By Patricia Gonzalez
a word or phrase, often an item of jargon, that is fashionable at a particular time or in a particular context.
A term or phrase that sounds good, but means nothing
Balance is a buzzword.
Everyone wants balance. Balanced meals. Balanced numbers. Balanced personalities. Balanced lives.
When I was in college, balance was what I wanted too, and so I pursued it. I believed that life required a resume that I needed impressive content for. Balance meant to be the jill-of-all-trades—master of all.
On campus, we had these demi gods walking among us…one in particular who was a talented athlete, who was enrolled in a double major honors course, who was handsome, who had a pretty girlfriend, who had a successful business on the side, AND… wait for it, he also happened to be really nice.
And so that level of MAGIS was the standard I set for myself. I won’t go into the details, but I basically tried to do everything. All to the point of a burn out my mind absolutely refused to acknowledge until my body would tolerate it no longer. And so, in more ways than one, I broke. My tiny frame could not take on the world. So God said STOP, because I would not.
Several years later, you would think that I had learned my lesson. But it is the same drama on a different day. The same foolishness, in a different life chapter.
I am no longer a student. I now have two children under two years. Two babies. That, if anything, makes me a full fledged adult with very real and very serious responsibilities—and balance obviously means much more than a high GPA, a colorful social life, and being well, nice.
Balance has also become more complicated thanks to social media. We now not only have to do and have it all, but we also have tell the whole world about it too. We must toot our own horns through no less than beautifully curated and filtered photos of our perfect children, our wonderful spouses, our stylish homes, our enviable vacations, and our successful careers. And don’t forget the witty captions and hashtags. We are indeed, #Blessed. Humblebrags not intended, we swear. #Pressure.
My second born turned a month old yesterday. I found out I was two months pregnant when my first daughter was six months old. Just when I was getting the hang of being a mom. Just when I was about to start my new part time job. And then just when everything seemed to be functioning smoothly through an easy pregnancy, time sped up and my due date was suddenly just around the corner. It was time to get ready for yet another change. Thus, whatever sort of balance I was just beginning to achieve was about to be lost, and I really really really did not want to let that go.
You can’t balance babies, I am learning. The first two weeks of two babies was painful. I was recovering from a c-section, nursing a newborn, and trying to appease my first born. Whenever I spent time with one baby, I’d feel guilty about neglecting the other. It was both physically and emotionally exhausting, because during the moments I should have rested, I entertained whichever baby wasn’t sleeping. Sometimes I would try to carry them both around our home at the same time, which was not the smartest thing for someone healing from an operation. Our helper commented once, as she watched me jump from one baby to another: “Nalilito na ang nanay!” (This mother is getting confused/going crazy). And I was.
But somehow, at some point…things started to quietly mellow out. Before I could notice it, the crazy sneakily began to calm. Pieces of advice from different moms were beginning to sink in, and I slowly incorporated the parts that I felt would work for us into our family dynamic. Change.
Letting go was one (especially since it was time for me to go back to work). It was time to let our helper, HELP ME. It takes a village to raise a child, thank God for that.
And accepting that maybe motherhood isn’t about perfect and equal portions of time and affection for each child, but about striving to meet each child’s unique needs. The latter insight came from my equally sleep deprived husband, who is every bit as affected by this juggle/tango/balancing act as I am. And coming from a family of eight children, he just might be speaking from experience.
Maybe having two babies will finally teach me to stop chasing balance. To stop chasing perfect. Because life is always changing, and there will always be parts of it that will weigh heavier on my heart than others. I should enjoy the lighter seasons when they are there, but I cannot hold on to them. Because the scales will move again.
Balance then, must be permanently temporary.
Because maybe, all balance REALLY is, is a buzzword.
Patricia Gonzalez is MOMCENTER’s Editor. She has two adorable daughters–ages 1 and 2, and is married to a man who inspires her to be a better woman everyday.
She is a woman on a mission, and believes that motherhood is not limiting, but empowering. Join her on her journey by following her on instagram at @patriciaogonzalez.