Seek Peace Instead of Balance

Me with my youngest son 2 days after he was born.

We all want balance right? The mysterious thing called work/life balance. It calls to our souls and tries to woo us into a false sense of security like everything is in perfect balance. It tries to give us a sense that if we do all the right things and take all the right steps we can always have everything in perfect order.

But I don’t think balance is even possible. I don’t think balance should be something we strive for. There are books, podcasts, and videos that talk about work/life balance. They talk about it in ways that seem to empower, but when everything feels like it’s in chaos, we blame ourselves and feel like a failure. Or maybe that’s just me.

Becoming a mom of 3, 2 years ago, was one of the hardest transitions of my life. It was the toughest pregnancy, toughest labor and delivery (21 hours for a home birth, but that’s a story for another day), and toughest post-partum recovery. I still feel like I am trying to recover. This snuggly baby was so sweet and amazing, but all-consuming. I was up every 2 hours a night with him for about a year. I could barely put him down because he was such a light sleeper, he’d wake and cry instantly. So, truth be told, we practiced safe co-sleeping, and I kept him near me to make it easier.

The sleep deprivation was unlike anything I had ever experienced. (There’s a reason they use it for torture. It really messes with your brain.) I worked from home with him and my daughter, while my oldest son went to school. I felt this huge burden to take care of him all by myself overnight. I only asked for help from my hubby when I was so desperate for sleep that I felt like I was going insane.

There was no balance in that season. He consumed almost all that I had to offer. And I felt guilty. I felt like I was failing. I felt like my other kids were going to feel “less-than”. I felt like my life was out of balance and that it was somehow my responsibility to put it back in balance.

But looking back, I realize that what I really wanted wasn’t balance. I realize what I really wanted and needed was peace. I needed peace that we would get through that season and it wouldn’t last forever. I needed peace that my boy would one day sleep more that 2-3 hours at a time at night. I needed peace that I was an amazing mom. I needed a peace that my big kids would be okay.

I needed peace.

And not the superficial “I’m going to be fine” peace. I needed the deep abiding peace that comes through a relationship with God, through Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace. I’ve been a Christian believer since 2001 and I am not ashamed of that. But there are seasons in my life which have rocked my faith and thrown me for a loop. But the Bible says the righteous man falls seven times and gets back up.

While I continued my relationship with Jesus in that season, I wasn’t as close to Him as I should’ve been. I was exhausted and I was isolated. I needed to reach out to my community, but I didn’t. I let fear keep me from relationships that looking back would’ve been healing to my soul.

So, my hope and prayer for you mama is that you embrace this season. Embrace it for what it is and stop trying to control it and to balance it. Motherhood isn’t a teeter totter where you can do enough of the things on each side and create balanced perfection.

Motherhood is a beautiful mess where you get to learn that each season has its beauty and its challenges.

Each season with your children will look different than the last. You’ll need to develop new routines and new habits to help you grow and help you continue to become the woman God created you to be.

Yes mama, motherhood is growth for you too. And if you embrace the seasons and seek peace instead of balance, you’ll be able to weather any challenge that comes your way.

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

– Philippians 4:7 (ESV)

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