As I am preparing to host the Balanced Woman Retreat coming up soon, I have been thinking a lot about balance and what it means in my life. I think balance is often misperceived as everything being in perfect order and flowing smoothly. One definition of balance that I found on dictionary.com, I feel is more representative of achieving balance, is “to arrange, adjust or proportion the parts of symmetrically.” This really resonated with me because it wiped away the illusion that everything has to be perfect to be balanced.
We recently returned from an amazing vacation to Yellowstone. The getting there was rough because my Tazmanian devil of a two year old is not the best partner to help pack for such a vacation. Everything I packed, she tried to unpack. When I wasn’t looking she was getting into lotion, shampoo, essential oils, etc. The night before we left I felt like a screaming lunatic! On our way there we had some trouble with our truck. Once we arrived, hubby looked under the hood, and discovered a piece of insulation had somehow made its way from the road and over the top of the turbo. Needless to say, I worried the whole way there that our vacation would be ruined because of truck problems. Once we arrived I could breathe. I could fully take in the beauty mother nature had to offer. The serenity. The quiet. The majestic formations. The beautiful creatures that caused road-side traffic jams. I’m telling you, watching a herd of buffalo cross the road in front of your truck is one of the best traffic jams I’ve EVER experienced!
I wasn’t the only one who could breathe. Baby girl didn’t get into so many off-limits things. She rarely threw fits. My older kids relaxed. Yeah, they fought with each other like kids do – especially while living in the close quarters of a travel trailer, but they relaxed also. The day we went to Hebgen Lake and caught zero fish, they went with the next best thing – swimming! They all got excited about the cool animals and amazing geysers and hot pots we saw.
Because we had no tv and other distractions, I was able to teach my oldest daughter how to do simple kitchen tasks like peeling cucumbers and shredding cheese. Everybody pitched in and helped set the table, cook the meals and clean up without much complaint. We ate our meals outside and savored the smell of the lodge pole pines and fresh rain.
The week after returning home was busy and hectic. One of the days I had a meltdown. Everyone in the household was making demands of me but not willing to do their part. I began to realize how much pressure I put on myself to get more done and be everything to everyone. Being a martyr with my family feels icky! It just isn’t working anymore. I had to come to a place of peace and that meant delegating more, putting less pressure on myself, accepting things as they are (yes, I have a 2 year old for now!) and being more realistic about what I’m capable of accomplishing.
I began to realize that balance isn’t about everything being perfect and the kids accommodating everything I want to be and do. It’s about me being flexible. It’s about finding joy in my cute little monster instead of frustration. It’s about getting away and being able to breathe. It’s about creating awesome memories with my family. It’s about taking time out from the hectic pace to relax. I accepted that this is the way life is going to be until preschool starts in another year or so. And it’s all perfectly okay.
So, in my own round-about way I figured out that creating balance really is about adjusting or rearranging the way things look, how they’re done and they way I feel about them. Sometimes, changing my perspective, or surrendering the idea that I’m NOT super-woman is all I need to create the balance I long for.