Balance is a challenging concept. Whether referring to the physical skill, juggling aspects of one's life, or equality/fairness, the word is complex. Fritz Heider proposed the concept of Balance Theory as a way to explain the motivation behind resolving imbalances by shifting one's attitude.
In order to resolve imbalances, one must either persuade themselves or others to shift how they view the imbalance or the desired outcome.
Recently, I became a first-time mother. I was alarmed at the imbalance I felt in trying to absorb this new role, even after months of preparing. I found myself shocked to feel annoyed at the demands a new baby brought.
Previously, my careers were my focus. And, while the careers I chose revolved around helping others, when it came to using those skills around the clock, I did not feel the same fulfillment.
When I reflected further, I discovered that the main imbalance stemmed from not feeling competent in my mothering role. In other aspects of my life, I work hard to create balance and competency through understanding. If a relationship feels imbalanced, I work to understand how the other person feels and how my involvement affects the dynamic. If my body feels imbalanced, I work to understand the sensation and problem-solve ways to reintegrate unity. If my life feels imbalanced, I work to understand the source of stress and create resolutions for equality.
However, trying to understand my daughter's needs (beyond hunger and a diaper change) initially left me lost and frustrated.
At first, my mind tried resolving the imbalance by equating my dislike of caretaking with a dislike of my daughter. I questioned, "Do I not love her enough because I detest the constant vigilance required to care for her?" Eventually, when I countered the initial thought with feelings of love, I was surprised at how I started finding aspects about motherhood that I also loved.
I started relishing the moments when she would smile, coo, burp, feed, etc. Reminding myself how much I loved my daughter helped me start to find acceptance of being a mother.
Now, as I go back to work, I find myself better able to balance my identity between my roles. I am aware that as she grows the fluctuation between feeling balanced and unbalanced will continue to need re-evaluating; however, I'm hopeful that my love for her will continue to help resolve any imbalances.
As cliché as it sounds, love really did conquer all.