If you haven’t heard, we had the privilege of sitting down with Mike and Kristin Berry of the Honestly Adoption Company for Episode 008 of the podcast. We’re still smiling from our time with them. We laughed, we learned, and we’re finding that some of the truths that surfaced in that episode are really sticking with all of us. So today, we’re both sharing where God has us in the tilt!
My first supervisor out of grad school had a big impact on my life. Those who know residence life or simply remember living on a college campus get the 24/7 concept. When the on-call phone rang, you answered. You lived where you worked. Your best friends were your coworkers. There was no off switch. Working in residence life meant living in residence life, it was a lifestyle.
The tilt analogy was first shared with me by my supervisor over breakfast in the “caf”. He noticed astutely that I was tired. I must have had a rough on call weekend or a particularly long set of meetings the previous days. He also knew I was a young married woman just starting out her career with big dreams for my job and my family. He told me flat out that being a Residence Director (RD) meant life couldn’t be balanced.
I was shocked. The main theme of most mentor experiences I had had before was to figure out the “balance”. Funny how none of it ever really seemed to work. “The trick”, he said, “is not balancing out so that your life is flat. The trick is learning to live on the tilt.”
When I transitioned out of that specific role and into another, and brought home our first kiddo, and moved states, and transitioned into another role at another school again, and then again, and then brought home our second kiddo… I started realizing that the life on the tilt didn’t just apply to my first job. That analogy was describing my life.
For our family, this analogy has been transforming, and here’s why:
- It’s a reality check on how I view my life. How many Americans are living the old “white picket fence” life? Mike Berry references it briefly in Episode 008 when he’s talking to a friend. It’s true… we all have this weird idealized view that things will “calm down” eventually and we will “settle”.
- There are a lot of things that can be done only on a tilt. Like surfing. Just sayin’. Surfing is really hard and takes a lot of constant muscle work. But it’s worth it.
- Knowing that I don’t have to flatten the tilt is freeing. I’m not meant to flatten the tilt. I’m meant to thrive in the tilt.
As a believer, I acknowledge that God has called me to this specific tilt. My kids were meant to be in my home since the dawn of time. I was meant to walk this path, live on this tilt. If I really believe all that is true, then I can thrive in the tilt. I put my faith in Him to show me the way…and I surf.
Simple but profound, the concept of “life on a tilt” has brought a new sense of contentment and reason as we continue to dig into the everyday of adoptive mamahood — or let’s be real, parenthood.
Recently my husband and I had the opportunity to get away for two nights. It was really special to have the chance to step away and have some time to be somewhere different and have a different mindset. I have to admit that as soon as we reached our destination it felt really strange to not have a little human dancing around us. It felt even more strange to clean up dinner in five minutes and not have to sweep up the floor. These are minuscule examples (and don’t create the tilt), but they add to everyday of all the bigger pieces that make up our story.
It seems so silly, but I couldn’t help but think about how I love our tilt. I mean, I don’t always when I’m in it but when I step out of it, I actually feel less balanced than when I’m unbalanced in it.
I’m not trying to be confusing. But I am hoping to share some thoughts that I’m carrying with me as I digest what we’ve been talking about here at 2 Adoptive Mamas.
1. Be encouraged that your tilt has to be what is right for your family. Living on a tilt is a reality, and the sum of its parts needs to be what is best for your family. Not someone else. Not what our world says it should be like. Your tilt is your tilt. And you don’t have to justify it!
2. Just because we’re acknowledging that we live in a tilt doesn’t mean that our life is “off track.” Now, that’s not to say that maybe something is off track [and we work through these things], but it is to say that when things are “on track” we’re still tilted. And to take it a step further, some components of our lives, when examined individually, might be more tilted than others. All to say, you have to own your tilt to thrive in it.
3. It’s a good thing to miss your tilt when you have a chance to step away. And it’s okay to wish you could step out of the tilt when you’re in it. These are real feelings, and I want to validate you in those thoughts. It’s not easy. Parenting is hard. This journey of growing your family is hard. Living on a tilt is hard.
But mamas, He made us for this. And at the end of the day when the gaps seem too much, remember that His grace is enough.
You’ve got this mama.
Liz & Sarah