Sigh. I still have not figured it out. For almost four years, I have been writing about finding the balance. Yet, here I am, less than 4 months away from my four year blogaversary, and balance is still an unrealistic fantasy.
I downsized, and I decluttered. I minimized, and I minimalized. I cut people out. I cleared my schedule, and I captured calm in chaos. Yet, life is still out of whack…and I cannot figure out how to fix it.
Work still demands too much. Home still demands too much. My purpose still demands to much. Everyone is getting the short end of the stick, and I am sitting in the middle of a world of unmet expectations.
I am trying to enjoy the journey. I am trying to celebrate the small stuff. I am trying to overcome fear but I lack faith, and at this point, I am tired. At this point, I could use a few more hours of sleep each night. Exhaustion is real. Discouragement is real. I could really use some rest.
I have work, and I have a life, but I have ZERO work life balance. Because of this, I am starting from square one again. A do over is once again necessary.
For anyone looking for a fresh start,
For any working moms out there,
For anyone trying to find work life balance, when neither work or life are in balance:
It pains me even to bring this up because I have seen what planning looks like. I have seen the calendar when you write it all down, and the final answer is not pretty. The final answer is 70 item bulleted to-do lists. The final answer is days on planners with no-white space. The final answer is, how in the world can you get all of this done in 24-hours?
My response to this is that you will not. It will not all “get done.” Your plan must include crossing out items that will not happen today or ever. Your plan must acknowledge every thought that crosses your mind and find a place for it, even if that place ultimately ends up in the trash. Your plan must include seeing that you cannot do it all. You need to delegate. You need to eliminate. Then, and only then, do you begin to execute the remaining items.
Again, I cringe. This is my fourth year beginning a budget. For four years I have started a budget, and for three years, I have failed. What in the world would make me believe that this fourth year will be different? What would make you believe that this year will be different?
Well, for starters, you are different. You are not the same as you were last year. You have learned more. You have seen more. You have done more, and you are more determined than ever that your budget will work this time. You refuse to stress over money. You refuse to let money dictate your life. You refuse to let the bills keep you from checking the mail. You are in control…finally.
Once you stop stressing over the money, the work becomes less stressful. Your life is no longer consumed in payday. You can live your life differently…so that work life balance can unravel differently.
3. Document your journey
You need to see where you started. You need to see the journey unfold piece by piece. Undocumented progress makes you feel like you are stuck. Without documentation, none of what you experienced actually happened.
Write it down, take pictures, or make mental notes of the moments. Some you will love. Some you will wish away, but the balance comes when you recognize that the journey is not a path to the goal, but instead the goal itself. Work life balance IS the journey not the unattainable fantasy.
4. Leave some white space
You planned. You budgeted. You documented. Then, before you can catch your breath, you are all out of time, and balance is nowhere in sight. Your life is flying by, and all you can do is try to snatch up some of the pieces before you miss it.
Here is where white space comes in. Here is where you make room for interruptions. Look at your plan and make sure it does not cover every line of the planner. There should be some extra space. There should be lines left over. Lines allow for a pause. Space allows for mommy and daughter photo shoots, for boo boos, for tears, for laughter, for parades, for venting, for bad days, and for soaking in good days. You need margin. You need a cushion. Life is enjoyed most in the white spaces, in the unplanned moments, in the activities outside of your to-dos.
You can not do this alone. You need help raising your children. You need help in your marriage. You need help on your job. Life is definitely more than you can handle. That is why you have been struggling for so long.
You thought you could do it yourself, and you were very, very wrong. You are overwhelmed because you do not trust. You are discouraged because you have lost sight of what God can do or that He will do it for you. Your disappointment about your shortcomings has led you to stop talking. You do not want to tell Him that you have lost faith in yourself and in Him.
But He already knows. He does not need your big faith or your big prayers. He just needs you to keep talking. Tell Him all about it. Share your anger. Share your discouragement. Share your overwhelmed. Share your plans, your hopes, your dreams, your budget, your journey, and your white spaces.
Work life balance was never about you. You are out of balance because you are out of alignment. Your plans, budget, journey, and white space stopped aligning to your purpose. You were fine. You had moments of fine. You had moments of balance, and then, like Peter on the water, you lost your focus and looked around. When you looked around, you started sinking, not because you forgot how to walk on water but because you could NEVER walk on water.
Walking on water requires a miracle and so does work life balance.
What are some things that you do to achieve work life balance as a working mom?
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