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Balance, Peace and Productivity?

Balance, Peace and Productivity

I added a question mark to the title of this article because I have not yet discovered how to successfully accomplish all three simultaneously. In fact until recently, the idea to strive towards that hadn’t occurred to me at all.

As mothers, it’s safe to say we’re all “do-ers.” We manage our families and sometimes that’s our full-time job. Many also manage work outside the home, and then attempt to give something back to ourselves by calling a dentist appointment “me” time. I certainly fell victim to that cycle while my daughter was a newborn – I distinctly remember feeling as though stretching out in that dentist’s chair was luxurious. It was the realization of that thought that sent off sirens loud and clear: Amy, this is your wakeup call; your life is currently out of balance.

I’ve always considered peace and productivity very different themes…like salt and pepper: seemingly opposite, but perhaps together a likely pair. It took some time for me to arrive at thought also. You see, we all strive for peace. We want it for the world; we want it for ourselves. But before I actively pursued peace for myself (that’s right, I said “actively pursued peace”), I considered it a bit hokey. I thought of peace signs and hippies and people sitting around accomplishing nothing in all their “peacefulness.” I have no problem with hippies, I very much admire the era, but it certainly isn’t happening now in the world. It seems we’re all just too busy to “give peace a chance,” aren’t we?

Which brings me to productivity. The term “unproductive mother” is an oxymoron. In fact, we’re in productive overdrive. When comparing myself to a car transmission, I can’t say I wake up in neutral and shift to first, transfer to second and swing to third gear. I rise in third gear and then immediately accelerate to fifth, where I tend to remain for the remainder of the day. And though I know this is obviously terrible for transmissions and myself, what are my choices? Not get done what needs to get done? Let things fall through the cracks while I’m slowing “shifting” into high gear? The fact is, to-do lists get accomplished in high gear, and free me up to move on to the next list calling my name.

As New Year’s Eve approached and I began reflecting on the past year and all it’s craziness, I found myself drained, spent, exhausted and empty. I had done a lot; and I received many oooohs and aaaahs from friends and family asking me how I do it all. I always had my answer ready for them: “Not well. I may be doing it all, but I don’t do it well, and everything seems to be suffering as a result.”

I started to think about how I wanted to live this year, 2010, the beginning of a brand new decade. While my responsibilities won’t change, in fact they’ll likely increase. I knew what I didn’t want: unmanageable stress, major turmoil and inner conflict and the good news was, I was in charge of all this. And then what I did want dawned on me: balance, peace and productivity. The thought stopped me in my tracks because the sheer idea of all three not only existing simultaneously, but co-existing in harmony, was inconceivable just a few minutes prior. I decided that this was one random thought I did not want to float away. I wanted to embrace it and nourish it and so it could flourish within me. At this point, what did I really have to lose anyway?

I was recently having a catch-up conversation with a close friend who is no longer so close by, and we discussed the holidays and contemplated 2009. When she too asked me how I “did it all,” I gave her my stock answer (not well) and my new idea (to focus on balance, peace and productivity in all I do). She paused for a minute and asked me straight out (as she often does): “Wow Amy, how are you planning to do that?” I smiled and replied, “Well Lara, figuring that out is pretty much what 2010 will be about. But I’ll keep you posted…”

Author: Amy

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