Why Balance Is So Elusive: Just Get Off The Balance Bandwagon Already


Photo By James Jordan


Balance is overrated.  I think.

Of course, this may be due to my laid-back personality. And the fact that I’ve rarely experienced what balance feels like. I always fall short, and the quest is filled with feelings of shame that I can’t figure life out. As if life was about that. 

Is it not?

The Work-Life Balance Myth

What is balance anyway ? I picture a weighing scale, where both objects measured are equal in weight. Each is no more nor less than the other. There is no tilting back and forth, no movement.  Perfect equilibrium. But to what end? 

Because we want to be well-rounded people? Because it’s what successful people do? My guess is because for many of us, balance means control. It means we have a handle on our life. We got everything covered. Social life? Check. Home life? Check. Career? Check. Recreational Activities?Check. 

And when one thing ends up weighing more in our scale than everything else in our life, we panic and do everything we can to put things back to “normal.” And so the cycle goes. I don’t know how many of us would admit to actually achieving that balance in our lives, but I have a hunch that there aren’t too many. 

Maybe It’s Not About Achieving Balance But Learning To Live With Tension

I don’t know how balance became a standard to live up to.  Maybe because we are all too keenly aware of the Great Imbalance in the world. Our propensity towards addictions and obsessions, neurotic determinations of sorts. But what if, instead of striving for the Balance that we will never have in our lives, we instead diverted our energies into learning how to live with the Tension? 

The tension in our lives between good and evil? Between being self-centered and other-centered? Between independence and needing people? Between laziness and over-productivity? Between faith and doubt?

Maybe It’s Not About Achieving Balance But Focusing On The Right Thing At The Right Time

Life is about changes. And we dance with the changes. And sometimes, it requires is to be totally off-balance to get with the change. Life is also about passion. And we learn to ride that passion. And sometimes, it requires us to be consumed and positively focused on a few things if not just one. And it’s perfectly okay. 

Let’s Get Practical

As a new stay-at-home mom, I am trying my daily best to be all here with my daughter and embrace the domestic life. It’s not always easy. And it’s because I’m often thinking of my dreams and desires of doing the stuff I love that doesn’t involve diapers. Of writing, creating, connecting ideas, and so much more. I sometimes think, gee, my life is so off balance. I’m 90% domestic 9% career and 1% social life. Can I get it down to 50/50? But who wants 50/50? To be honest, I’d rather have 100/100 (who wouldn’t?) but that just isn’t possible. So 90/9/1 it is. For now.

There is a time for everything. My daughter is young. She deserves more than a 50/50 deal of me. I’ll take the 9 remaining parts I have left of working on the stuff I love and be as efficient and strategic and creative as I can make it. One day, the pendulum will begin to swing a little differently and when that happens, I’ll be ready.

So, what do you think about balance?  Chime in. It’s probable that I’ve just lost my mind and need to be set back on the right track. I’m all ears.

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  1. says

    often what i think on, also. i have two little girls–3 & 19 months. i have to remind myself daily that this is not the end all. everything is a stage. but trying to relish in the moment, and give them that 100/100 or 90/9/1…tricky. but fulfilling in the end.

  2. says

    Interesting thoughts. I think you are right when you say that at certain points in our life we need to prioritize and give more of our time, energies, finances, etc. to a specific cause, like parenting. All things in life do not deserve equal attention.

    I guess I’ve always though of balance in terms of things like diet, discipline, entertainment, scheduling, etc. – things that can or should be done, but should not be overdone.
    .-= Kim @ Staying Home´s last blog ..Recipe Roundup 5/1 =-.

  3. Vina Barham says

    Hi Kim, You got me thinking there. Things that can be done or should be done but not overdone. Did you mean that we need to balance these things in terms of not doing too much of them? Like a balanced diet of entertainment means we don’t have too much? Just wanted to clarify.

  4. says

    Loved this post!! Thank you for helping me to stop seeking perfect balance!!! I have four small children, and balance is pretty elusive for me at this time…
    Great advice and well-written!!!
    .-= Mary Elizabeth´s last blog ..Pockets of Solitude =-.

  5. says

    well, I think scripturally it is taught to have moderation in all things. many turn that into “balance in all things.” for me I don’t want to learn to accept tension because I’m a huge stress case already. i create tension when I don’t need to. so…today I’m driving home a two hour drive and I’m freaking out about my bank balance and if I’m overdrawn and I think “ok there is nothing I can do for 2 hours so I can spend the drive freaking out or I can just let it go and enjoy my drive”

    maybe, for me, its that finding balance means I am finding more joy in life and that is why I strive for it?

  6. Vina Barham says

    Hi Nina, I am with you about not needing to create tension if by that we mean more stress in our lives. I think I am thinking of tension in a different way. More of the tension in our lives when we are sort of caught in the middle between two things that can’t seem to co-exist in the same space. I’ve been there done that about choosing to freak out over something or just let it go, and yay for you for choosing to let go. I guess I see letting go as the opposite of trying to find balance. Funny how different our minds work, huh?

  7. says

    Great thoughts – I’ve never thought of it that way. I’m a laid-back personality as well so this makes a lot of sense to me and helps explain why “balance” is so elusive to me and maybe you’re right, it’s not necessarily the thing I should be striving for!
    .-= Leslie´s last blog ..Paint bubbles =-.

  8. Vina Barham says

    Hi Leslie! I love it when I meet fellow “laid-back” folks. I hesitate to call us that because I think it’s so much more than being laid-back! :) But yes, I find it much easier to breathe when I don’t have to pressure myself towards Balance.

  9. says

    Balance, I would consider it a driving force of not only my life, but of existence overall for everything, every being. It’s interesting to read such different views and completely understandable, especially for a new mom. I remember feeling very focused on being a mom when the kids were younger. I see balance as something the ebb and flows, but overall is necessary, but not something that should add stress or tension. On a personal level I do feel when things are off, in fact the last time I felt this strongly was Spring of ’09 and I had this incredible desire, this need for an adrenaline rush. I just knew I had to get away for a few days and so something adventurous, so my best girl friend and I booked a trip to Tennessee to go primitive camping and white water rafting. I don’t super consciously balance work and family, but I DO feel when one is hindering the other and make a change. I think balance is something that happens sometime over a long period of time. Like when you’re a new mom, life is like you said 90/9/1 and now that my kids are 7 & 9 and they’ve been in school for several years I can focus more on me so the ratios have swayed a bit. I just feel it comes naturally.
    .-= Tanya´s last blog ..The Perfectly flawed Life List =-.


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