As I write this blog post to you guys, I am eating peanut butter straight out of the jar for “lunch” and am drinking a full cup of cold coffee. Not iced coffee, mind you, this was hot about, oh, four hours ago. It is almost 3pm, and I have gotten about 30% of my “to do” list done, and that’s a lot for me. And so I decided that today, of all days, with Mother’s Day coming up on Sunday, I should write about balance. And how it is total, and utter crap.
The really funny part of this blog post is that I started “writing” it last week. In the shower, which is where I get most of my ideas. Maybe it’s because it’s one of the few times in my life where I don’t have anyone else with me, and even though there are plenty of child sized interruptions, something about the water and the peace and quiet makes things pop into my head like “Did I remember to hand in Jack’s preschool graduation form???” (no, I did not) and “I should write a book and here’s how I’m gonna start it!”.
The thing is, for a while I thought “balance” was something that not only I could achieve as a parent, it was something I should achieve. Something to aspire to. We have all read those articles about “FINDING BALANCE”. Take a bubble bath! Find a hobby (ed note: hahaha)! Make some me time! Make sure you are finding that balance! Like it’s something I can jot down on my list:
- Call and make kids dentist appointments
- buy more pull ups
- find balance
- get oil change
- Try to get Sharpie off closet door
Balance sort of turned into another thing to fail at as a parent. OMG I forgot to find BALANCE! Oops! I don’t have time to work out or volunteer or spend enough time with friends, now I’m failing not only at parenting but as a PERSON since I am so unbalanced! Crap! Between all that growing a human being and birthing them and making sure they’re fed and bathed etc etc etc I now have to work in some balance somewhere. Hmmm…balance…Do they sell that at the Dollar Spot?
The other little pickle is that…kids? They aren’t exactly balancers for life. More like unbalancers. If there is one thing I can say children do for sure it is unbalance you. Literally and figuratively. My back will never be the same after carrying five children. And I will never be the same. Plus, forcing balance sounds kind of like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? You can try and keep kids and yourself to a rigid schedule but childhood will find a way through that. And rather than think that I can and should get them all onto this super duper little schedule that suits my needs maybe I can remember that they are children, and babies. And while they need structure and structure is great, maybe I need to tune into their own needs and not bend them to what I want them to be doing at any given time.
And let’s say you DO get them on a super duper schedule (claps for you) get ready for someone to throw that right the hell off. Stomach bug, night terrors, illness, growth spurts, LIFE IN GENERAL. It’s gonna get you. And it’s going to knock you right off balance.
And I mean, YES mommy needs her downtime but also, they need me. Balance, this unicorn of parenting, is gonna have to wait. It is just fine to be doing your best as you go along. It’s just fine to just do what needs to get done, try and do some of what makes life fun, and call it a day, and be content with that. Or you know what? Days where you just get the bare minimum done and you roll into bed and are like YEP DONE WITH TODAY. That’s fine. It’s fine. It’s okay to hang on to that extra 10 or 20 or 30 pounds because you know what? You have a baby, and you just don’t WANT to work out right now thankyouverymuch (raises hand). That can wait till they’re in kindergarten (or middle school, whatevs). Right now you have tiny little butts to keep clean and breastfeeding burns calories anyway so eat the damn cinnamon bun and don’t look back.
When you need a break, try and take a break. Tune into your own needs, as a parent, as a mother, and work on that. Can you push through times and find new strength? Awesome. Can you work on knowing when you need to say f*#k it to that huge pile of laundry and put your feet up and not care? Work on that. Do what you gotta do, when you gotta do it, and that, my friends, will be the closest you come to balance.
Let go of the idea that life, and your children’s lives, can ever be or ever should be “balanced” and let go of the guilt of not getting more done, not doing more, not doing “IT ALL”.
Maybe one day when they’re all grown up I’ll be able to sit on a porch somewhere and read a book in total silence and do my yoga every day and meditate and make time for all those things I didn’t do when they were little and tugging at the hem of my skirt to be picked up and fed and sung to and carried around. And I will miss it, oh man will I miss it.