"The Tightrope Walker"

"The Tightrope Walker" by Jean-Louis Forain

Monday, May 10, 2010

A Little Bit of Me.

A few weeks ago someone asked me how I keep balance in my life, and at the time I laughed. I laughed because balance is a daily struggle for me, as I'm sure it is for all Moms. The conversation got me thinking though and I started making a mental list of the things I do to get some balance between family, work and play. To my surprise, there are probably more things I do to keep some sort of sanity than I ever realized.

For example, I frequently put the girls to bed a 1/2 hour earlier than normal when my husband works nights. I've always felt guilty about doing it because maybe they should be playing for that extra bit of time, but once I started thinking about it this is one of the little things I do to create some balance. Since I'm home by myself everything takes a little longer because I'm outnumbered - dinner, bath time, bedtime, clean-up. If I kept the girls up to their regular bedtime it would likely mean that by the time I'd cleaned up dinner and finished all my tasks for the next day it would be time for me to go to bed. No time to unwind! I NEED that time to clear my brain, and then shut my thoughts down before calling it a night. So, selfish or not I create some balance by tucking the girls into bed a 1/2 early. Thank goodness they can't tell time yet!

I also don't work every day of the week. For a while now I've accepted work based on my family schedule rather than operate my family life around work. I've been lucky to have this opportunity, and even luckier than my husband has been so tolerant. Even though working very part-time has created a lot of financial strain it has been worth it in order to spend time with my daughters while they are so little. My only regret is that having had this time I haven't taken more advantage of it to become a better cook or to do more things just for me. Maybe in the next lifetime I learn how to strike that balance.

The trickiest part of keeping a well-rounded life is having fun. I easily have fun with the girls, my family and work is always interesting, but having fun that is just about me or my husband and I is a little more difficult. Of course the logistics of babysitters always creates a challenge, but beyond that two interesting things have happened to me in adulthood. First, I have let all interest in hobbies fall to the wayside. But, I think I can fix this problem especially as the girls get older and become more independent. Second, having had my first daughter before most of our friends were married we found ourselves in an interesting situation. We leap-frogged ahead of our friends in the stages of life and for a while everyone sort of fell away. We stopped being invited places and slowly I stopped seeing and speaking with friends as often. I don't blame this on our friends at all. I realize that some of this isolation is simply the nature of adulthood/parenthood as your time becomes more and more divided, but my husband and I also let it happen. We turned down invitations, actively spent more time with our own parents, and stopped picking up the phone to make those important calls. But this too can be remedied!

So, after this long ramble the moral of the story is that balance for me is actually going to come from problem solving, being positive and taking action. Just this week I heard Dr. Phil talking about how the key to changing your life isn't motivation but taking action. (I know that you are chuckling right now, but yes I saw Dr. Phil on Oprah this week during a Mommy-minute. I was taking some time to create balance!) This rang very true to me. Taking action has to come before motivation because motivation really is the power to KEEP going, not the power to GET going! An "aha-moment", as Oprah would say. (I know...now you're laughing! But imagine, what would our world be like without Oprah?!?!)

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