It’s a Balance Beam…Not a Tightrope

I am the first person to admit I walk a tight line between overextending myself and keeping myself busy. It is my nature to volunteer for things. I love holding a position in the Junior League. I love teaching Sunday School. How would I feel not being on the executive council for my Moms Club?

That doesn’t even touch on my responsibilities as a wife and mother. Or a blogger. Or a friend. Or a daughter & sister. You get the picture.

I don’t like to be bored. My life always seems better if I’m moving and flowing and filling my agenda book with playdates and commitments. My balance beam gets thinner and thinner as I walk the line between overcommited and busy.

I’m not alone. So many of us walk carefully on that balance beam. We wonder if anyone will notice we didn’t do laundry today or that dinner is leftovers from two nights ago. Will the kids be scarred for life if they don’t get to play 20 sports? Will our husbands notice that we’ve been in our pajamas all day?

It is time that we learn to intentionally say no. We need to give ourselves time to relax and bask in those silent moments. If we’re volunteering for every co-op, playgroup, and church activity when are we recharging? No one is meant to give 20 hours a day to others.

Here are some tips for deciding what commitments to accept and what to decline:

1. Get the most bang for your family’s time. Something tells me that volunteering to stuff envelopes 20 hours a week for a local charity isn’t going to do much for the others in your house. However, volunteering 3 hours a week as a family stuffing lunches or organizing a food pantry will.

2. Do I really want to do this? Just because your best friend loves to cook meals for the neighbors once a week doesn’t mean you do. Don’t commit to something to impress others. You will end up resenting the activity and your friends.

3. Is this going to improve me? Nothing I do for Junior League improves the life of my husband or son, but it helps me. I work closely with amazing women who care about the community, and I get to use some of those skills from my previous career. I thrive during the hour or so a day I take to handle my responsibilities. This improves my mental health and gives me a chance to keep skills fresh.

4. Am I giving up family time for this? I have a self-imposed rule to not use the laptop when other family members are awake. Maybe in your house you don’t use your smart phone during homeschool hours. If you are giving up quality family time, you need to decide if it is worth it. Any of my blogging, email answering {if it can’t be done with a quick smart phone response} is relegated to naptime and the early morning. My husband deserves better from me than blogging during our time together in the evenings.

5. Is this necessary? Sometimes side projects distract us from what is really important. Do I really need to repaint the bookcase when there are games of trains to play or books to be read? No. I would love chocolate chip cookies, but do they need to be baked when there is laundry to be folded? Prioritization is an important part of balancing our lives.

As we release some of the commitments from our lives I think we will notice a sense of calm come over us. There will be peace where before there was a to do list a mile long and a calendar that didn’t have a single blank space. I’m learning to relish the days where my calendar is empty – those days where I can truly say my balance beam is wide enough to walk easily.

I’m learning that it is a balance beam…not a tightrope.

Stephanie is a boy mom who loves cooking, baking, and playing trains. She writes at The Brunette Foodie {}, and can be found on Twitter {} and Facebook {}.

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  1. Excellent post!! It is so easy to get caught up in doing things because they are good, but even in the good they might not be right for us and our families at that time. Thank you for so beautifully reminding me to look at the commitments on my plate and to guard my time wisely.

    Bless you!

  2. This is so very similar to the struggle I am having now……only mine is learning to be ok with the “standing still”. I was going to sit down and try to write a post about it tonight. I have learned to streamline our schooling, and minimize our daytime commitments (we won’t talk about our night time sports schedule). Now I just need to learn to be content in curling up to watch a show with the kids, or read a book, or play a game with them. I need to let my mind be at ease that my checklists are complete (the important things anyways), and that just because I am “sitting still” does not mean I have dropped the ball somewhere!

  3. I agree so much. I tend to find my self giving plenty of time to do less important things. I think i has to do with perfectionism, as you simply can’t stop something – even if its completely unnecessary right now.
    thats my 0.02$.

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