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Jennifer Thomas ponders the idea of "balance" in terms of her vocations as wife, mother, and worker.

According to Merriam-Webster, one of the definitions of the term "balance" means “stability produced by even distribution of weight on each side of the vertical axis.” In these terms, one could say that we are the axis and are in a constant state of attempting to distribute the weight of our roles and responsibilities on either side. It is also often used in both the out-of-home workplace in terms of employees desiring more of a work-life balance.

Beyond the workplace, I have found I was trying to find balance within the various vocations we often find ourselves to hold as daughter, wife, and mother. As one friend related to me, the mere idea of trying to "balance" everything conveys the thought that something must suffer or get "less than" the other, tipping the scales to the point that we just can't give enough on either side. 

While listening to a podcast about behavioral science, the idea of creating harmony as opposed to balance was first introduced to me—but in terms of a work setting. The hosts, who are behavioral psychologists, provided a fresh perspective that challenges the idea of whether or not there truly can be work-life balance, and their answer is no. If there were truly balance, nothing would suffer or receive less attention or priority.




While this seems nearly impossible, as something would have to tip the scales in one direction or the other, if we change our perspective and look at an alternative definition of balance, it’s much more feasible. Instead of focusing on the definition in terms of stability brought by even distribution, I now look at my vocations using another definition of the word balance, which is “to bring into harmony or proportions.” 


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If there were truly balance, nothing would suffer or receive less attention or priority. #catholicmom


The idea of creating harmony seems much more feasible, as nothing has to suffer. I am merely making my vocations work together to complement each other, rather than taking away from one another. Some days, my focus will need to be more on my vocation as a mother, especially if my husband is out of town on a business trip. On date nights, my focus can be on my vocation as a wife. In the silence of the morning, before anyone else is awake, I can focus on my vocation as daughter by reading scripture and offering my day to the Lord.

In those little moments, I am not sacrificing one vocation for the other. I am merely adjusting the notes of the song of my life to make a beautiful harmony. Some days, the pitch will be way off and feel like there is no hope and all of a sudden, everything comes together to create a beautiful medley. This also relieves the pressure and feeling like not matter what I do, something has to suffer. The musical notes (i.e., our vocations), can vary in tone and tempo but when they come together, everything flows seamlessly, and I can rest in the knowledge that I am doing my best in all of my vocations.

Copyright 2022 Jennifer Thomas
Images: Canva