Balance, a state of equilibrium, is an essential factor for our mental and physical well-being. Anxiety, depression, and other challenges related to our mental health are often the manifestation of an imbalance. I anticipated by six months into single motherhood a nervous break-down of sorts would be inevitable, but to my surprise, it never came. Instead I feel calmer and more content than I have ever felt in my life. As I was reflecting on this strange sensation, I realized I was finally experiencing balance. The journey towards my equilibrium was not an easy one. It stemmed from many years of anxiety and depression as I strove towards a doctorate degree while holding a full-time job.
Once Jayden was born I decided I wanted to do things differently. I didn’t want to live my life working constantly towards some future goal, because the best thing in life was happening in the moment; I was watching my son thrive. At first I pushed myself into my usual way of being. Two weeks after Jayden’s birth I was sitting in on several interviews along with meetings to promote my consulting business. I applied to over twenty full-time positions in Cleveland, while feeling the gut-twisting sensation of anxiety growing within me. In the past, I had always pushed myself towards a successful career and I felt that with a child, finding this success was essential. After receiving a job offer, I had a melt-down. I just couldn’t get myself to take the position and risk losing that time with Jayden. I called up the employer with the intention of declining the position, but they negotiated a 24-hour week and an increase in pay which would allow me to spend more time with my new born baby. After this negotiation, the anxious build-up had almost completely ceased, but the struggle to maintain balance did not end there.
A week later several potential consulting jobs opened up, and with them the anxious flood-gates came too. I pushed myself through a couple of weeks of meetings with my prospective clients during the hours that I had been spared by accepting a part-time, rather than full-time job. Although in my head I wanted to push myself into having a successful business, my body was telling me to do the opposite. This discontent feeling grew within me until I had no choice but to take action, I needed to find my equilibrium. I decided to put the consulting on hold and focus on my part-time job and most importantly taking care of my son.
Now my weeks seem to flow steadily along. I have a job where I can apply myself and my passion while still feeling like I have sufficient time to spend with my son. I even manage to sneak in a weekly date night and a Saturday morning Zumba class! Although money may be tight, and the temptation of a full-time salary dangles in my mind, I realize that Jayden and I have everything we need. The time I have with him is more valuable than his own nursery (we share a room) or the newest baby toys (he prefers spoons and boxes anyway.) My career can wait for now, it’ll be there in a few years, but in a few years Jayden will be three and I would’ve missed out on all of those walks in the park and other beautiful moments that we share together today.