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Having the courage to admit when life is out of balance?

The iconic 1980s pop star Debbie Gibson posted a reel on Instagram (@debbiegibson) the other day that really spoke to me. She was getting ready for a show, Velcro rollers in her hair and all, and spoke about having had a health scare earlier in the week and not knowing if she would be able to perform.  

Gibson also mentioned that it seemed like a lot of people were dealing with troubles lately: people in her circle were coping with layoffs and she knew others were facing that as well. She lost her mother earlier this year and was approaching those first holidays without her. I had been feeling like it was one of THOSE weeks for a lot of folks around me too. 

“What I’ve decided lately is you can be grateful for all the things going on in your life and you can also be tired and you can also have your moments,” Gibson said. And wow, I felt seen. 

I interviewed Kate Zimmerman of Leadership Lancaster just a few days before (for Central Penn Parent’s sibling publication, Central Penn Business Journal, of course), and asked what she had learned over the years that helps women, specifically, develop as leaders. She said she had recently read that women, especially, strive for balance, but it’s more about equilibrium. It’s about learning to lead from the season in which you’re in and not expecting to be all things at all times. 

Gibson and Zimmerman may seem like two strange sources to combine, but it all percolated together in my brain. We try to set good examples for our children, right? And we also try to let them enjoy their childhoods with as few worries as possible, so when those storm clouds are looming, we try to shield them, sometimes to our own detriment. 

I have said this a lot, but I think the pandemic has made life harder, and stress literally rewires our brains. Now we’re coming into the holiday season and that time of year where we are supposed to focus on family and friends and feel thankful for all the good things in our lives. 

But for a lot of people right now, that’s hard. I think we all look at having gratitude as this magic bullet to dispelling the dark clouds, and we’re told to focus on the positive and that will make it all better. However, if for example you were told the week before Thanksgiving your company is going to do another round of layoffs in the beginning of December, you’re only human if that is going to loom over you and you don’t feel super upbeat and grateful. 

To pull together what both women were saying, I think equilibrium in parenting is about having the courage to acknowledge the season you are in, even if it is a difficult one. Maybe you need a little extra help. Maybe the only thing you’re feeling grateful for is that at least your kids are healthy. It’s OK. We can stop, get our bearings, catch our breath, and determine a path from there, and know that we will get through it. I think that’s one of the best lessons we can teach our kids. 

 

 

Jen Deinlein
Jen Deinlein is a self-professed “Jen of all trades and master of none.” She’s a SAHM to 8- and 5-year-old daughters, a freelance writer (you can also see her work in CPBJ) and head cheerleading coach at Penn State Mont Alto. She and her family live in Guilford Township, Franklin County, with a golf course in the backyard where they frequently rescue lost golf balls. You can reach Jen on Instagram: @groovypq; Twitter: @jlbd77 or by email: [email protected].

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