Life’s Work

As part of my ongoing quest to let the Supermom Thing go, I recently read Lisa Belkin’s collection of essays entitled Life’s Work: Confessions of an Unbalanced Mom.  In the book, Belkin examines the idea of “doing it all” in perfect balance, and concludes that you simply can’t do everything so you should focus on being mindful of the great moments and blessings within your own particular brand of (un)balance.  If, like me, you tend toward the frantic overachiever end of the spectrum, you may find her take enlightening and freeing.

Belkin writes in a few places about her mother and grandmother’s generations.  She observes that women in her mother’s generation were OK with doing things serially, whereas women in her generation want to do things simultaneously.  Her grandmother, she writes, knew how to sit and watch, but she thinks her generation has overimproved tasks so much that they don’t remember how to sit and watch.  To some extent I see her point – my mom taught school until we were born, then had a home business while we were little and did volunteer stuff until we were in high school when she started teaching part time and then went back to teaching full time and got her masters degree when we went to college.  And while I started out on that path, I am currently doing tons of things all at once (work, parenting, homeschooling, volunteering, writing) and feel like, if anything, I should add more (another degree?).  I’m not sure if it’s better or worse, but it is different.  As for sitting and watching, I’m pretty sure that temperamentally neither my grandmother nor I happily just sit and do nothing!  But I found it interesting to think about how generations perceive time and balance differently.

If you’re interested in the life/time balance topic, you might enjoy Life’s Work: Confessions of an Unbalanced Mom, or Belkin’s blog at the New York Times, Motherlode.

 

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