I am constantly trying to create balance in my life. I put so much work into maintaining equilibrium and I struggle when my life feels out of balance. Feeling out of balance makes fears of inadequacy and self doubt to sneak up on me and club me over the head.
I have been struggling with my own personal balancing act. I feel as if I’m constantly tipping to the right or to the left and leaving the other side little attention. I close my eyes and see an image of myself, on one hand I’m holding the weight of my family and on the other I’m holding the building where I work. I feel like there are even other hands, other roles with more balancing acts to be performed (daughter, friend, yoga teacher). All requiring time and attention, all falling apart if I pay too much attention to one unequally.
My work weight is constantly tugging to my right. I have a lot of work responsibility and take it very seriously - I’ve always been driven to be successful and a hard worker (thanks to my Dad tugging away on my right side since I can remember). This weight has only gotten heavier as I’ve taken jobs with more and more responsibility as I’ve gotten older. Some of this weight is real - I have to perform at work so I can provide for the family, but I create additional weight by setting my own expectations. I’ve always been an overachiever, dare I say perfectionist (anyone who knows me can attest to this)... this adds even more weight, making balancing more difficult for me.
My family is on the other side to my balancing act. My husband and two amazing children pull me to the left. The perfectionist in me is constantly striving to be the best - the best wife I can be, best mother I can imagine- this expectation has added a lot of additional weight - to be clear, this is my personal expectation, not the expectation of my husband and kids. I am constantly working to be sure that I give them proper attention and love. Making healthy dinners, sending kids off to school in the morning with hugs and kisses, watching a 4th grade music concert on FaceTime sitting in a rental car in Cincinnati. When I lean too much to the left, I start to move out of balance, guilty feelings creeping up at work, the perfectionist in me starts to ask questions...do people think I’m a slacker because I leave at 5PM to hit my son’s baseball practice? Missing an important meeting to attend a teacher conference...I adjust, overcompensating at work, shifting back to the right to maintain balance. As I shift to the right, feelings of inadequacy and guilt arise from my left side - am I working too much? With the biggest question continually popping up in my head...Should I work at all? My own expectations of what a perfect mother should be cause feelings of inadequacy, fear and GUILT to flow like waves...there I go leaning back and forth, left then right then left. I feel like I’m going to topple over any second.
As I am writing about my balancing act, it is becoming apparent that my own expectations of perfection lie at the heart of my imbalance. I am creating additional weight on each side of my act by layering in expectations of how I should act at work at at home - expectations of what the perfect mother is and expectations of the perfect employee. My husband and kids think I’m a damn good mother. I have never heard my children complain that I work - all of the additional weight pulling me out of balance is of my own doing. Holding myself up to a higher standard, a standard that doesn’t fit who I am. Same goes on the other side - I have consistently gotten positive feedback at work. I have never heard negative feedback from a boss because I had to stay home and take care of a sick child. Guilty feelings I have are all in my head causing me to
feel imbalanced, when in reality, I’m perfectly balanced. As I contemplate this, as I’m typing this blog, I can almost feel the weight lifting, the load lightening. The realization that the am the perfect mother, just the way I am.