“Lesson not just karate only, lesson for whole life:
Whole life have a balance, everything be better. Understand?”
~Karate Kid, 1984
“You have to find balance;” that’s what everyone told me when I was a young parent complaining that I just could not do it all. But being told to find a balance felt like one more thing I had to accomplish. And I never really knew what it meant. Did “find a balance” mean accomplish everything on my to-do list even if I felt like I was balancing on a razor-thin tightrope?
Now that I’m older and somewhat wiser, I realize that finding balance means letting go of trying for perfection and instead aiming for good enough; learning to say no and meaning it; prioritizing; taking care of me; surrounding myself with people who encourage and appreciate me, and, having some fun along the way.
Here’s one example of finding balance: Let’s say that today you expected to clean the bathroom but your friend calls at the last minute and says, “The weather’s beautiful. Let’s take the kids to the playground.” If you are like me and find it difficult to just drop your chore (I have a bit of a problem with transitions), quickly altering your schedule may not work for you. So here’s a chance to find a balance. Perhaps do a quick wipe-up job on the bathroom and then meet your friend. (Believe it or not, I found a video on YouTube entitled “Clean the Bathroom in 5 Minutes.” Guess what? I tried it and my bathroom looks just as clean as it does when I spend a half-hour scrubbing it! It was a ‘good enough’ job). It’s a way to get something done and still have some fun – a balance.
Try putting “having fun” and “taking care of me” on your to-do list. Then, if you are really task-oriented, you can take a look at your list and exchange bathroom cleaning for sharing some fresh air and an activity with your children and a friend.
By Claire Gawinowicz, Certified Parenting Educator