Balance – Holy Grail of the Busy Mom

I am a problem solver, always have been. I mean this in the sense that I am compelled to fix things, identify alternatives, find work-arounds. The more impossible the situation the higher my “fixer” intensity level. There are problems to be solved every day. I attack them with gusto, each solution more creative than the next. It exhilarates me.

 


Of course, my husband would tell you that these problems I’m solving—need a babysitter for three-year-old twins on just a day’s notice, midnight discovery that teenager must have sports physical completed for 8 a.m. next-morning team try-out, got entire family through airport security with thirty minutes to spare before boarding but neglected to pack underwear, etc.—are really not natural occurrences but, rather, the result of poor planning.

 

Whatever.

The point is, I am a SOLVER.

After all, I have had a very successful career. It took organization, diligence and brains to work my way up the corporate ladder to reach the executive ranks at a Fortune 100 company (a feat completed in less than four years thank-you-very-much.) I am obviously a skilled planner and leader. And now that I work out of my home, I continue to work very hard to be proactive. With a high schooler and twin toddlers in the house, a business to run, and a book to promote, how can I not?

Examples of my proactive nature:

  • The creation of daily to-do lists
  • The movement of items from the current day’s list to the next day’s list when it becomes obvious that I’m not going to get to that particular task on the current day
  • The maintenance (albeit inconsistent) of a family calendar, posted on the fridge for all to peruse and update
  • The purchase of a Palm Pilot, iPod touch, Android phone, iPad, and multiple lap top computers, all of which feature applications or programs designed for “Productivity”

Admittedly, it’s a pretty pathetic list. But I, like pretty much every woman I know between the ages of twenty and seventy, have a lot of balls in the air. And frankly, things just have a habit of failing to go according to plan, a phenomenon that (for me) increased with the addition of the twins in 2007, and again with the release of my first children’s book in June of this year. So, I strap on my firefighter gear and get to work, make lemonade, etc.

(Pay attention, here comes the big “a-ha!”

There is joy to be found in making it all work, in wrangling the chaos into something that resembles a full, engaging life for my children, my husband, and myself. I don’t always succeed, but when I do, it is sweet fulfillment.

For me, that’s the key. We women, once we commit to marriage and children (especially when we have first developed our careers) must learn to measure success differently. The standard to which we hold ourselves must become less linear, less public. Success lies in striking the appropriate balance, however you choose to define it. The greatest achievements will likely go unrecognized, but the intrinsic rewards, including the happiness and security of our children, surpass any job promotion, performance bonus, or compensation perk.

 





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