and the winner of the balance beam is…

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Balance…something everyone strives to have in their lives. Yet it is elusive and difficult to find. There are physical balances…eating healthy, but still enjoying what you eat. Working out, but taking time to rest. There is financial balance. Saving money for the future and hard times, but still enjoying the time you have now. Being generous to others but still keeping what you need for yourself. There are so many things we think we should do, are told we should do, or wonder if we should do that it becomes overwhelming.
When I decided to become a stay at home mom, it took trying to balance my life to a whole new level. It took it from college level to pro. When I started staying home after I had Sasquatch, I suddenly had all this unplanned time on my hands. (notice, I didn’t say I had a lot of time on my hands…but now it was no longer set up for me). When I worked, I had to be at specific places at specific times. I fit in necessary chores in the little spaces left. But now I reported to no one, no schedule laid out for me to follow. I had to create it all on my own. As the queen of people who over think things, this has been difficult for me and I have been doing this for four years.
My biggest struggles usually revolve around how to spend my time. (I am horrible with money, so I leave balancing the checkbook to Sir Smiley, or nothing would ever get paid). If I am on top of things and keeping up with my chores you would think I would be happy. But then I am sure that I must not be spending enough time with the kids. Am I ignoring them too much? Are they feeling abandoned and unloved? But If I spend all my time with them, I become stressed in a new way. I can’t find anything. If I had kept on top of cleaning, maybe Sir Smiley wouldn’t have twisted his ankle walking across the living room. We can’t go out, the kids have no clean clothes. I guess we’ll eat Mac and cheese tonight, since I forgot to go shopping today. I worry about other things too, not just the kids. Did I spend enough time with Sir Smiley? Am I so cranky because I need to take a break? I should be getting healthy and working out, but how do I fit that in? You get the picture. Being at home does not mean that you suddenly have all this extra time or that things run smoothly now. I may no longer be employed, but I now have kids that eat up more time than a job ever did. So now I take time to adjust responsibilities, making sure that if I take on something new I either abandon a different project or have extra time to do it.
One thing that helps is I make a list of the things I need done, then one of the things I would like to have done. Then I make a rough schedule or routine to follow so I get the things I need done….done. I leave the second list lying around so they don’t bounce around in my head and do them with whatever extra time I have (which isn’t much, but there is something so satisfying about crossing something off a list)
As always, I just muddle along as best I can and pray that God protects my children and husband from my ineptitude. I try to prioritize, God first, then hubby, kids and me. Those first, then fit in other things as I can. None of us are perfect, and I can’t honestly tell you what the perfect balance looks like. But I have learned that I may not have been perfect, I may have been impatient or forgotten something, but I give it my all and loved my family. If I have done that, then it was a good day.

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4 thoughts on “and the winner of the balance beam is…

  1. Ash

    I have a hard time with balance too (as I’m sure almost every mom does) because I have the tendency to feel that any chore left undone means that I have failed to finish my job for the day. And since it’s pretty impossible to have the house sparkling clean from top to bottom with four kids, I was always feeling like I had failed to do my job. I found that setting up a regular cleaning schedule helped so that when I saw that the kitchen floor was dirty on Monday, I didn’t have to fret because Tueday is mopping day every week. Suddenly my list changed from having to have a perfect house all the time to just the chores I had scheduled for that day. Then I found a website called flylady.net that helped even more by dividing a house into zones and setting up a calendar focusing on a zone each week. (This week’s zone is the living room, and the website has a detailed list of how to declutter and deep clean that room.) I loved it because it made cleaning and organizing a very reachable goal and still kept it at the proper place on the priority list (not at the top.)

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