Wednesday, September 25, 2013

You Can Have It All - Take It by the Slice

The responsibilities of home and to family, our profession aspirations, community service, personal goals.  We are constantly trying to have it all and find a balance between all that we’re trying to do.

As moms, it’s as if we envision ourselves as some type of Lady Justice holding onto this scale balance with our professional pursuits on one side and our home on the other, not letting it tip too far in either direction. Put in 8 hours of work and we push ourselves to get in 8 hours of happy family time, and squeeze in eating, sleep, reading a book, and working out in the other 8.  This notion of balance also leads us to think that we can continually pile more on, as long as we keep it even.  A promotion at work? Better bake some more cookies for the school party?  New office in the PTA?  Put in an extra hour on the job so folks don’t think you’re slacking.  And what happens? The weights get heavier. And eventually, it’s all too much of a burden and we fall.

Perhaps, it’s not a balance we should use in this metaphor.  Perhaps instead, a pie is a better image. Pecan, if we want to get specific.

We can divide our life, our days, into slices – all the things we want to, need to, feel like we have to do.  Work, household chores, hanging out with the kids, volunteering, laying around reading, time to drink coffee in our garden, visiting friends, getting to the gym.  A slice for every little good thing we want to fit in.  Now, you know how to construct a pie, right? You’ve got an 8” pie pan, you can only get so many pecans in there.  Whenever I make a pie, I’m tempted to add just a bit more – just another ½ cup of pecans.  But that extra’s not going to make it better; instead it’s going to overflow into a syrupy, nutty mess all over the bottom of the oven.

Just like with our days – we can only get so much to fit. At some point, we’ve got to decide that the next project, another task, another “yes” is going to make us bubble over.  Instead of adding more ingredients, we have to adjust our slices.  If we want to spend more time hanging out with the family, where’s that time going to come from?  You might decide to take it from Chores and hire a housekeeper, if you are financially able to do that.  Perhaps you will seek more flexible work hours or work from home, gaining an hour or two in commuting.  Or maybe you want to put more hours in at the office or in your own business.  Perhaps its worth your personal goals to spend a little less time at home, let the kids hang out with Daddy or the grandparents – nothing wrong with that.  You may put in some slices that I would never think of and vice versa.

The size of my slices will surely look different than anyone else’s, and will be a different flavor than many.  But that’s alright.  Mine is for me, and your’s is for you.  You keep your fork over there and I’ll do the same.  There’s many options with the size of the slices, but one thing for sure - we’re not getting a bigger pie pan.  So let’s fill it ‘til its full – no more, no less – and enjoy the sweetness of life.

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