Growing up, I was your typical overachiever, but I struggled with developing a social life. I spent my nights reading and studying when most of my friends were dating. I’m happy with how things turned out, but it would have been nice to go to a football game or a bite to eat at the Dairy Lane. Daniel and I started dating after I started college. (Ironic that I started dating a hot cowboy while attending an all-women’s college, huh?) I was a lot happier in college than high school. I stumbled upon the fact that you can have fun and enjoy life while studying and pursuing your education. I saw those who studied all the time. I watched those who showed up to class still inebriated. I realized that the successful juniors and seniors were those that were social, but they also had an unbreakable work ethic. It took a little work, but I soon found a happy medium. (To be honest, I’m still struggling to be more social, but I’m working on it.)
Once I started working after college, I struggled with balance once more. I landed a great job, and I hated it. I was absolutely miserable—like throwing up in the parking lot every day before work kind of miserable. I was at the office all of the time. My mom started having health issues, and I got married. It’s hard to build a corporate career and care for a parent and still be “present” in your marriage. I had to make a decision—I chose my family. It took going through another two years of unsatisfactory work experience and losing my job due to my pregnancy with Ava to understand that this one is a little harder than balancing the occasional drink, dating, and scholarship requirements. Daniel is a blessing. He was so supportive while I figured out what I wanted to do (well, I’m still figuring it out). The fact that we have figured out how to work for ourselves has definitely facilitated our move toward balancing work and family. It’s still a work in progress. When you work for yourself, there are no paid vacations—and you sure as heck do not get sick days. But, we’re working on it.
As a mom, I struggle daily with finding balance. (That tightrope just keeps getting higher and higher. Now, it’s not just my life that I could possibly screw up. Ava and Georgia are on the line as well.) Balancing alone time to recoup with being a mom that’s always there is hard. My girls love their momma, and I love them. I couldn’t imagine my life without them, but every now and then, I would love to take a shower without hearing them freak out on Daniel or drink a cup of coffee before it gets cold. On the other hand, reassuring them that I haven’t been abducted by aliens while in the shower or kissing a boo-boo is really important to them, and that means that those things are important to me as well. I feel so guilty sometimes. I can never once remember my mom and dad complaining about being tired or needing alone time, and here I am wanting to go to the potty by myself. Jeez! (For my readers who are not parents, just wait. They will find you, and once they realize that their tiny little hands can reach under the door, you will never again know what it is like to potty by yourself—at least, it’s been 4 years and still hasn’t happened for me yet.) Then, I realize that Ava starts school in a week, and I’m freaking out about how fast she’s growing up and I don’t want them out of my sight. Fifteen minutes later, I just want a nap. But, I’m working on it.
Then there’s balancing being a mom with being a wife. Daniel and I rarely get the chance to talk to each other without interruption, much less spend quality time together. We spend most of our days and nights together, but we probably spend less time being a couple now than when we were dating and lived 2 hours apart and only saw each other on Friday night. It’s just downright hard. I have trouble leaving the girls with a sitter, especially after losing Daddy. It’s hard for a normal situation, but throw in my attachment issues and grief, and it’s almost impossible to walk this tightrope. But, we’re working on it.
That’s the key to balance—just keep working at it. Life is unpredictable. It’s beautiful in its rawness and instability. We just have to be vigilant and aware of ourselves. We don’t have to be the perfect cheesecake all the time. Sometimes, we have to be ok with being a lumpy, unincorporated batch of undercooked batter. Sometimes, we have to be ok with being overcooked, tough, and greasy. Why? Because, sometimes, every now and then, we become that perfect bite of sweet fluffy, silky heaven.