In September, the Motherhood Collective will feature posts on balance - having it or not! It's certainly a state most of us struggle to find. September is, for some, the calm before the storm. Our kids are back in school, fall activities have begun and we have a few precious weeks before we really have to start thinking about the holidays. What better time to take a few minutes to reflect on how we spend our time, juggle our lives and what we can do to achieve our own perfect balance! ~TMC If you want to make a mom laugh, ask her how she "balances" her life.
My response to that question? Snort.
The truth is: balance is really hard...and ever changing...and REALLY hard.
I mean, some days it's easy.
You know, the days when: - the baby's slept well and you've slept well. - everyone's had a good breakfast. - you went for a walk - or even to the gym. *GASP* - you talked to a grown up for more than 5 minutes. - your husband had a great day at work. - you can share an interesting story - because you actually know one. - your "made from scratch" dinner was delicious. - and you all went to bed on time, so that everyone could sleep well again!
And then there are THOSE days. The days where pretty much the opposite of everything above happens. And those days stink. Real bad.
Those are the days that people think of when you ask about balance. The days where you're exhausted and there is no food in the house, all the laundry is dirty, the baby won't nap, everyone in the entire world is cranky, it's raining and blah, blah, blah...
Yeah, those days are a real downer.
But as to how to find balance - hmmm. Personally, I just take it one day at a time. Oh, and deep breathing helps.
But seriously, these are the things that are always on my mental "to do" list.
I try to go to bed on time. And yes, "on time" is relative. I try to get up, shower and be dressed before noon. Stop laughing...goals are important. I try to plan for and complete chores and errands before my husband notices the lack of bananas or clean socks. I try to eat well and feed my family well. I try to keep my house "together"...as in, someone could show up unannounced and I wouldn't be mortified. (P.S. - If you happen to stop by, please don't ever ask to see my basement.)
Those are the easy ones. Then there are the harder ones.
I try to be a thoughtful wife. I try to be a kind mother. I try to be generous and thankful. I try to maintain good relationships. I try to learn constantly and be creative And mostly...I try not to take myself too seriously.
Of course, I don't do all these things everyday. Usually, if something starts to get neglected, I'm reminded (by my grouchy husband, the overflowing hamper, the tumbleweeds of dog fur, the towering stack of unread and possibly overdue library books or the to-do list that takes up more than a page) that something needs to change.
"The key to keeping your balance is knowing when you've lost it." - said somebody smart, but anonymously, on the internet.
Everyone has their own balance and you do know when you don't have it. The important thing is to identify the imbalance and try to right it. And usually, something's gotta give. (At least for me, it's usually the amount of time I spend on Facebook. Strangely enough, the amount of time I spend cleaning is never the thing that needs to be reigned in.)
So, was this helpful? Maybe not, but that's because balance is so personal. If anything, rest assured that most of us struggle with balance in our lives. Even if you think someone else has it all together, they probably don't...at least not all the time. As with most things motherhood-related, your situation is never exactly the same as someone else's.
So my three bits of balancing advice: 1. Identify the things that are most important to you. 2. Check in on those things from time to time and adjust your time and energy accordingly. 3. Forgive yourself when things get out of whack and try to do better tomorrow.
So simple, right? You're welcome, Internet. Next month I'll tackle the debt crisis.
Photo courtesy of www.old-picture.com