Finding That Balance

Kristy Eckert

What is the biggest challenge women face today?

My colleague recently asked that question to all five of this year's YWCA Women of Achievement. And each gave the same answer: Finding balance.

I wasn't surprised.

We want to excel in our careers, nurture our marriages, be the gal available for wine and conversation when our friend needs us right at this moment, get the stains out, bake the cupcakes, perfect the art of dusting the blinds, look amazing doing it and - oh yeah - raise compassionate, intelligent, loving children who aren't ruled by iPhones but can definitely show us how to use ours.

Problem is, amazing as we are, we can't do it all. If I had all the answers, I'd be rich enough to not dust. But I don't, and I'm not. I do, however, have Tuesday Date Nights.

My little guy, Cooper, who just turned 4, was born into a busy family of two journalist parents and three athletic teenage siblings. He went to his first basketball game at 10 days old and hasn't stopped: Lacrosse, track, soccer, football, diving - he watches them all. And he loves it.

But I felt he deserved more of my undivided attention. Something that was just about him, not someone else. Something beyond 20 minutes of LEGO-building between sliding dinner in the oven and setting the table. Something more exciting than 30 minutes of our nightly bedtime ritual.

So Tuesday Date Nights were born. Late last summer, we had options aplenty - Zoombezi Bay, the zoo, mini golf at Magic Mountain. We visited new playgrounds, rolled down giant, grassy hills, indulged in Graeter's. My phone learned to live in the car.

"How many days until Tuesday?" Cooper started to ask.

As fall turned to winter, our options narrowed, but not our fun: movies, pizza making at home, Recreations Outlet, scavenger hunts, dinners out, the Memory Game.

"Are we going on Tuesday Date Night?" Cooper asks me every Tuesday evening when I pick him up from preschool.

When I tell him yes, he cheers. Literally.

As I'm sitting here typing this, my eyes have welled with tears. Because in my pursuit of perfection, I seem to always come up short. But then there are Tuesdays - Tuesdays that I know will disappear all too soon when there is school and homework and practices and games and suddenly, we've moved him into his college dorm and I'm dancing at his wedding.

I don't know, exactly, how women find their balance. I may not have all the answers, but I do have Tuesday Date Night, and that, for me, is enough.

-Kristy Eckert is the editor of Capital Style.