Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
After Page One: Balance


A guest post to motivate, encourage, and inspire


Balancing Act


As Vice President of Finance at a national non-profit, I spend a lot of time thinking about balance -- journal entries, balance sheets, growth projections. One would think since I have a level of skill in those areas I must be in control of my life. Sadly, this is not the case.

I have three boys who are running in opposing directions. From the moment I walk in the door from work, I'm accosted by notices from school, paperwork that needs attention, or the question: "Mom, what’s for dinner?"

I love the structure of my job and the freedom to use my skills of analysis. But there’s a flip side to every coin, including mine.

I need the craziness of home. I need to hear the high pitched squeal of a child chased by his brother.

I love the idea of kids from the neighborhood looking through the screen door to see what I'm baking, in the hope I’ll share.

I like watching my children's faces when they understand their math homework because I could explain it.

Apparently, I'm not so much a coin as I am a dice with multiple sides. When I stopped thinking about balancing everything and just enjoying each element of life, it stopped being such a stress inducing chore, and I found I had time to pursue other interests like writing.

That's not to say I do it gracefully. I’ve snapped at my kids when they all came at me asking for something. I've overcooked dinner because I was returning e-mail and forgot to flip the chicken. I've gone to work with shoes that didn't match because I was too sleepy to notice my feet were different colors.

People ask me how I find time to write on top of everything else I do. I tell them I don't find it -- I make it. The trade off is that my house isn't spotless all the time. (Recently, when I discovered someone was about to drop-in, I hid clutter in my dishwasher.)

My office is ordered and controlled. My home is loud and crazy. I don’t prefer one over the other; I need both. Balance in life isn't about making things equal. It’s saying I'm willing to sacrifice what other people say I should do (mop my kitchen floor) in order to do what I want to do (take pictures of my children jumping in piles of leaves).

When I go to bed at night, there are days when I relax in the knowledge that my children are sleeping peacefully in their rooms. Part of a story has been captured on my hard drive. My husband is next to me, providing security no alarm company can match. My office will still be there the next morning. In those moments, I understand balance is not about getting things done so much as it is about enjoying the journey and resting in the knowledge of what has been accomplished, knowing there will be more excitement when the sun splits the sky again.

Note:  This essay first appeared on Jennifer's blog.  Read more here.


Join our After Page One series.  We’re looking for 300 to 500-word guest posts that motivate, inspire, and encourage other mama-writers, and we’d love to feature YOUR thoughts about getting started, getting back to a writing project, integrating writing with motherhood, reading, or having a positive attitude.   The list is endless, but here are some questions that might help you get started. We’ll publish a short bio so readers can learn more about you and your projects.


Jennifer Templeman has dedicated her career to working in the non-profit field in financial management. When not analyzing the minute details of a financial statement, she resides in the Boston area, and shares her life with her husband, three sons, a giant Newfoundland, a cat rescued from a shelter, and an acrobatic betta fish. A Killer Cup of Joe is her first novel.

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I loved this. Balance is one of those things I struggle with because I always feel like I'm cheating someone. Your perspective that we pick and choose what's important to us instead of just doing what others say we should was refreshing. Plus...I've gone to work with 2 different shoes on too and it was nice to know I wasn't the only one. I'm off to see what else you've written since this seemed to connect with me so well.
Ive hidden junk in the oven before, I hadn't thought about the dishwasher! What a great post.
Really great post! Thank you Jennifer.
Thank you for once again touching on a topic that all of us struggle with. I love your perspective on life Jennifer, and love how you share them with us here and on Goodreads. I think that's one of the reasons I connect with the characters in your story, and I love your book A Killer Cup of Joe. Looking forward to reading more from you, both in books that you publish and your blogs on Goodreads, here, and elsewhere.
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