Saturday, January 30, 2010


A lot of women think I have got everything right. Two kids, a full time job, a consuming hobby (running). What most people do not know is about my other passions - reading, writing and photography - and if they know I manage to make time for all of them, they would think I am some kind of superwoman.

And yet, I know I am anything but that. Like all of them, I am just one other woman juggling with multiple roles, and trying her utmost to make the best of all of them. Where, perhaps, I am more successful than many of the women I encounter in real life is in getting the balance right.

Because, after all, it is all about balance. About identifying non-essentials and ruthlessly chucking them out of your life. About identifying the things that really matter, and ensuring that they get the mindspace that they need. About knowing how much control is possible in which situation and not seeking more than that.

I have a friend who is a freelance writer, a professional dancer and a mother of two kids the same age as mine. In the last two years, she has also written four novels. She's got the balance right.

I have another friend who is obsessive about cooking and keeping a picture-perfect house. She's made her choice- she only takes up assignments that fit into the time left over from all the other tasks that mean so much to her. She's got her balance right.

And then there are women who can't seem to decide what really matters to them. They want meaningful careers, but are not willing to make the sacrifices they need to make in order to have them. They have issues with reporting to people 'younger than them', choosing to forget that they took career breaks that make them effectively junior to the people 'younger than them.'

When it is so obvious that life is about prioritising what matters and balancing them properly, why do so many people struggle with grasping it? Or is there a different way - one that I have missed seeing.


Anonymous said...

I think that it can take some people a lifetime to find balance in their lives.

You're lucky if you have already found yours.

Rayna M. Iyer said...

Fiona, to be honest, I am not sure if I have found balance or not, because balance is a very big word. But I have been able to figure out what matters, and what doesn't, and I manage to make time for what matters by jettisoning what doesn't matter as much - dusting for instance.

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Balance is just tough. I have a saying around my house (my family would attest to it!): "Something's got to give." I can't have the perfectly tidy house, the best dinners, the nicest yard, and great novels all at once. What 'gives' changes almost daily and I concentrate on different things on different days. But it's too much work to keep all the balls in the air at one time.

Mystery Writing is Murder

Rayna M. Iyer said...

@ Elizabeth - knowing to "give" what's gotta give does seem to be the secret to what I call balance. A tidy house seems to give almost all the time :-(

dipali said...

Serious illnesses in the family totally throw off the hard-won balance:(
As it is it seems to be a constant struggle to attain it.
I guess I'm too overwhelmed to make sense:(

Rayna M. Iyer said...

@ Dipali - when someone is ill, surviving is the only thing that matters. Take care - you need to be strong to give your parents strenght.


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