Can we women truly find balance?

By Kelli Warner,
KMTR-TV Morning News anchor, Springfield

As women, it seems we are always looking to find balance in our lives.I know as a working mother, this has been a struggle of mine for some time. Because—let’s not sugar-coat it—motherhood is a big job.

Think about it. You are responsible for sustaining the lives of said amount of human beings, keeping things clean—from clothes to bathrooms—and making sure everyone is loved, nurtured, included, and on- time to wherever they need to be at any given moment, on any given day.  And should you falter at any of those tasks, you’re faced with that gnawing question: “Am I a good mother?”  All those books and parenting “experts” will say yes, but your head doesn’t let you off the hook that easy.

And sometimes—neither do your kids.

I’ll give you a perfect example that I will never forget.  It had been one of those weeks, you know the ones where you’re barely hanging on by your fingernails.  There’s a million things to do, busy schedules to keep up and not enough hours in the day to get everything done.  I was behind on the laundry, I’ll admit it.  My son needed socks so I told him just to pull a pair out of the clothes hamper.  (They’re socks, not underwear, so what’s the harm in that?)  Now, in full disclosure, I told him to do this for a couple days in a row.  On day three, he was having no part of it.  Instead of complying with my simple request, he threw up his hands, stared right at me, and in all his seven-year-old authority declared: “Mom! I can’t keep doing this. You’re gonna have to do some laundry!”

(Stunned silence)

I’ll admit, I should have known it was coming, but I was speechless when my second grader called me out, right there in the kitchen.  So I did the only thing I could.  I laughed.  I really laughed, even while I apologized profusely for my maternal oversight.  It was the kind of scene you’d find smack in the middle of a TV sitcom.  He was seven, not blind.  He knew how things were suppose to run, and I clearly had dropped the ball. He’d obviously bit his tongue as long as he could.  Now, it was out there.  I was still chuckling to myself while I scavenged him up a pair of socks–both matching just to make things better– and I sent him off to school with one more apology for good measure.

Needless to say, I did two loads of laundry that night (socks included) and I smiled the entire time.  Never underestimate the honesty of children.

Which leads me back to my whole point about “balance”.

Maybe, just maybe, we could agree as working moms that sometimes it’s ok to raise the white flag—admit that perhaps the “balance” we work so hard to find, doesn’t always exist.  Despite what those parenting empowerment books preach, maybe there are just going to be days when the dishes don’t get done, the laundry pile grows and your son successfully avoids the bath he really had no interest in taking from the beginning.  Life is just plain messy sometimes and we as women should learn to embrace that.  We’re not perfect. Our houses are not always straight as a pin.  Our to-do list gets longer, not shorter. And you know what?  That’s ok.  Our families are happy and healthy and loved.  And there’s always tomorrow to start again.

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