I’ve heard it said that Libras are on a never-ending journey to find balance.
While I've never been one to put much weight into astrology or my birth sign, that particular interpretation has stuck with me. As a working professional and proud mom, I'm always trying to find a balance between my work and personal life. In fact, finding this balance is something much of my generation aspires to. Creating a life that is measured and equal is a concept that is encouraged and frequently discussed in all forms of media today — whether you have a spouse, children or are single.
For nearly 10 years, I've tried to find balance everywhere in my life. I've tried to strike the "right" balance between working hard and being present with my family. I've tried to ignore my work email while at home at night and not answer any personal calls during the day. In the end, I find myself sidestepping my own rules. Sadly, chasing after the ideal of balance has left me feeling like I've failed over and over again.
After a particularly trying day recently — where I dropped the ball at work and came home without the remaining supplies needed for my kiddo's half-finished science project — it dawned on me that maybe balance was an illusion. Maybe it's not possible to create a life in which the scales of a meaningful career and a beautiful, healthy, happy family are in perfect harmony all the time.
And then I thought: "Maybe I could focus on learning to juggle instead."
After all, juggling is more fluid and evokes an image of someone guiding balls through the air. Sometimes you just have to juggle one ball at a time; sometimes it's multiple balls. Often times, the balls are in hand, but at other times they are set aside to be added later. It's not uncommon to drop balls on the floor.
I believe we, as parents, can become good at juggling and not drive ourselves or our loved ones crazy. It just takes practice, a little patience and a lot of help. In fact, I've encountered many scenarios lately where I've done a lot of juggling.
Recently — within the span of 48 hours — I was across the country doing good work for my job and then at home planning a birthday party. I had a good streak of working out, and then ate many, many desserts. I had a clean house, and then I had five loads of laundry to fold, dishes and a half-finished sorting project. I had a work event and three basketball games to attend — all at the same time. I made it to two of the three games, and asked for help so I could arrive a bit late for the first hour of the work event.
None of this is balance, of course.
As moms and parents, our lives change all the time. No one can predict how the day will go, so seeking a perfect equal scenario just doesn’t work. It will just keep changing and evolving, which requires a juggling act.
The sooner we realize this, the more at ease we might be. Besides, juggling is more fun than balancing anyway.
Jessica Janssen Wolford is a mom and stepmom raising three kiddos with her husband, Eric, in Elkhorn. You can read more about her experiences on her blog, “A Step in the Right Direction.” You can also follow her on Twitter @jessljwolford.