Saturday, June 6, 2009


Back before we set off on this hospital adventure, I was mulling over what seems to be a recurring theme with me - balance. One thing that still stymies me is how young couples today can balance ambition, careers, marriage and parenthood. I know of one couple where the wife had dreamed of a certain career since she was knee-high to a duck, but it was one that required her to stay in one place. When she fell madly in love with a young man whose career required him to relocate on a regular basis, she tossed six years of private school education aside and settled in to be a full-time homemaker.

I know another young woman who does have some yearnings towards motherhood, but she has shoved them into a box, labeled it "ridiculous dreams", and locked it away in the recesses of her mind. She has devoted half her life to education and training in order to reach her career goals, and just doesn't see any possible way to balance motherhood with her demanding career.

For both of these women, life is an all-or-nothing proposition. At some point, they are bound to experience twinges of doubt, wondering about the path not taken, but they just don't see any alternative. I wish I could tell them otherwise. I wish I could say "Here, just follow my advice and you can have your cake and eat it too, and life will always be in perfect harmony," but as you well know, it doesn't work that way. There is no perfect solution for those with very high expectations.

I used to worry because I wasn't amibitious enough. I was never the type of person who could set her sights on a goal and put all else aside until that goal was achieved. Heck, I even have trouble picking sides in an argument, for I can usually see both points of view. Some call it being wishy-washy. I like to think of it as flexibility. I often wished that I could be more gung-ho, more stick-to-the-path, but now I realize that life is much easier for those of us who don't see everything as black or white, but more as an ever-blending color wheel of endless combinations and possibilities. We see no straight roads, only winding paths with many, many forks jutting off of them, and we realize that there is no such thing as perfection.

My children seem to be polar opposites in this regard. One tends to think in black and white - you are either right, or you are wrong. The other should probably have been named Gumby. I think the world needs both types. Where would we be without the Ghandis, Mother Teresas and MLKs to lead and inspire us, but what kind of mother would want their child to follow that path and suffer that kind of hardship? On the other hand, where would we be if we were all just happy-go-lucky, roll with the punches kind of people? Occasionally I find myself wishing that I could toss my kids together in a blender, whirl them around for a bit and let each rub off on the other just a tad. Not because I don't adore them exactly as they are, but just to give them each a wider array of weapons and tools to select from, on the journey ahead.


Linda said...

Wonderful post. I especially like the paragraph with these words "ever-blending color wheel of endless combinations and possibilities."

I have read that the Obamas had problems in their marriage around 2000. I can't imagine they wouldn't, two strong minded people with very different goals in life. Look what they worked out!

lexlane said...

I dunno...rubbing up against my brother sounds kind of nasty to me!

Jana said...

You have certainly hit on a hot topic for me right now. I am working full time right now with a 4 and 6 year old. I would love to be home with them, but finances don't allow for this currently. My 6 year old has autism and Dr bills and therapy are so expensive. Plus I must make all his food from scratch (due to multiple food allergies) and keep the house going. I try to put everything in perspective and create balance in my life, but lately it has been a losing battle.

Hill Country Hippie said...

Thanks so much for stopping by Jana. I can't imagine trying to juggle the load that your are handling right now, but I see from your blog that you are on the right path - making the choice to find beauty and happiness in the little things. You go girl!