Finding Time to Balance it All? Impossible!

work-life pieBalance. We often frame the topic as the work-life dance. In parenthood circles, we chat about trying to keep our sanity as we juggle family responsibilities, activities, meals and beyond.

But lately I’ve been thinking about balance in a slightly different way. As I was staring at my family calendar, I of course noticed it was full. Sports, Sunday School classes, doctor’s appointments and work obligations.

Are there ways to cut out events? Can we carve out more quiet time, free time, family time? Sometimes, and you’ll think I’m nuts, I gaze at it wondering if there is a way to squeeze in one more activity, one more event.

For as busy as we are, I often feel like I am neglecting areas of my life, or my kids’ lives.

Yes, there is work, and school. We are definitely committed to physical exercise. We attend weekly Mass, and I teach Sunday School.

The problem is, when I look a little deeper into these different areas of my life – health, career, family, spiritual activities – I want to do even more.

  • I wish I had more time to stretch. God knows at the rate I’m going, it will take me an eternity to get into particular yoga poses. I HATE Pigeon!
  • There are so many professional opportunities at my finger tips. I want to write and submit pieces of work, improve my photography and web skills, speak to audiences about working motherhood.
  • I need to plan more trips for the family, get outside to play, go on date nights with my husband.
  • Spiritually, I’d like to devote time to meditation and prayer, read particular books, go on retreats.

And when I think about the things I want to expose my kids to – music classes, museums, art projects and more – my mind starts to explode. I don’t want to neglect any of these core areas – health, family, the arts, physical fitness, spirituality, volunteerism. How does anyone raise a well-rounded kid these days?

Work-life balance is easy. I’ve come to accept there will be days the pendulum will swing more toward work or more toward home.

Accepting that I can’t find a healthy balance in all of these other core facets of life, however, is driving me nuts. Especially when it comes to my kids, I feel like there is this finite window of time to shape them and expose them to these wonderful things in our world.

I recently came across a Huffington Post piece, Why the  New York Times Can’t Have it All, and I liked how writer Samantha Ettus showed all of the pieces of life carved up into one large pie. Still, this doesn’t help me feel better about the size of the slices in my pie – even if my total pie is pretty amazing.

How do you feel about your pie? 

Are certain slices smaller than you’d like? 

Or are you feeling good about the way your pie is sliced?

Comments

  1. says

    It’s like you’re reading my mind, Kerry! Another excellent post that speaks right to me. As overcommitted as I already am, I still want to do more. Write more. Run more. Do more with the kids. Carve out adult time with my husband. Volunteer with Girls on the Run.

    Can’t wait to check out this article.

  2. Kristi says

    I have these thoughts all the time. Everyone has been given the same number of hours in a day, so it’s critical to examine how I use my time. I try to think of time like a budget, and I even give myself permission to waste time (sometimes). Have you seen this video that came out last year? It describes time as a pile of jelly beans. http://ashow.zefrank.com/episodes/128. Really interesting.

  3. says

    I’m sorry, what were you talking about? I got trapped in that picture of the pie. I’m on day 6 of Whole30 and I’m really about to try to lick my computer screen for some of that pie! LOL. Just KIDDING. I think we are channeling each other totally. Like you, I feel like there is no way to balance anything else, but I WANT MORE. I think I’m about 90% committed to the idea of completely giving up television. Yes, I do love some of my shows, but how much more could I get done?? Of course, I could still catch a show or two while folding laundry, right?
    I have to say that my pie slices change. Sometimes I put way too much of a slice in the “my stuff.” blogging, etc. Other days, I turn off the computer and put all my focus on family. I’m starting to finally make a bigger pie slice for spirituality and for physical fitness. Even if they are small, they are essential to my well being.
    Great post Kerry. You nailed it! :-)

  4. says

    Oh and I REALLY Want to teach my kids Spanish or French and piano and/or guitar. I can’t seem to find the time!!

  5. says

    Oh what a nice way of putting it, Kerry! My pie certainly needs a bigger slice for keeping fit and making time for me! Right now, blogging takes up too much of my pie! ;)

    • says

      Thanks for stopping by for a visit in my little corner of the web. I hope you find some time for fitness. It is not always my favorite thing to do, but I feel better 99% of the time after I’m done. :)

  6. says

    Hi Kerry, I came to your site through Bloppies. There’s an old saying, “It ain’t what you do, it’s the way that you do it.” It might be a cliche but it’s true. You could be doing 3 activities every day and be doing them with peace, joy and calm or you (or I) could be doing 2 a week and feeling stressed out by them. Or the other way round.
    My older daughter was easily overwhelmed as a young child and my younger daughter was born extremely premature, so I tended to limit activities and make sure there was plenty of down-time for them (and me) to have unstructured play and rest. It worked for us, most of the time, though sometimes of course I did wish we could do more – and I was sad when the older one had to give up on swimming because of repeated illnesses. But I can’t say I regret it since she’s far healthier now than she was before – and partly I think that’s because she made the decision, so felt more in control.
    I’ve just started reading a really interesting book, “The Desire Map” in which the writer, Danielle LaPorte, says that instead of striving after goals we would be better to look at how we want to feel, and base our intentions on that. Because, ultimately, we have these goals because we think achieving them will enable us to feel a certain way. So we shift the focus, allow the feelings and then we still can set intentions. She says we may find: “Maybe you don’t need that award, you just need to take better care of yourself.” With that in mind, my pie looks a bit different and I can see that the areas that are too small are within my power to change – eg if I want my fiction to be valued more (which I do) then it starts with me valuing it more (which I am beginning to do.)
    This is a thought-provoking post!

    • says

      Thanks for your thoughtful reply! :) I think your suggested way of approaching decisions is great. We so often get caught up in ticking things off the to-do list or accomplishment bucket that we forget to take a pulse and simply check in on how we feel and how our family feels. I’ll have to check out that book – it sounds like a good one to add to my Kindle list. I always receive so many great recommends in the blogging world!

  7. says

    Oh, how I wish that there were more than 24 hours each day. I always try to balance my time with my kids, works, family and being alone. I have to say that it is really challenging.
    Carol

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