Forget About Balance and Just Learn to Juggle!

By Dana Dillard
September 23, 2011 • 0 comment(s)
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Dana is Director, Business Development of IronVoice™ and co-founder of S.H.E.-Network a bi-monthly workshop series that teaches women about business technology and hosts networking Tweetups & Mixers for businesswomen. She’s an advocate of small businesses and entrepreneurs and a social media junky. You can follow her @VoipGirl34.

For years I’ve read about “Life Balance or Learning to Balance." I’ve heard people talk about balancing careers and family and for years I tried to do just that…evenly.

I tried to balance the full spectrum of my life from kids, spouse, career, family, friends, fitness and school/civic duties. I was convinced I could successfully equally balance the hats of Martha Stewart, June Cleaver, Meg Whitman…you follow me. I was exhausted and not very happy, but everyone else seemed to be. Then, one day a friend of mine asked “why do you try to be a martyr”?  I pondered that question and then asked it of myself. Why did I try to be everything to everyone and make sure things were just perfect and “balanced”?  Was “balance” overrated? In a sense, I think so.

I’m not saying there shouldn’t be a form of balance. You can’t work all of the time and neglect your family and you can’t vacation all of the time and neglect your work. But it doesn’t have to be equal all of the time.

Slowly, I began to let the balance scale get off balance. I decided to juggle some things. Instead of making sure we had a home cooked mean every single night after work and before practice I started picking up something on the way home. Instead of volunteering for everything in PTA I chose one activity to help with. I started delegating at work instead of trying to do everything myself seeking more recognition. When someone told me to bring a dessert to a function and it had been a long work week, I stopped by the bakery instead of staying up late making it homemade. I learned to say no to more responsibilities and yes to more lunch dates with friends or a weekend away. I learned I didn’t have to be team mom every season or team leader at my job for every event. I learned its ok to be led sometimes and not to always lead.

Juggling became more fun and more relaxing than trying to balance it all.  There may be a week when work is busier than usual and I forgive myself for that if other things have to wait for a while. On the other hand, my children may need my attention more than usual at a certain time so work and other things may have to give a little.  Some weeks I may run 20 miles or more and other weeks I may only get in four or five. However,  it’s not the end of the world if it’s not “balanced”.

Something else I learned about juggling…there are times I may drop a ball or two, but there are plenty of people willing to pick it up for me. So, now I say to myself,  “Enjoy life and do what you can, you only have one”!

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Anonymous's picture

I wish I had read this 40 years ago when I was a MOM not a grandmother... But works for us also...