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The alternative to life-balance is pure awesomeness

Yesterday, I posted “Balance is BS. Life is a Margarita” essentially outing life-balance as a big lie, and explaining how I’ve decided to focus on finding the right blend for my life.

Today, as promised, I’d like to tell you why I want a well-blended life and how I’m planning to get it.

Great minds…and all that.

But first, I have to show you something wonderful.  In the same 24-hour period that I was posting about life-balance being bogus and even kind of toxic, I came across similar opinions posted by three other bloggers that I respect and admire.  Check out Pam Slim‘s “Unicorns, rainbows and work-life balance” post here and Chris Brogan‘s “Pay Yourself First” post here.

And then there was this thoughtful post by Kris Miner, who blogs about the healing power of restorative justice.  I just love how well  this quote from Kris’ post sums it all up,

“Balance is achieved between two opposing forces. Work and life should be in unison, not opposition.”

Now, I don’t know if this is a welcome sign of a larger mind shift or if there was just something in the air yesterday, but its encouraging to see so many wise and wonderful people openly question the conventional wisdom.

Now, back to why I want a margarita life.

Here are the two major reasons why I want my life to be well-blended:

The alternative sucks. It’s polarizing.  You develop multiple personalities. There’s a work version of Laura and a home version of Laura and a going-out version of Laura and they don’t have much to do with each other and the people in each of those lives don’t really know each other and they wouldn’t recognize those other Laura’s if they met her on the street and that’s exhausting and horrible.   It’s sad that your husband doesn’t get to know that strong, confident and powerful woman that’s leading the team at work. Or that your kids never find out that mom is actually really freaking funny and her friends think she’s great.

Don’t be lots of people. Just be you.

Reality is a better teacher than self-doubt. I want my kids to see how life works in the real world. Some people may be reading this and thinking, “But, the real world is compartmentalized.”  Hmm…that’s true. But that isn’t the world I want to create for the future and still, that isn’t really the point.  The way I see it is this: When your life is split into pieces, your kids see only one part of the whole adult human experience. You put blinders on them. They don’t get exposed to what it takes to bring home the bacon, give most of that bacon to the man, work ’til you’re drooling on your keyboard, cut loose and get silly, keep a house (as best you can) and struggle with learning new concepts.  Kids are protected from the real work of life and made to believe that this stuff just happens to adults because they’ve had more birthdays than them.  They grow up thinking that the world works very differently from how the world actually works.  So, not only does our “balance” set ourselves up for failure, it sets our kids up for a world-shaking reality check later in life.  That system may keep therapists in business, but it totally sucks for our kids.

So, why do it?

How I’m creating my margarita life

My decision to get well-blended was not a little one. My husband and I talked about it, skirted around it and tried to avoid it for a few years before we realized we just couldn’t live our lives any other way.  We made some serious adjustments to get blended. I quit my job. I came home to work. My husband is a stay-at-home dad.  We’re homeschooling (actually, unschooling) the little ones.  We’re all at home* working, earning, living, learning, fighting, laughing together. It’s not always easy. It’s not always pretty. It’s not even always lucrative. But, it is exactly, messily and without a doubt the life for us.  We’re now a do-it-yourself family.

Now, I’m launching this site…which will be a well-blended project.  In the past, I’ve been a micro-enterprise development professional, marketing coach and trainer.  I also have passion oozing from my pores concerning the merits of compulsory education, what that’s doing to our kids and our future and how we, as parents, are the only ones with the power to give our kids something better.  Even though I had blended my life, I forgot to blend my work. For the past year, I’ve struggled trying to find a way to balance all of these pieces of me.  And I kept meeting people who lament the fate of their children as they acknowledge that education is too important to leave to the state, while worrying that they don’t have the skill, knowledge or money (mostly money) to leave their jobs and teach their kids themselves.

I was trying to do graphic design gigs, volunteer work, teach my kids, build a coaching business and build a community for people who are home employed and homeschooling their kids. I couldn’t get anything done and I, obviously, couldn’t find a balance.  Then, one night after watching me struggle all day and before saying goodnight to me around 2am, my husband said, “Aren’t you supposed to be all about “blending” or something? Why don’t you blend all of this into one business?”

I tried to explain to him how a site needs to target a specific audience and how a blog shouldn’t have too many unrelated categories…why I needed to develop a coaching site and a create separate place for the homeschooling thing …but my argument fell flat. Why can’t my business be well-blended too? Why can’t it!?  Dammit, he’s right!  How am I supposed to teach people how to live blended lives with a whole collection of segmented projects?

So, here I am. Blending my projects into one awesome, beautiful margarita of a resource for people who want to lead blended lives.

“It’s opener there, in the wide open air.
Out there things can happen and frequently do,
to people as brainy and footsy as you.”

Dr. Seuss – Oh the Places You’ll Go!

*”At home” is a relative term since a large part of our lives don’t actually happen at home. But, we’re completely, happily home-based & alarm-clock free.

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6 Responses to The alternative to life-balance is pure awesomeness

  1. Nicki Savantes November 1, 2010 at 3:33 pm #

    Read one of your comments on an Ittybiz guest post (frozen planes of Michigan vs frozen planes of Alaska) and got curious. Loved this post too. You so totally rock!
    I will be following your Brainy Feet project with a lot of interest. I’m not yet unschooling because of um, wet feet, but what you say about the blending and all really resonates with me. Cheering for you…

    • Laura November 1, 2010 at 4:45 pm #

      Thank you so much for this encouragement. I’m hoping to launch BrainyFeet with tons of juicy content by the end of November/early December. I’m so happy to see it resonating with people. Better yet, with awesome people like you!

  2. Kris December 13, 2010 at 5:48 am #

    Thanks for the mention! I love the “blended” life analogy! I posted this post on Facebook! Good luck with BrainyFeet!


  3. Laura White-Ritchie December 13, 2010 at 1:51 pm #

    Thanks Kris! And thank you for putting so eloquently what I needed 1100 words to explain. Have an AMAZING day! ~ Laura


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