My January 2014 issue of Real Simple arrived in our mailbox a few days ago, after my usual month of restless anticipation between issues. The January issue has always been my favorite after the Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas issues get out of the way. I never fully appreciate those three.
Like so many other people, January feels like a fresh start to me, a chance to begin again, reset back at one.
Usually devoured overnight, this time I'm three days and less than 40 pages in and I am not enjoying this issue.
This issue is different from the usual resolutions and spring cleaning tips. It's about balance. Balancing work and home life, simple and complicated, do it all or do enough and every page makes my heart beat a little faster and I feel more antsy than the one before. What is it about reading words of trying to be and do everything you want and trying to do whatever you do well and with peace within yourself that's making me a little crazy?
Maybe I feel guilty. I sort of know what all the writers of the articles are going through and it's not always nice and pretty.
My life right now consists of family. My work/life balance is solidly tipped in that direction and I like it. After five years of giving my best every second of every day to something that I loved, but wasn't really mine, sometimes at the cost of my family, it feels wonderful to pour myself into what I feel really matters. Sometimes I feel unappreciated and like the light at the end of the tunnel is 18 light years away, but I am enjoying my work. The repetition of doing the simple, little things like laundry, diapers, and dishes everyday is one that I love, but sometimes am overwhelmed by. I move through the days at a pace slower than I used to, but still with determination and purpose.
Before Mayhem was born, even when Boots and I were still dating, I knew this was what I wanted. It wasn't always as clear to me, but I knew I would not be able to balance the balls of employee, wife, mother, cook, house cleaner, and sane person without getting hit in the head. I'm glad I had the chance to figure out what I wanted early on so I had the time to work towards it.
Because we did. Boots and I worked towards me getting to stay home with our baby and even though we accomplished a lot, we're still learning how to make it work. Divide and conquer. That's our balance.
Maybe my feelings aren't necessarily guilt, but nostalgic empathy. And the wish that more people could feel the way I do now.