August 18th, 2021
These days I hear a lot of people talking about balancing work, family life, and personal time and it makes me wonder if any of them are actually finding balance. Personally, I think the work-life balance thing is a myth, but a really believable one because many people can make it appear as if they have found the secret formula to balanced living, but in reality, they’re just really good at Instagram posts.
There are times when I feel more balanced than others, but mostly, one aspect of my life is heavier than others. And that’s not heavy in a dark sense, but in the way that certain parts take up more space, time, and energy than others, which causes an imbalance on the scales of my life.
For example, work versus momming. Right now, being a present mother is the most important thing for me to be great at because all of my kids are still living at home and there’s six of them. That’s a lot of energy expenditure right there!
Because I am more focused on being a great mother, I am less involved in our family business of real estate. I think about it less and I invest less time and energy into generating new business. Not because I don’t care or don’t enjoy it, but simply because there’s not enough of me to go around.
Sometimes I do think I could be a better hustler and work whenever possible, sleep 3 hours a night, and become ultra-efficient. But that definitely does not sound like anything close to balance.
However, when I do get a new client, whether they be a buyer or seller, I am all in and will go the distance at one hundred percent capacity to be the best I can be for my clients and get them what they want.
And then I become less focused on being a mother because the work needs to be done and it ain’t gonna do itself! Plus, I really do love being involved in a real estate deal. The intricacies, the excitement, the preparation, and fulfilling someone’s (often a family’s) lifelong dream is very rewarding work. Thus, when I find myself inside of a deal, it becomes my central focus.
So the scales tip away from motherhood and more toward businesswoman.
Here we all these words later and I haven’t even mentioned personal time yet! Or husband time, God bless him. Seems I have a strong case for the belief that work-life balance is a myth. How could it all possibly be balanced?
Are there people out there splitting their time equally amongst each part of their lives? Four hours for kids, four for work, four for partner, four for self? That’s sixteen hours right there, leaving eight hours for sleep.
Wait, did I just figure out the formula? I suppose I did if we all worked a 4-hour workday, which I know is a possibility, though most people are not enjoying that luxury.
It would also seem my formula left out variables, such as errands, cooking food, and chores. And I’m sure a bunch of other stuff I’m forgetting about as I write. Like writing, hehe.
Now, this is not meant to be a negative thing. Quite the opposite! I think of this blogpost as a bit of sweet relief in a world where we’re expected to be all things to all people, do everything under the sun, and like to identify ourselves by the millions of different hats we wear. It’s like the more we do, the better we are--which is such a huge fallacy, but that’s another post for another day.
It’s okay to not be balanced in your life’s endeavors! In fact, it’s normal. There are plenty of other things to strive for balance in; emotions, sleep, eating habits. I’m not suggesting that becoming obsessed with work and that running your health into the ground for the sake of making money is a good idea. I also do not recommend sacrificing your mental health for the sake of your children or family life.
As I ponder this, I realize that perhaps balance means something different than I’ve been assuming. It would seem it’s not about the equal division of time, or even energy, but finding a way to go about life that feels good and fulfilling. At times, it will appear to be imbalanced because one area gets more attention than the other, but if you are feeling joy and contentment, then that is your indicator that everything is alright and you have found your own personal state of “balance”.
And this state will probably be in constant flux because that is the nature of life.
We are all trying to find our steady center, but it is important to remember that this center is always going to vary, sometimes slightly, sometimes greatly. Even Mother Earth wobbles on her axis. In fact, the tides of the ocean have the ability to shift Earth’s center of mass on her axis, resulting in minute shifts of the position of the axis.
So, let’s give ourselves a break when the tides of life shift our own centers of mass as we spin our way through the days, months, and years of our existence. Turns out, balance is not a numbers or comparison game, but a feeling game. Using our emotions as guides, we can learn to live happily in our own personal version of balance.