At least once a day, I'm asked how I balance it all; homeschooling, owning a thriving business, self-care, recreational aerialist, all as a single mom. I've really struggled with an answer for this. Apparently, I put on a really good show of "doing it all." Um. Yeah. I don't do it all. But I do get MOST of it done, MOST of the time.
So, I suppose that's part one of the answer. I don't even try to do it all. There are days that we *GASP* stop at a fast food joint for a burger. There are days when I leave the house with food still on the plates, on the table. There are days when I convince myself that 5 hours of Pascal on Minecraft is actually beneficial. I can't be all things, all the time. No one can.
No one is doing it all. So let's get that myth out of the way. Right now.
But part two of the answer is this ubiquitous talk of BALANCE.
Like balance is an end-goal. A final destination.
I bought Pascal a balance board for Christmas (that's him juggling on it in the picture). It's the coolest thing in our house. When I watch him on it, I can see clearly that balance is an on-going thing. I can hold a handstand for a really long time. I can physically balance for a long time. BUT NOT INDEFINITELY. When I watch any physical act of balancing, I can see it's not an end goal. For the balance board and the handstand, it's not a passive act. There are tiny movements within the balance to keep it going. And even then, it ends.
I'm less inclined to think about balance as an end goal. It's a constant state of tweaking and making adjustments to hold the balance. And knowing that it all falls at some point. Keeping with the circus analogies; it's like juggling. All the balls can be in the air for a limited time. Knowing what your personal juggling balls ARE is key.
My 4 juggling balls are:
1. My connection with Pascal. Throughout the day and the week, we all lose our connection with our kids. Believe it or not, homeschooling isn't one of my juggling balls. Homeschooling is a breeze when our connection is there. What's funny is it's me and him almost all the time. But I can be in my head and he can be in his for a whole day. Connecting means being really present with other, whatever we are doing.
2. My business. There's a lot about my business that runs itself. But of course, I need to attend it, both on the business end and the interaction with clients. And Facebook would probably die without the funny memes I share on the ocpt page. So, yes. It needs attending to.
3. Exercise. I simply have to work out. I have to. I'm a better person and a better mom when I do. Often, with homeschooling and business deadlines, this is the first thing to go. And I have to make sure it doesn't. 'Cause then bad things start to happen.
4. Me Time. Such a goofy cliche, huh? The Me Time Thing. But it's cliche 'cause it's real, people. MAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF. Now. And no, working out can't count as me time. Read a trashy novel. Practice something you used to do. Learn an instrument. Meditate. Go see a movie. Alone. Something just for you. Something that feeds your soul. Try not to make your Me Time binge watching every episode of The Good Wife in 2 nights. This will end badly. Trust me.
I've learned the hard way that these are the 4 things I need to juggle. Sometimes not on a daily basis but definitely at least on an every-couple-of-days basis. And the interesting part is that none of them need a huge amount of time. But when I attend to all of these, I get the sense of being on the balance board. I'm gonna fall off it. I'm bound to. But having a sort of map to go back to helps me. A lot.
Balance. It's not a destination.