As a mother, wife, educator and novelist, I am often asked how I manage these very different roles. For me, as it does for many, it comes down to one word: balance.
The meaning of balance as defined by Merriam-Webster is “the equipoise (okay, I had to look up the word equipoise – it means equilibrium – but isn’t it a great word?) between contrasting, opposing, or interacting elements.”
Just like so many others, I am constantly attempting to maintain that precarious balance between my personal and professional lives without tumbling into the dark abyss of self-inflicted insanity.
So how do I keep it all together? Below is my go-to list in the never-ending quest for keeping it all together:
1. Family comes first – always – no matter what. Period.
2. “Do what you love, love what you do.” Famous, wise words from beloved author Ray Bradbury. I am so fortunate to be able to follow two of my greatest passions ~ working in education and writing. By having the opportunity to pursue both of these loves I don’t become overly defined by one or the other. Working in education as a Title I Reading Coordinator keeps me grounded, reminds me of the importance of children and their how crucial education is. Writing gives me the chance to express my creative side ~ create new worlds and characters. When I’m at school my energies are focused on helping teachers and schools do what I think to be one of the most important jobs in the world – teaching kids how to read. And when I’m at home working on a novel I can escape the world around me.
3. Mind, body and spirit matter. We’ve all heard it before – but it is true. When one of these three is out of harmony it impacts all other areas. So I try, and often fail, to keep these three graces or gifts – because this is what they truly are, in balance. As a result, I read, I attempt to exercise, I pray, even if it’s just for a few minutes each day.
4. Chocolate helps. My current chocolate obsession is chocolate covered sea salt caramels from a gem of a candy store in my hometown ~ Betty Jane Candies. Whenever my stress level hits a critical level and I need a serious chocolate fix, I make a trip to Betty’s. I’m lucky to live within a few miles of two Betty Jane stores, but you can order your favorite treat on line and have it delivered right to your door.
5. Treasure your journey – again, not my words, but a mantra I’ve come to recite over and over again in good times and in bad. We tend to be really hard on ourselves and often forget that it’s okay to make mistakes. This is how we learn, how we grow. I will never be the perfect mother, teacher or writer, but I’m at peace with this, because I try to do each fully, honestly and with love.
Thank you so much, Heather! It's always great to reward your efforts with a great book, too. When I read Heather's books, it was like the escape that she mentioned above. They took me away to another time and place, and all of my worries were forgotten. I couldn't wait to see what would happen next and I couldn't wait for my "escape time," so I worked harder! I will be eager to read Heather's new book next summer! I hope you will join me! Readers unite!