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Okay, I know the journey is all about finding balance, like the Enjoli hair commercial from the 70’s: I can bring home the bacon, da-daaaa-da-da! Fry it up in a pan, da-daaaa-da-da! Cue hair whip from a granny bun (sexy bitch, def’ly has never had kids) eyes that say ‘I’m about to f*$%^ hubby’s brains silly’ while the soufflé settles, kids are already in bed…
The message? I can do it all. Women can do it all! Reality? Not.
Life B.M. (before marriage, ironically, same acronym as bowel movement), things happened in stages. You might have spent months busy on a project, rarely getting out, late nights at the office, little time for play. If this were your life all the time, it would suck. But you knew it was just until you got the project done. Balanced? Only if you saw the big picture.
You then finish the big project and begin a fluff phase. The load at work has lightened, you party more, go to Mexico, have an affair (say, for example ;), spend a lot of time with cabana boy, have a lot of sex, whatevs. Fluff, fluff, fluff.
Finished with your three-month cotton-candy phase, you settle into a relationship new dude, but you live separately, so you have plenty of time for yoga and your friends and this new course you’re taking. Again, the balance shifts.
Next month, things get busy at work again, you’re taking a cooking class on the side, have less time for the dude and vacations, and here begins another cycle.
Thus, in the period of six months, it’s been a full life. But you weren’t expected to have this “full life” in one week, every week, all the time!
This is my problem: as a mom, on any given day (read: every frickin day) I’m expected to cook an amazing dinner, be lovely to my kids, teach the ABC’s/counting/piano, get a work out in, do a little real work (of the career kind), make some money, shower and at some point, put out for Ranch Ranger.
Don’t get me wrong, Ranch Ranger is hot and desirable (the two don’t always go hand in hand). And I’m sure lots of women would be more than happy to “put out” for the big cowboy. But, I—like my former self, and many single women—go through phases. And even though I’m married, I still go through the “I’m sick of my boyfriend and need a little me time” phase. When I say phase, I don’t mean “one day”, like I’m not in the mood tonight, more like, “I’m not in the mood this month!”
Seriously, it doesn’t mean I don’t love him. It just means, this month is about my career. Or, this month is about the kids and their extra-curricular stuff. Next month it’s all about yoga or dehydrating fruit or something. And yes, there is some balance there, like I might feel like sex in the midst of my canning renaissance, but it might be few and far between for the next little while. Why? Because my head is somewhere else? And it’s not just somewhere else for an hour or two, I need time to focus!
My mother, interesting and creative woman she is, actually gave herself decades to “focus” on certain topics: her 40’s were all about her music, her 50’s were about education/knowledge and obtaining her PhD, her 60’s were about studying religion, and though I don’t know what her 70’s is officially about –she’s playing (as a musician) on a cruise ship and seeing the world. Maybe travel? Point is, she’s looking at the big picture with big topics that she wanted to tackle in her lifetime and finding balance amongst knowledge, spirituality, adventure. She seems to have figured out her life’s arc and all the balance a good story (life) should have!
In the meantime, I don’t have the answer to this grand question of finding balance on any given day! I know that for moms, we sacrifice so much and most of our daily action is for our children, husband and home, even when we’re working out of the house. I used to run to Costco on my lunch breaks and drag my freezer items to the company fridge (up two flights of stairs) until end of day, then haul it all out to the car, then get home in time to cook dinner, play with the kids, read books, brush teeth and get ‘em into bed. Good thing it was only 3 days/week.
So, to quote a great line: “The days are long, but the years are short.” Maybe the intense years of motherhood aren't meant to be balanced. Maybe there’s balance in imbalance. Maybe, the sacrifices of motherhood are a necessary balance for being all about “me” for the first 20-30 years of life. And maybe, soon enough I’ll have lots of time for me and long for the chaos. Hmmmmmm.