Thanks to a colleague of mine, I now use the term "integration" of career and life instead of "balance." The term "balance" gave a connotation of barely maintaining the scales from tipping one way or another, almost an unachievable task. Hence, the term "integration." We weave a web of career, parenthood, community involvement, grandparent care, and other interests which are all connected together. One day, your child may be sick and your work does not receive enough attention. The next week, you may be at a conference and not see the kids at all. Even though it is merely a word, I feel more at ease with my life when using "integration."
Many moms that I speak to say the toughest question of all at this point in their lives is, "When do I find full-time outside work?" Some moms feel taking care of the well-being of 2 or 3 children is more that enough "work." Having said that, many would like to return to some career stimulation. A friend of mine says he loves to hire moms because they are so motivated, come in at 9 am, eat lunch for 20 minutes, leave at 3 and put in the most efficient time at the office. One mom re-entered the workforce while negotiating a contract for 9-3, PD days and holidays off, and a longer summer break. As some of my mom friends now have children entering full day school, their integration of life and work is slowly changing. Good luck to everybody!