amy patton

balancing act

amy patton
balancing act

Balance. It is such a buzz word thrown about the daily chatter and cyberspace of our lives.

Everyone has an idea of what balance looks like and for most, it feels like the elusive pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

We believe that if we could just get our life “in balance,” we could breathe easier, walk around less stressed and be more patient with our kids. Our floors would always be clean and animated bluebirds would circle our heads singing while we strolled through the grocery filling our buggy with organic fruits and veggies to make a grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, non-GMO dinner for our family.

Alas, my life looks quite the opposite of that dreamy, orderly, stress-free existence. Like most of you, I am a wife, mother, daughter, friend, business owner and domestic engineer. I have school and activities and work and bible study and relationships and appointments and volunteer opportunities and projects and those dadgum floors to maintain! Seriously, those floors. I can’t even… (PS. I have added one of those robot vacuums to my Christmas list.)

But in the past 10 years, as I have moved from a single girl who could load up the entire contents of her life in 6 plastic tubs to now a life that seems so big and sometimes complicated, I have learned a few things about balance. In the spirit of lending a helping hand, I wanna share a few of them with you.

 1.     Let go of your idea of normal. When I left the non-profit world to work with my husband in his business, I kept trying to make my old life fit into my new one. Most business owners don’t live an 8-5, M-F life, but that was all I had ever known so I tried to fit a square peg into a round hole. The result was a lot of tension and frustration on my part. It took a toll on my joy and marriage because I was always annoyed that nobody was playing the game by my rules! People, could you get with the program please??? After a few tired years, I just gave up and decided to look for the positives in this new life I had chosen. And to my surprise, there were actually a lot of perks to not being on the same schedule as everybody else. No rush hour traffic, no long lines at the grocery (for all that organic produce), lunch dates and hair appointments in the middle of the week, and date nights with Husband on a Monday night. Guess what??? I actually LOVED not being “normal” and my newfound freedom made me question why I fought it so hard in the first place. So, in the words of my 6 year old, let it go. Let go of the struggle and what may seem to be lost, and look for the positives, big and small, of living outside the lines.

2.     Find your own groove. I have learned over the years that balance isn’t really a destination, but the act of getting into the rhythm of your own life. Stop for a minute and just open your senses to the natural ebb and flow of your life. Listen to the beat of your daily routine. Maybe it’s fast. Maybe it’s slow, but we all do life at a certain pace and that pace is different for everyone. That’s because we were all created differently to accomplish different things on this earth. My pace tends to be pretty rapid fire and I have one friend who always teases me that just watching my life makes her tired. It is just how I am wired. Her pace is much slower and more methodical. That is because we have different strengths and accomplish different things during our days. One of the ways I have found my own groove is in parenting. My husband travels and works late, so if I put our daughter to bed at 7:30 or 8pm when “normal” says children should go to bed, my kid would never see her father. So on the nights she doesn’t have school, I let her stay up until 9:30 or 10pm (which drives my mother crazy!!!) so she can spend a few hours with him. Because of this, they have a special bond and a strong relationship that I know would not be there if I hadn’t decided to do something different. Now I know that it’s not possible for everyone to let their kids run around like crazy people late into the night, but it’s just an example of how we have stepped outside the lines and found what works for us. Find what works for you and don’t be afraid to find your own groove.

3.     Do it with purpose. I could spend another 800+ words just talking about purpose because it truly is a passion of mine, but I will save that for another chat over another cup of awesome. I just want to encourage you here as you begin to let go of some things and embrace new things, just make sure that the changes you are making have purpose. What do they accomplish? How do they enhance or balance your life or your family? What does this teach your children about the world they live in and how to be successful in it? Are you prepared to graciously handle the criticism that comes with going against the grain? (Garth Brooks reference intended.) Be bold and be fierce, but just make sure that your courage is backed by purpose.

I hope that sharing some of my struggle encourages you who are weary to try something different. Maybe this was just the confirmation you needed to step out and make changes that have been rolling around in your head for some time. Or maybe you are still obsessing about my dirty floors.