In Others' WordsIn Others' Words

Thursday, September 15, 2011

In My Words: Balance, Balance, Keep Your Balance

I'm mulling over blog topics last night with my husband. Our conversation went like this:
Me: Maybe I'll post about how writing affects the family.
My husband: That would be a great idea!
OK, then. Glad he had an opinion.
My writing life--my professional life--frustrates my family at times. Not all the time. At least, I don't think so. Of course, I can't ask any of them because they're all in bed while I finish this blog post.
Here's the problem: I work from home.
Yes, there are so many advantages to working from home. That whole no-commute-can-stay-in-my-jammies-thing? Kinda nice on the days that the deadlines gang up on me.
And when everyone else is gone--at school or at work away from home--I can go to my office and get a lot accomplished, writing-wise. And even throw in the occasional load of laundry.
But eventually my family comes home. They are no longer working. And sometimes--oftentimes--I still am. This is when frustration kicks in.
Believe me, I try, try, try to walk away from the computer. (Please notice the multiple "trys.") Just because school is over for my 10-year-old doesn't mean the countdown to my deadline stopped ticking. And when my husband comes home, he leaves work at his office. Yes, he may have a few things to finish up on the computer, but for him work and home are separate entities.
For me? Work and home are one and the same.
And therein lies both my advantage and my frustration.
Problem: How to balance being a stay-at-home mom-work-from-home-woman?
Answer: I don't know. You tell me.
Sorry. Although I will take any suggestions.
For me, it is all about balance. I love the photo I found for this blog post. I'm fascinated by that rock balancing on that other rock. I mean, it just shouldn't be able to do that.
And that's how I feel about my life: I just can't do it.
But I want to. And I will.
What I have to remember is this: Finding balance is not a one-time thing. (This is where that photo fails to capture truth.) In real life, balance is more like walking across a tightrope, with constant adjustments in position required to make it safely across to the other side.
 Some days I manage to balance real life (my family) with my writing life. I meet my deadlines and I'm an available wife, mom and friend. Other days? Not so much. I go to bed with a niggling sense of dissatisfaction.
One thing I know is this: I won't quit. I'll adjust and adjust some more until I get it right for the next day. And the next.

In Your Words: Have you found the balance you need for your life priorities? What helps you be available for both your real life and your writing life?

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At 9:44 AM, Blogger Edie Melson said...

Wow, this one's tough! In our household we have this issue times 2. My husband and I both work from home - and have for the past 13 years. Some days it goes well, some days, well, it just goes.
Right now we're working through an amazing book during our devotion time. T.J. Addington's LIVE LIKE YOU MEAN IT. We're already beginning to incorporate some of the things and we're not even finished with it yet.
I think our biggest challenge is that life isn't static. You solve one problem and life changes and another one pops up. I'm excited to see how others deal with this.

At 9:50 AM, Blogger dtopliff said...

Great post. I live by myself, mostly, and still meet timing issues. Also love the great photo; what's that darling creature in the background?

At 10:49 AM, Blogger Jeanne T said...

Beth, I don't know how to balance everything yet. :) Someone once shared a word picture (was is Susie?) about balance. When you stand on one leg, you may stand up straight for a few seconds, but then you list to the left, rebalance, list to the right, rebalance. You can't stay standing straight all the time you're on that one leg.

Life is like that. I may have a couple of days where I have writing life and real life balanced, but then something happens to throw that balance off. So, I'm working to do most of my writing when the family is at school/work, and when they're home to be all there with them. Of course, I don't have added responsibilities like editing, or preparing my first novel for publication. Like you and Edie mentioned, it seems to be a day-by-day thing I'm figuring out as each day comes.

I look forward to hearing what others share, too!

At 11:48 AM, Blogger Alena T. said...

I have to agree Beth!
Adjust and adjust. I have the same issues, balancing my responsibilities, working from home.
I'm constantly adjusting. The thing I really, really, try to keep in attitude. If I can keep a positive attitude, it goes down like honey, if not..well vinegar and I have a lot in common!


At 1:13 PM, Blogger Keli Gwyn said...

Like you, I struggle to juggle my writing life and my personal life. I'm blessed to have an incredibly supportive hubby and be in the Empty Nest stage of life, so I have more freedom than most. However, because of that, I can end up working long hours and have to remind myself of the need to take breaks.

At 1:19 PM, Blogger Evangeline Denmark said...

For me it's not so much about balance as it is about justification. How can I justify taking this time from my family when my writing adds nothing to the family. The hours I put in reap no financial reward and aren't I selfish to keep endulging my dream when I could be keeping my house clean, exercising half the day, and preparing gourmet meals? It's when I'm in this frame of mind that my husband reminds me that I'm not a very sane or enjoyable person when I'm not writing. "This family depends on YOUR sanity in order to function," he says, "and writing keeps you sane." So I continue with my writing therapy because I do have to stay sane in order to serve my family. I guess that's enough justification for now.

At 3:16 PM, Blogger Beth K. Vogt said...

First: Evangeline, I love your husband! I mean, I love that he supports your writing and knows you need to write!
And secondly, I think if we continue to support one another as we all strive for balance, we'll manage. Day by day seems to be the theme.

At 4:19 PM, Blogger InSeason Mom Cynthia said...

Great post! I would write more about how much I enjoyed reading this post, but my daughters are home from school now and my husband will be home soon. I'll just say as the others, "I take one a time!"

At 4:31 PM, Blogger Erin MacPherson said...

Funny thing... I also try try try to walk away from the computer but here I am, online reading blogs while my kids are playing. Ugh. Step away from the computer, Erin. Thanks for the reminder.

At 5:22 PM, Blogger Beth K. Vogt said...

I've done the same thing many a-time, Erin. Thinking, "I'll just do this one thing ..." And then I find myself at the computer 30 minutes later ...

At 4:11 AM, Blogger Stacy S. Jensen said...

I still haven't found a balance with my now toddler. It's all been an interesting and exciting adjustment.

At 6:10 AM, Anonymous Miranda said...

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