The Never-Ending Juggling Act

Posted: January 26, 2010 in Fatherhood, Parent, Parenting, Relationships
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In the world of middle class America, many of us find it difficult to balance a full-time job, spouse, children, and the pursuit of our dreams. I continuously find myself dropping the ball in at least one aspect of this equation. The question is how do people find that healthy balance? In my situation I wonder if this is even possible. I need to define my current situation, and try to work this shit out.

I had my first child at 19, at that time I had entered into a serious relationship with my wife, whom already had a child of her own. I was still an immature young man, who had no idea the meaning of sacrifice or responsibility. I have grown in the eleven years leading up to today, but I am ashamed to admit that I still find myself struggling to define this meaning.

My path from then to today has been riddled with mistakes, setbacks, a battle with mental illness, and addiction. I am happy to say I have defeated the latter. When I would look in the mirror I despised the thing staring back at me. Not only did I feel like I was letting myself down, I was letting down the people I loved.

I tried going to college, but in the end I was unable to juggle a full-time job, full-time credits, and a family. Mentally I was unable to cope with the pressure. I was taking night classes at a school catering to working adults. The options for majors were limited, and I had a hard time figuring out exactly what I wanted to do with my life. When I thought to myself what I could see myself doing that would bring me serenity in my career. The same answer came up time after time, I wanted to write.

The following years, when I took a personal inventory of my life, I felt like I had failed. This self loathing spilled over into every facet of my life, last year was the culmination of those failures. I had finally reached the breaking point. I was making half of what I used to at a thankless dead-end job. I was lost deep in the darkness, so I began to write my suicide note to my family. I just kept writing and writing, not only was I trying to find a good time to end it all, I also wanted to make sure they knew the depth of my suffering.

The only reason I am here today, is because of my wife, she found a website where I could self publish my writings into a book of poems. Instead of focusing on my darkness I started to focus on making my lifelong dream a reality. I finished the book, and self published on this website, after I did that I started to send my manuscript to publishers. In November 2009, my manuscript was accepted by a small publisher. I finally achieved something, within this achievement came the realization that my dreams of writing for a living could come true.

I came up with the 15 year plan, where by the time I am forty five years old I would be writing for a career. I have never been so focused or driven by anything in my entire life. Here is where I am struggling. I still work the dead-end thankless job, but I am able to focus on writing during my breaks. I am at work from 8-4, after that my wife and I pick up my youngest son Dylan from daycare.

When we get home from 5-8, it is all about the kids, from 8:30-10 we struggle to get Dylan to sleep. I am an insomniac and need meds to sleep. If I do not take them I can go two days without sleeping, if I do not take my meds early I pay for it the next day. My wife and I have a routine where we cuddle and watch shows, this is the only time we get to be close.

Due to my responsibility I cannot find the time to work on my 15 year plan. I am able to do my blog entries at work, but beyond that I have to do what they pay me to do. I cannot expect my wife to be responsible for the kids by herself from 5-8, and it is important they have interaction with their father. I cannot skip taking my meds, because disrupting my sleep cycle disrupts my entire life. There is just not enough time in a day to focus on my writing.

I just finished a children’s book, and put out an ad for an illustrator. I have about fifty stories, so I am hoping it takes off as a series. I am working on several other book projects. I fear that the dream may need to come to an end. I simply can’t keep another ball in the air.

  1. Nicole says:

    To become a adult means to come to the realization that life is about giving as much as receiving. And in fact feeling a sense of joy and contentment form that giving. This holds even more true when we become parents. If we so chose to bring children into this world we then choose to no longer be self centered individuals. When we choose to be in relationships we choose to no longer be self centered individuals. Life balances itself out when we give, because when we give, we to then receive.

    Everybody must get up go to work, come home and tend to their mate and their children….the sad part, many people take for granted this GIFT of family, that they get to come home to. So many people out there wish they had someone to love, wishe they had a warm dinner to sit down to, wish they could birth their own children; wish they even had a job to go to. It is a small snippet of time in a life in which our children our involved in our lives, to wish that away so that a person can fulfill their own desire will ultimately end with regret.

    It is normal to feel frustration, to feel like you want to get everything done right away. It is how that feeling is handled and what is done to mend it. The issue with lack of balance comes when a desire or want overrides and is the person’s main internal focus. Instead you can break it down into smaller segments. If you can not spend 90 minutes a night at the computer, you can spend 45 minutes. You still get some of what you want, just not all..balance!

    My personal belief is time with you family comes first and foremost. I believe we all make choices in life to become who and where we are. I choose to be a mother and a wife; therefore my personal desires are on hold until I have completed the job I choose first, which again in the grand scheme is such a small snippet of time.

    • Tim Lundmark says:

      Over the years I have changed my priorities. It was difficult for me to let go of “Tim” time. That time is something that I have always needed. I understand that this need is not my top priority. I think I should be happy with my accomplishment of being published. I have tried to figure out a way to find a balance, but I am coming up empty, just like the video games I have to accept that the time I get is the time I get. I have to accept that my writing falls into this category, unfortunately the goals I have, is a full time job. I have to accept that these goals should be put on hold for the time being. I am ok with this, because my family comes first.

  2. Melissa says:

    Life is definatly a balancing act but there is a balance and still keep your dream alive. What about creative writing classes?

    • Tim Lundmark says:

      My biggest problem is grammer, spelling, and prober sentence structure. My mind is jumbled so often, that sometimes my writings don’t make any sense. I have found that if a few sentences are moved or things like that then it is more readable.

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