By Jaimi Erickson
It is always hard in the moment. My heart rate goes up. My pride shoots through the roof. I feel the heat rise up my neck. When I sent the text announcing my resignation from my job, I felt it all. I said I needed to be done. My life was not in balance trying to fulfill my role within the organization.
Now, I can do hard things. Every military spouse takes on hard things. But, sometimes I do not assign proper weight to the challenges I face in this life.
Deployments, field ops, TDYs, and raising babies away from family are all hard tasks. Each one on its own is heavy. Combine a couple at the same time and it feels downright tough! After striding through the hard things for so many years, I was conditioned to continue adding more and more to my plate.
Now my test as to whether or not I am trying to take on too much, is paying attention to how off balance it feels in my house. That is how I weigh whether I can keep tasks on my plate or need to set them aside.
My rule: I do not set aside my kids, spouse or health to accomplish anything. I need to care for all three, and do it well, in order for success to be possible.
Taking Stock When Life Is Out of Balance
As I’m writing this, it is Women’s History Month and the Month of the Military Caregiver. This is a fitting combination.
Women take on a lot. Being a military spouse is a heavy load. Yes, we can get conditioned to add more. Pursuing what we want, along with all that is already on our plates as military spouses, has made our individual helpings larger.
So when I stepped down from the board of the organization, I felt a combination of relief and shame. I felt that I let the board down. I felt that I let my goals down.
But, after about 24 hours, I knew I had removed a large helping off my plate.
My priorities were still there. Kids, husband and home were all there still waiting for me.
My vision was clearer though. My time was not crunched. I had time to care for the kids, keep the house in order and be a present wife. I felt balance come back into our home.
I was no longer overstretched. It felt refreshing. I focused on that lighter feeling instead of wallowing in thoughts of what anyone thought of me for making this choice.
The kicker is, I had to swallow that feeling of failure to declutter my life. I had to be bigger than my pride. The most important goals were brought back into perspective. I think this epitomizes the idea of “stay in your own lane.”
When I veer off of my path, life gets off balance. In those seasons, life feels off balance. It is never a mystery.
By making the choice I did, to declutter my life, I was not letting myself down. I was putting success back in focus.
Spring Cleaning: Life Re-Balanced
When I married my Marine, I idealized the vision of who I wanted to be within this lifestyle. I wanted to lead the spouse groups, raise well-mannered children, be Wife of the Year, and take care of my village of neighbors and local friends.
The reality is there are only 24 hours in a day. My priorities and strengths will determine what I do with that time. My 24 hours will look different than everyone else’s.
I chose this spring to balance my life to meet my priorities. It was a spring-cleaning of sorts. I can share declutter plans for the home, cleaning tips, and how to store kids’ toys, but this is about life decluttering and rebalance.
I simplified life so I can be successful with what is on my plate. There is never one easy trick to keeping life in balance. But, taking stock of where I most need to be right now is a key to life balance for me.