“Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance and order and rhythm and harmony.”
– Thomas Merton
Have you ever asked a mom if she feels balanced in life? If she has enough time to do everything she’s been wanting to do? If she takes time for her own self? If you have, you’ve probably gotten the same response as I have – “Ya right!” or “Keep dreaming!”
Either that or you’re the mom who wants to just laugh at me! Believe me when I say I can relate. I’ve been there myself. I used to think that when my kids got older and left home, I’d finally have that peace and serenity that comes with a less chaotic life. But here I am to say that their leaving didn’t create the lack of a long to-do list. It’s just the lists’ items that changed.
All the more reason to learn the art of The Master Juggler early on!
It’s not easy to keep all the balls of our life in the air. With our attention divided between children or grandchildren, work, housework, our larger family and our friends, volunteering… (the list goes on), you can quickly see how easy it is to become imbalanced.
Work-life balance is about creating and maintaining supportive and healthy environments for yourself, both at work and at home, and for your family. And it can be done. When we’re in balance we have more energy, we tend to think more positively, we’re healthier and we have more fun.
Step 1 is to Recognize that you are not alone. There are more moms in the American workforce than ever before. When I grew up in the 1960s, my mom worked part-time—and it seemed out of place. Yet today, 61 percent of mothers work outside the home, according to a recent study by statisticsbrain.com. Of those, only 15 percent report that they are happy, while 80 percent of stay-at-home moms say they are “very happy” or “pretty happy.” Why is that?
My guess is, and my experience tells me that a lot of it has to do with the juggling act we’re all trying to play. There was a time when I worked part-time, was studying full-time for my master’s degree, and was raising three young children as a single mom. Somehow I survived, but I surely could have done more than just survive. Maybe there would have been more of a sense of well-being and calm if someone taught me how to be a Master Juggler.
Watch for more on keeping in balance next week.