Disclaimer: I might be wrong.
A friend of mine recently asked about balance. In particular, the balancing act of being a parent (of little ones), a spouse, and working, all while still having space for ourselves to flourish as individuals. Sound familiar? It's the question we as parents ask ourselves ALL. THE. TIME. Because it's hard, right? Especially when you see the perceived "freedom" of some of your other friends who don't have such commitments.
If you don't mind, let me offer the same thought on balance that I shared with her. Now pay attention because it's huge. .
You ready for it?
Here it goes...
Forget about balance.
Seriously, forget about it. It doesn't exist. And the more I have tossed this expectation out the window, the more sane I remain. Balance is just not going to exist my life right now. For a few years, my life will be out of balance, primarily weighted to the side of raising little human beings and ushering them out into the world. By thinking there will somehow be an equilibrium with other aspects of my life only ends up being frustrated and burned out.
So what can we do to not go crazy? A few things.
First, I have found that really being intentional about the time I do get to myself (or ourselves) is important. Have a free night? Great. DO NOT DO SHIT YOU DON'T WANT TO DO. My time is precious these days and I value it. For me, enjoying a few hours or so with a book, music, or film is my way to reenergize. I'm an introvert who plays extrovert all day long. So these moments are precious to me and if I don't protect them, everyone around me feels it. Sometimes saying no to good things is hard, but it's must if I want to continue to thrive as both a parent and individual. You will have friends who won't understand, but the ones worth holding on to will support your journey as a parent (this I say from experience).
I've found a lot of freedom in accepting the fact that my life will be disproportionally spent with these little creatures for a few years. After all, it's what I signed up for, isn't it? By not fighting it, I think we can gain freedom for ourselves and our kids.
So what about you? Do you think about balance? How do you approach this?