There was once a time I considered myself an expert on balancing career and kids; it was that period of time right before I actually had any kids. When our first little bundle of joy arrived, he changed everything: schedules, paradigms, and priorities all shifted. Seemingly overnight, my impeccably organized home was cluttered with baby toys, diapers, laundry, feeding supplies, and various other small people paraphernalia. I found myself abruptly in the throes of 2am feedings, 4am diaper changes, 8am sitter drop offs, and by 10am on most days, I was teaching my first course at a university.
I’m thankful for those few months of maternity leave I had to soak up all of my little one’s newness. I’m also thankful for the much needed reflection time it provided before jumping back into the rhythm of harmonizing a professional and personal life. It was in those wee moments of the early morning feedings, rockings, and soothings when the Lord spoke destiny and insight into what it means to embrace both motherhood and my vocational calling. So by the time our second son arrived—only 20 months later, a foundation built of resolute, nonnegotiable priorities was already in place.
Arguably one of the more important truths I’ve gleaned from balancing a home and work life is that there really is no such thing as balance. Balance implies all spheres of life, work, home, church, community, and so forth, should achieve some sort of equilibrium. It suggests attaining a position of perfection, and this elusive balance induces all sorts of guilt if it’s not realized.
The debate on whether or not women can really balance a rewarding career and a healthy family has been raging for decades now. And this is precisely the argument about balance that makes women feel like failures. We have to come to terms with the notion that filling up our lives with more responsibilities and then dedicating equal amounts of time to these obligations is not balance; it’s a myth. Not only is striving for this sort of balance impossible, it also isn’t Biblical. God calls women to blend, not balance, their sacred work.
There is perhaps no better model for women called to motherhood and other roles of leadership than the Proverbs 31 woman. Scripture calls this noble, virtuous woman a wife, mother, provider, leader, server, and lover of God. Her children call her blessed. Her husband praises her and has full confidence in her management. She rises early in the morning and labors diligently into the evening. She provides for her family by faithfully serving in both domestic and business spheres. In addition to caring for her family, she cares for her community when she “opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.” What she models for us is an obedience to all the positions into which God has called her. The Proverbs 31 woman is not a woman in search of perfection; She is a woman fulfilling her God given purpose. It would be nearly impossible to categorize what in this passage constitutes work outside the home and what constitutes work inside the home because the Proverb 31 woman blends these sacred spheres into one divine calling. And while this noble, virtuous woman may not provide a well-ordered, straightforward model for scheduling our day, she does offer us a kingdom perspective shift regarding our responsibility to family and vocation. The Proverbs 31 woman teaches us that God values all of the spheres to which He has called us. Holistically, and not compartmentally, our work is sacred when done unto Him.
I work hard to do all things with excellence and unto the Lord. But within a blended perspective, I no longer struggle to achieve an ideal balance between work and home because I know He has called me to go forth and lead in all spheres of influence with a unified, blended purpose.