I failed. Over and over and over again. I started to prickle every time I even heard the word. And then, I decided to reject it.
I have determined I don't believe in balance. I said this recently to Daniel, just venting, not expecting a debate. He asked me to explain. Here's the thing: If I am one place, I am not another. And I mean that physically, mentally, and any other way you'd like to approach it. There is no getting around it. If I am at work, I am not with my kids. If I am with my kids, I am not at work, and therefore, not making money. If I nurture my marriage the way it needs, I am sacrificing some time with my children. If I spend all my time with my kids, I am neglecting myself and my marriage. I can't work AND be home AND spend quality, creative time with my kids AND make everything from scratch AND spend the time it takes to shop thoughtfully, healthfully and sustainably AND keep my house clean and organized AND be a meaningful member of my church AND tend to friendships, family members and ministries AND nurture my marriage AND write and exercise and read and do the things I need to keep myself healthy. I CAN'T*.
The * is the key here. * = Not all at the same time.
So what does this mean? Logistically, probably nothing different. But mentally, it's huge. It means acknowledging choices-- owning them-- and then not feeling guilty about the repercussions. It means I can't always make it to my small group, because doing so when my husband is away means sacrificing that time with my children when I've already been at the office all day, foregoing their peaceful bedtime and full night's sleep, and giving up any hope of a few quiet moments to myself. But I am choosing to be okay with that.
It means going on dates and overnights with my husband, even though it results in additional precious moments spent away from my children. Because I believe the overall benefit is greater than the in-the-moment sacrifice. It means working toward a plan to work differently, to work less, even though it means acknowledging that I might not have a future in this career field. It might not be waiting for me when I come back.
But I am choosing to be okay with that.
It means reallocating our budget to dedicate more resources to food and a lifestyle that will keep our family healthy. It means abandoning coupons and not always being able to be frugal.
And I am choosing to be okay with that.
Really, it means making a choice, this thing over that at this time.
Daniel listened, head cocked to the side, and said, "I see what you're saying, but I disagree. I look at life over a week, or a month, or a year and determine whether it was balanced." That may work for him, but I can't figure out how to implement that in the middle of my days. Ironically, I don't have the time. Instead, I will continue to see it all as making choices. Sometimes I will get it wrong, but I will try to be more forgiving when I do. I will try to take the advice I gave Mirabella the other day, when her disobedience had an unintended consequence. I told her, "We all make mistakes. And when we do, we say we're sorry, we try to see what we can learn for next time, and then we move on."