Thursday, August 25, 2011

Balance, in Art Terms

Taking Back My Family could have many subtitles - Take Back My Life, Take Back Myself, Take Back My Husband, Take Back My Time. 
Symmetrical balance can be described as having equal weight on equal sides of a centrally placed fulcrum.
I think this can only be done with two sides and only certain things. Is there an instrument that has a fulcrum in the middle but with five extensions? And then each extension has to be balanced with multiple arms of everything that person has to balance? So, our family is the central fulcrum. Each one of us is an extension. Each extension must learn to balance friends, school, work, sports, relationships. And so on. 
It’s all very complicated and unstable, and I doubt if it will ever be totally and completely balanced at any one time. 
With August allowing more unscheduled time, we are beginning to untangle some of our mess. We are talking about values, and what each of us really wants to do.  I knew I had to do write my update, and usually I have it ready a few days early. I was having a rough day yesterday and started to write then. It would have gone something like this:
Taking Back My Family really sort of stinks. And its not really possible. We cut out most activities and they are home a lot. They mess up the house. They bicker. And they are hungry all the time. 
And it might have continued like this: 
I don’t want to cook dinner every night at home. I don’t want to have to clean up after them all the time. I don’t want to fight their learning disabilities all the time.  I don’t actually want more time because I’ve created more time and in that space, I clean, I am a referee, a tutor, a short order cook. 
So, I texted a sitter down the street to see if she was available to help out today. I didn’t want anyone else around in August and I have been full throttle trying to make good memories and enjoy the summer with my kids. And I have done that. We have done so much this month - lots of activities and plenty of down time for the kids at home. Down time for the kids at home translates into me busting my butt to organize more, cook more, ...etc.  So, I was grumpy and mad at them for being spoiled kids that get so much. 
Hold on. Wait a Second. Those aren’t very loving feelings for a mother to have toward her kids about experiences that she has choreographed. 
Yep, I did it again.  Why do I keep doing it again and again? I forgot to make time for me.  I became anxious that school was starting and we hadn’t done enough. I was forcing family and fun. I was lamenting the passage of time and wanted to enjoy every minute I could with them. 
But it made me crabby.  Chloe’s birthday party is tomorrow and I haven’t done much for it.  I figured I would spend today doing that.  And that made me crabby.  OK. What mother gets crabby about planning a birthday celebration for her daughter? 
So, the sitter came and I have spent the morning reading, writing, and rejuvenating. They went to Michaels and are “researching” ideas for her party, and thrilled to be doing it. They are happy.  I am happy. 
Asymmetrical balance is more complex and difficult to envisage.  It involves placement of objects in a way that will allow objects of varying visual weight to balance one another around a fulcrum point. 
In our family life, this could be translated in several ways. Chloe may need more interaction and activity than the rest of us. I may need more quiet and alone than the rest. One season could be more heavily weighted on one child or Steve’s work. We are all different and have different needs. One season could be more weighted with all kids activities. Maybe this is OK if we have part of the year that is down. 
I think I am going to shoot for asymmetrical balance. It seems much more attainable. 


  1. I love the advice that Alana at Life After Benjamin gave to me - make the choices that bring you home to yourself. Sounds like you are doing that! xoxo

    PS LIfe with kids is always messy. Since I have a 2 year old I am highly aware that I basically cook and then change diapers. Ick.

  2. Asymetrical balance. That says it all. That, my friend, is life. Huge lightbulb.

    Thank you!