Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Why it's all about balance

I actually learned something worthwhile in college! In a business class, of all things!

I guess I should back-track a little here, though, and introduce myself. Name: April. Various labels: single working mom of two girls (soon to be 7 and 9), secretary in a corporate real estate law dept, liberal, divorced, California native, Los Angeles resident.

I do most things in an unorthodox manner. I didn't get married until I was pregnant with my 2nd daughter (big mistake to tie that knot - but that's for another blog), and I didn't graduate college until last year (I'm 34).

I went to Antioch University - Los Angeles, an incredibly liberal school. How liberal? Well, on the gender question on the application, you have your choice between male, female, or transsexual. Given that, our business classes were a bit different. We actually learned useful knowledge in terms of interpersonal communication, group practices, etc.

I have to thank my professor, Jeanne Hartley, for the best advice I ever received which I think about on a daily basis.

She taught me that it's all about balance. She taught me that our weaknesses are our strengths overused. She taught me that compromise is not the optimal solution, but rather equally balancing out the needs is.

I think about this often, and must perform these balancing acts more often than a Cirque de Soleil performer! Time management is obviously a huge part of that, as any mom can tell you. However, it goes beyond just balancing our responsibilities and personal needs. It also involves keeping perspective and realizing that the world is not black and white, people are not all good or all evil, children should not be labeled into categories like the "brainy one" or "tomboy," and good political solutions are probably somewhere between the Republican or Democratic stances.

I will be opinionated, and more than likely on the "left-hand" side of things when I get political (which, frankly, I'm hoping to avoid until closer to the general elections because I hate primaries). But I do hope that people who disagree will tell me (without name-calling or otherwise being rude) why they disagree. And that's just not about political issues, but parenting, relationships, or whatever I decide to write about here. I'll rant and rave, but I'm still open enough to hear your side, too.

My father and I disagree on politics. We have learned over the years that we just see things from an entirely different perspective. He sees things on the news, and thinks to himself, "how can she believe what she does?" and I'll do the same...but he grew up as an Army brat and mostly in the South. I grew up in Santa Cruz and Los Angeles, doing theatre starting at the age of 6! It's no wonder we see things differently. We also different priorities so our filters work differently. I'm simply more willing to forgive or at least not take seriously some of the things Democrats do wrong because overall, I believe that they more closely fight for the things that are important to me. The same is true for my father with Republicans. We talk politics less and less, more and more because we get so passionate that my mother freaks out on us. But we do try to hear the other one's point of view. I'm hoping for the opportunity to hear from others who don't think like me (and some validation for those who do agree with me is always welcome, too :), but are willing to speak from the heart - not just rhetoric, please!

Because I do believe that both sides must be heard in order to achieve a workable solution that balances out the needs of everyone. I actually do appreciate the far-righters and the far-lefters because without their extremism, it might be harder for most of us to find our middle, common ground. And while I do call myself a liberal, I've met some extremists on the left side that make me look like a conservative! Well, maybe not that far...

I'll also talk about my girls, and whatever balances I'm trying to help them through. I will talk about their tantrums or other bad day moments (what we're now calling "Sharpay" moments in reference to the diva in the High School Musical movies), their good and great days, and I'll even talk about how sometimes, I'm grateful for Mondays and to be back with adults again! I'll ask for advice on occasion, and hope you give it (again, respectfully) or even make suggestions when I don't ask for it!

I look forward to meeting you all, and hope you tell me what you like and what you don't like along the way.

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