Finding Balance in a World of Extremes


It’s something I contend with every single day of my life, and something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately. Time, work, family, exercise, food choices. It’s all a big struggle for me.

I find myself wishing I could just quit my job. Not because I don’t enjoy it, but because it takes me away from my home and family, and I am often at a loss as to how to keep my work balanced with my family life. However, quitting my job would only bring an entirely new set of circumstances in which I would probably struggle to find balance.

I have observed that I am not alone in this. I see my husband and children struggling with the same things when it comes to balancing the hundreds of choices that are presented to us each day. We live in a world where it seems that the extreme choices are preferred.

Where’s the balance?

The thing I worry about most when it comes to balance is the example I am setting for my children. I tend to be a very all or nothing person (read: imbalanced), and I go on many “kicks” that are both healthy and unhealthy.

If I decide I am going to be an amazing exerciser, I am ALL in. But as soon as I start to get stressed, or bored, or stop seeing results, my all turns quickly to nothing. Food is the same way for me. I can be totally committed to a diet and be completely off all the things I feel I shouldn’t eat. And I can actually sustain this crazy method of eating for quite a while.

Until I go somewhere and they have pumpkin pie. Then I go completely crazy, and suddenly my diet consists of ONLY pumpkin pie. (Okay, so maybe it’s not quite that bad… but really, it’s bad.)

I do not want my children to mimic my unhealthy approach to diet, exercise, sleep, etc. I want them to be more moderate in the way they deal with their health. I’m watching my teenager and realizing that perhaps I could have done a better job in teaching her these things.

The good news is, it’s never too late to start.

How to Live a More Balanced Life

1. Listen to your body

If your body is telling you it’s hungry, eat. If it’s telling you (as mine often does) to quit eating junk, obey it. I have found that being in tune with what my body needs is one of the best ways to find balance in life, because my body does not enjoy being imbalanced.

Recently, I had a big writing deadline. It was 10:00 pm the night before the assignment was due, and I had not started yet because things had just been too insane that week. I was exhausted after working all day, shuttling kids around, and then helping with homework and chores, etc. My teenager was on my computer working on her own writing assignment and I could not stay awake. I decided to actually listen to my body and get it in bed—a brain that tired was going to turn out some pretty poor writing anyway. I made myself not worry about the writing that was due the next morning and I slept. It’s totally unlike me, but I got up at 5:30 and got the assignment done.

It was a much more balanced way of doing things, instead of my usual push until everything is done, and then maybe sleep for a couple hours before I’m up and doing it again.

2. Delay gratification

Balance is just an arrangement of priorities. But it often feels that the world is telling us to go ahead and do whatever we want, whenever we want and not worry about the consequences. In fact, the world often leads us to believe that there ARE no consequences. Go ahead and have that birthday cake—you only live once, right? And go ahead and have another piece, because it was so good, and you are worth it. Want more? No big deal! You can have it all!

But then the world simultaneously tells us you can’t have any of it. No! You can’t have that slice of cake—you will gain ten pounds, it’s full of unhealthy fats and sugars, and it’s not worth it. If you eat it, you will die an early death from heart disease and clogged arteries. All from one little piece of cake.

This is a dangerous attitude. I would like to help my children replace it with learning to delay their gratification until it is appropriate and makes sense. Yes, go ahead and have that birthday cake. But only after you know you’ve also eaten a healthy meal. And maybe plan to also exercise a few minutes extra that day to make up for it.

There is nothing wrong with a little treat every once in a while. If we deny ourselves those little treats all the time, we will go crazy with the treats eventually (I know this, because it is what happens to me). And if we are having treats whenever we feel like it, we are doing so at the expense of healthier food and the health of our bodies. But if those treats are placed at their proper priority level, we are able to balance our health much better.

3. Be the good in the world

I went to an event with my children a couple weeks ago, and refreshments were served. I was so impressed that, along with the typical cookies and other sweets, there were plenty of healthy options. There was a vegetable tray, apples, cheese, and several other things. I was also impressed to note that my children naturally took some of the healthy options as well as the sweets.

It made me think about how I can bring balance to the refreshment tables of the world by being the mom who brings apples instead of cookies. I can be the mom who chooses a fun activity that moves the kids’ bodies instead of watching yet another movie at a birthday party. And most of all, I can be the mom who sets a good example for my children. Not by eschewing treats altogether, but by approaching them in a healthy manner.

4. Learn from mistakes

So you overdid it on the cookies. It’s okay—today is a new day full of new choices. Don’t beat yourself up because you overindulged or made poor choices yesterday. Instead, learn from those mistakes and move on.

Likewise, teach your children to learn from their mistakes. Help them find the balance between what they want to be doing or eating and what they should be doing or eating. Whether they spent too much time playing around on their phones at the expense of homework, or made themselves sick by eating all of their Halloween candy at once, you can calmly point out the consequences of their choices. You can then offer that perhaps next time they can complete their homework before texting friends and that one or two pieces of candy after dinner is more than enough. Besides—then that candy will last for a very long time! Balance is awesome when put into that perspective.

By putting these simple ideas to practice, you can start living more balanced and teaching your kids to do the same along the way.


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Erica Conrad

This is a great blog post! I too, often find it difficult to find a balance in daily life! A book that you may love for healthy eating and tips is "Eat Pretty" I have found it so helpful!!

XO, Erica


Pinned. Thanks, Lara.


I struggle a lot with balance in my family's diet. A couple of my kids are picky eaters, and I cook for comfort. I'm working to improve their habits and mine.


I struggle with finding the time to balance parenthood and my marriage. I don't spend nearly enough time alone with my husband.



Jessica To

I struggle with preparing healthy meals when we are really busy.


I struggle finding ways to give my kids enough fruits and vegetables most days,
especially because they have different tastes.





nicole dziedzic

Since we are a very busy family we struggle with maintaining healthy meals throughout the week, as we order out more now. We would love to eat more home cooked meals at home.
Nicole.ddziedzic at gmail dot com

nicole dziedzic

Posted this post on twitter here-
Nicole.ddziedzic at gmail dot com

Hilda Rodgers

Balance is my word for the year! I'm not there yet but I've learned a lot this year and I think I'm getting better in some areas. Trying to model that for my family is a little tougher, but talking about it is a start. Thanks for sharing these tips!


My life is completely out of balance. I work overnights, my husband works 2nd shift, we barely see each other (meeting on the road on our way in or out) and our diets are horrible. On graveyard shift, if I'm not working, I'm sleeping. With such limited time we don't eat right or get much exercise. And the stress levels are insane! I have NO CLUE how to find balance!


we try to balance everything in life.


Julie Wood

I am pressed for time and struggle to make home cooked meals every day. I want to get the convenient foods that are already prepared, but I need to make sure that I am cooking more healthier meals every day for my family. I feel so much better when my family and I eat healthy meals.

Julie Wood

Tweet entry


Elena Istomina

I struggle with finding time to exercise

elena150980 at yahoo dot com

Elena Istomina



Thank you for sharing. I'm new to YNAB (on the trial), but it's already helped so much 🙂

Heather S

I struggle with time management most
heatheranne99 at gmail dot com

Heather S



What I find most challenging is that I work part time for my hubby but everyone still sees me as a full-time SAHM

Heather Hollands

We miss the summer during our harsh winters. This past week, we received 30 inches of snow in two days. I like to bring summer into the house with lots of fresh fruits. That picture you have with the cup of raspberries makes my mouth water! We like to drink green smoothies with fruit and baby spinach. Also, we eat lots of oranges and grapefruit in the winter.


I struggle to find time to get everything done with my family. I have learned to stick to a routine.
heather hgtempaddy[at]

Stacey B

I struggled with staying on a schedule. I am a work at home Mom so other than getting my son to school in the morning, we don't have to be out the door at any certain point. I have a hard time getting into a routine because of this. We kind of just take the days as they come

Stacey B


I stuggle with routines. vandenbossche3[at]




Our family struggles mostly with eating dinner together. It is hard to coordinate everyones schedule.




I struggle when school is on holiday and I am working. benz1171(at)hotmail(dot)com