By: Kelly Trainer, Alpha Pi
We’re all sisters here, so let’s be honest. I’m a busy woman. Sometimes it’s not easy to give of my time to others. As my life has changed, so has the amount of time that I have to give. I will admit to being a little jealous of the amazing women I know who manage to give so freely to others while managing demanding careers and families. I, however, have had to honestly evaluate my own time and reduce the number of groups to which I give my time. I felt tremendously guilty about this because service to others has always been something that was important in my life, even more so after becoming a Phi Mu sister.
A couple of months ago, I talked with my mother about reducing my service hours. Now, to be clear, my mother is one of those women who always seemed to manage everything and was giving of her time, talents, and treasure long before I ever read the words, “To lend to those less fortunate a helping hand.” My mom laughed at me when I told her how guilty I felt about cutting back. She told me that she had done the same thing when my sister and I were younger, she was working, and realized that she had much less time than she had before. She told my grandma about feeling embarrassed about it, who laughed at her and told her to get over it (grandma was a pretty blunt woman…). She told my mom that we each give as much as we can, and we should not judge our contributions by what others can do. She told my mom that she needed to realize that our lives are constantly changing, and that the balance we need to find is likewise constantly shifting to keep up with the changes. While you may not have as much time to give now as you used to, one day you will find yourself with more time and you will give more. So give what you can, give it freely, and give it to the best of your ability, because with all things, it is quality over quantity.
In telling the groups I’ve been involved with of my need to rebalance my life, they have also been tremendously supportive and understanding, and it’s made me realize that almost everyone has gone through this life rebalancing – it’s just not something that I’ve ever had anyone talk about until after the person had the internal struggle and found the courage to admit that she can’t help with something right now. So, when your life changes – you get a very demanding promotion at work, you struggle with your health, you start a family, you care for an ailing parent, you move – continue to give because service is important, but know it is okay to rebalance.