Journal: The Myth of Balance
I got straight up out of bed this morning, went pee, then walked downstairs and sat down at the laptop. It’s probably not healthy, probably not balanced, buts it’s already after 9 o’clock and I should have been writing hours ago. I can tell you that balance is something I talk a lot about but have yet to achieve. Even in a single day, balance eludes me. I think a lot about this vision of a writer’s life. I know tons of writers have kids, and husbands, and homework, and dinner, and maybe even small businesses with orders waiting or jobs that tie them up for hours on end. I know someone is out there being an amazing writer and doing all of it. But I’ll tell you a a secret, for me, there is no balance. And I genuinely do not see how it’s even possible for me to do it all. I just don’t see it.
When I commit to ten minutes of writing each day, it turns into six hours. And not six hours of me writing the next great American novel, just six hours of me writing in tandem, reflecting here and there, type, erase, type, erase… churning against the wave of writer’s block that seeks to destroy me. An all-consuming ocean that works to leave me wasted like a wet rag on the sandy shores of ineptitude. Writer’s block can keep you writing very little for a very long time. And it will if you choose to work against it. Six hours can actually turn into twelve hours… and even if it doesn’t, even if you only get lost for three or six, that means that the house isn’t being cleaned, the chores will not be checked, school lessons will go untaught, orders will not be filled, illustrations will not be drawn (yes, I do that too, smh), meals will not be made, parents will not be called, ties will not be kept. I don’t have any strong interest in hearing about my husband’s day, or doing my hair for marriage’s sake. All I want to do is sit down in the quiet and write. And every little thing that interferes with that is an annoyance.
For me this happens with EVERYTHING. When I commit to motherhood for a week, yknow, give it 100% of my undivided attention… no free time, no me time, uber sweetness, calm, patience and lots of positive motivation. Basically, just be there and be awesome for my kids… other things lie at the wayside as well. And I resent every single thing that interferes with my commitment to mothering. My husband’s needs annoy me, orders and customers are an unwelcome burden, my writing is an inconvenient afterthought. All that matters is my kids and our relationship and their growth into amazing human beings. I buckle down and read my parenting books, do fun activities with them, take walks, cuddle on the couch, have lots of heart to hearts. All I want to do is spend every waking moment being an amazing mom… until I burn out or feel guilty for neglecting my husband, my writing, my orders, my health, my sanity. And then its onto a new focus, perhaps my health… and I’m super focused on finding inner peace, taking my supplements, getting exercise, taking walks… or my faith, and all I want to do is study my faith- book after book, and pray, and reflect and advise my sisters, and do charity work, and just be the most committed, amazing believer I can possibly be.
My focus can jump from my faith, my family, my friends, my marriage, to my business, my illustrating, my writing, my health… the list goes on and on. But what never really comes into focus is: balance. I don’t know how to do this balance thing. Because 24 hours, sans maybe 6 for sleep on the best of days, is never enough time in my mind to be an amazing mother unless I devote every moment to it. Anything less is selling my kids short. And 18 hours is never enough to devote to my writing, or my personal health and wellness, or my business. There’s just not enough time in a day to do any of these things right, and dividing that time amongst various obligations always makes every obligation suffer, and not just a little… a lot.
I know this obsessive perfectionism is a problem… and it’s always going to make me feel like a failure at something, an underachiever at everything. And I know its not logical or sensible or even possible to subsist in believing this and ever finding happiness. But here I am… I’ve been writing for 45 minutes, I really need a shower, my stomach is rumbling, my teeth are mucky, the kids should have been up hours ago… and the writing for today has only just begun. Sigh… balance. Right. #tenminutes
This is a part of the Ten Minute Challenge to write for ten minutes everyday, no matter what! Join the movement.[color-box]
TEN MINUTES CHALLENGE DAILY PROMPT
“Much obliged.” We often interact with people based on how we feel about them. Relationships require obligation. Contemplate your relationships with various people in your life and write about them in terms of obligations to those people.
Note: We are obligated to our spouse, our children, and other household family members. We are obligated to our co-workers, our customers, our friends. The nature and extent of a relationship can always be looked at in terms of obligation. Note that obligation is not necessarily a negative concept. And, admitting that you are “obliged”, does not mean that the other person is trying to be manipulative. Continue the exercise by writing your response to what you have written about that relationship. A simple example: A co-worker picks up the donut order for the the office staff. Response: I need to volunteer to pick the donuts up next week, or need to thank the person for doing so. Ready? Set. Write forth! #tenminutes[/color-box]