Life on a Teeter-Totter
One of my favorite grade school pastimes was riding the teeter-totter. For a split second, you and your partner would be perfectly balanced, but that was never the point. The fun came from the ups and downs. The highs never lasted long and neither did the lows—a valuable life lesson.
Teeter-totters work best when both sides are equally balanced. If one child is heavier, it requires more effort for the lighter one to get off the ground. The same rule of physics applies to life. If the calendar’s overloaded and too many things are demanding attention, more effort is required to get through the day.
Physics, of course, had nothing to do with my decision to follow my lifelong dream of becoming a writer. It was more like madness. The kids were sick, the bills unpaid, the house a mess and I was exhausted. My life was clearly out of balance, and I felt overwhelmed and depressed. I wanted—desperately needed—to do something that didn’t involve runny noses or fishing dirty socks from under a bed. But how could I find time to write when I hardly had a minute to myself?
The answer was to prioritize, and I did it in this order: God, family, writing. Everything else, including housework, would play second fiddle. To make more time for my new endeavor, I took care of the things that grew—dirty dishes and laundry—and ignored the things that didn’t. One dusty table would always remain one dusty table.
The funny part is that when I focused on the things that mattered most, I no longer felt overwhelmed or depressed. Prioritizing also made it easier to say no to extraneous activities. Having made time for my writing, I hardly noticed the “lows” during the inevitable crises of family life—although somewhere along the line I did notice that dusty table.
As I said to my daughter, a busy mother of three, “Life is like a teeter-totter. It has to be balanced just right with God at the center.” I would have felt a whole lot better had she not asked, “What’s a teeter-totter?”
Margaret Brownley is a CBA/NY Times bestselling author and past Romance Writers of America RITA© finalist with more than 35 books to her credit, including her new release Undercover Bride. She’s also written for a CBS daytime soap. Margaret and her husband have three grown children and make their home in Southern California.