a comment below, I would love to hear from you!