Pruning and Prioritizing

An observant friend of mine detected more than a little stress and weariness in my look the other day and asked me what was up. In my typically unverbose way, I succinctly summarized why I was feeling so maxed out: "Most people who have small kids with extra needs don't work as much as I do, and most people who work as much as I do don't have small kids with extra needs."

I wish I had some blazing insight to offer this morning, some noble nugget about how I have learned to say no and set boundaries and realize what is really important in life. Honestly, while I have a ways to go in all of those areas, I think I'm doing pretty good. I just think it's hard to truly balance work and family.

The title of this post gives you some hint as to what I think good balancers do in response. Pruning and prioritizing are obvious tasks for the person who is pressed from all sides. But easier said than done: everything our lives consist of seems important, difficult to relegate to the back burner or to not doing at all.

Especially if you want to avoid what I feel are to two particularly annoying responses to having too full a plate. First is the "I have learned to delegate to others and so I focus on doing only what only I can do." If you know me, you know that I am a huge believer in delegating and am a very good delegator, so to be sure, it's a big help. But it can also be an excuse to pile on poor spouses and co-workers and neighbors, not do your fair share, and gain the reputation of the clueless slacker. Second is the "I have learned I can't fight every battle; it helps no one to be spread too thin." That there is a whole heckuva lot of truth in that statement does not disguise the fact that it can be a disguise for absolving us from having to care about things and people we know we ought to care about but would rather not have to care about.

Again, I regret there is no tidy ending to this post, no pithy lesson, no "aha" moment I have been building suspense for to now spring on you at the end. I wish it were so. For it would mean I had a better handle on the pruning and prioritizing that is needed to balance work and family. But I don't; and so I stumble along, doing what I can as well as I can, trusting that the rest can wait, and putting it in the hands of One who Himself rested after six days of work and who commands/invites me to rest as well.

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