belonging + balance

I’ve been thinking on how/whether to write this post… On the one hand, I blog as a way to journal some of my thoughts and reflections. And yet, I don’t want to appear as if I am complaining or airing feelings that are pretty private. But after more reflection, I am hoping that others can perhaps resonate with these feelings. So I’m posting!

Since moving further into the country almost 10 months ago, it has been bittersweet. Our family loves our house (or I should say the potential of our house; we’ve not really loved the unexpected repairs), having more property to roam, the small community we’ve moved into, and other benefits of moving here. At the same time, we are little further from family and friends (still close in comparison to others who make more drastic moves!) and being in a more rural location – though serene and peaceful – can sometimes be lonely. We are not so rural that we cannot see neighbours, but there are not many young families around us, and that makes being a working from home mom sometimes lonely.

I am so incredibly blessed to have a job that I love – the ability to find meaning and purpose in my work, and to feel accomplishment in utilizing my gifts, talents and passion around issues of social justice. I am also blessed that I primarily work from home – giving me the ability to spend a lot of time with A.J. while also pursuing professional goals. But working from home comes with its challenges as well, especially the aspect of not being immediately surrounded by a support team where I can just poke my head into a colleague’s office to receive feedback, ideas or affirmation. This can be lonely, and I often have doubts about whether the work that I’m doing is meeting expectations since I am not able to immediately measure my productivity against others working around me.

We are multi-faceted beings. We are often faced with the need to balance aspects of our lives whether they’re familial, relational, professional, health, educational, personal, financial, and other obligations. I know that I am not alone in my struggle to maintain balance, and yet in the last couple of months I’ve been struggling not only to find healthy balance, but also to find belonging. I am a stay at home mom. And yet I struggle to connect with other stay at home moms because sometimes my professional commitments consume my time or my mind. I am so fulfilled by my professional and activist commitments! But I also try to develop healthy boundaries so I am not constantly checking my emails or working on projects during the time I have to spend with A.J.

I am so happy that A.J. will grow up seeing that her mom’s identity is multi-faceted: Christian, mom, spouse, daughter, friend, sister, activist, abolitionist, feminist. These identities are not formed in silos – I do not have dissociative identity disorder! Balance is established by allowing each area of my life to compliment another. As an abolitionist with a heart for those who are enslaved and exploited, my compassion and empathy only increased once I became a mother.

I am currently writing this post from Kansas City, Missouri where I am attending Exodus Cry’s Abolition Summit. Conferences and meetings away from home (though busy) are times of rejuvenation for me – connecting with colleagues and/or abolitionists, allowing me to conduct professional activities outside of my home office. And to be honest, it is rejuvenating not just professionally, but also personally: though it often feels odd to only be responsible for myself while I’m gone, it’s nice to only have to worry about my own meals, my own bathroom needs, my own clothes, etc.!  And while I’m gone I know that A.J. is having a blast with her daddy (and grandparents), and I am so blessed to have a support system that allows me to be able to focus on professional pursuits and social justice issues (that is, ones that I must focus on alone; I love exposing A.J. to activism when possible though!). Sometimes it’s rough; at this Summit in particular there have been pretty heavy stories, and I often long to hear A.J.’s giggle or have her arms around my neck. But being her mom makes me a better activist. And being passionate about social justice makes me a better mom.

Since coming to Missouri yesterday, the days have been long and exhausting – both physically, mentally and emotionally – so I am hope I am somewhat coherent in this post! If you have a chance to check out Exodus Cry‘s work, I encourage you to do so!

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