Wednesday, September 18, 2013

How well do you balance?

I live a particularly charmed life (though maybe not successful, it depends on your definition).  I work about 30-40 hours per week from September - May and then I work 10 hours a week from June-August.  I work "Mother's Hours" and am usually able to pick up my son from school.  So why is it that I feel guilty when we're both home and he's all, "How can you expect me to play on my own?"  And I'm all, "Dude!  This curry isn't going to cook itself, and do you WANT fresh underwear?"

If you've been reading along, I think we've established that I have three primary emotions:
1) Nostalgia
2) Guilt
3) Hunger for rich food...maybe you don't think this is an emotion, but trust me!

A tidal wave of polarizing information about children and how we should parent has swept over me.  I'm not sure if you feel this or not but I swing from Bringing Up Bébé to Attachment Parenting to ideas that I should just freaking Lean In at work already!

Recently a close relative commented on how much I play with my son.  She raised her children in the 70s and discussed how the norm, when you had time, was to clean your house rather than play with the kids.  She discussed the prevailing idea that adults were not the entertainment committee for children, they could play with each other or their friends.  I thought back to when I was growing up, and while my parents were incredibly loving, we didn't spend long hours playing games and cultivating my brain.  I played, much of the time, on my own, with cousins, with friends.

But for some reason, I still feel this guilt when I've spent an afternoon with my son and I've been asked maybe 42,000 times, "Are you ready to play YET?"  It's not that we don't play.  I play Uno, Zimbos, Froggy Boogy, Flinke Flitzer, baby cat and mama cat, Mader the Greater the daredevil, chase, tag, soccer, blocks, marble games...  And he joins me in some of my activities.  We play laundry basketball (2 pts per item dunked in the washer).  He "helps" in the kitchen...sometimes.  Mostly when I'm making cookies.

I am trying to be a well rounded woman who makes time for career, husband, child, housework, family, and self.  And I tend to fret about doing the "right" things.  And here is the point in other blogger's posts where they reveal their personal "TRUTH!" 

Guess what?  I need to be honest...I have no idea.  Really.  When I make more time for housework, my home can look like a commercial, but my son is sad that I'm not playing.  When I make more time for career my husband needs to be home more often or we pay more for a babysitter.  When I let the cleaning slide because I'm spending time with family and career, then we are eating on paper plates that stick to the table from last week's maple syrup.  When I take too many days off because my son is sick then my career suffers.  And what about time for me?

There is a myth that we can "have it all."  Yes, we can, but I'm discovering that we can't have it all, all at the same time.  A goal for my life is to find balance.  I'm pretty sure it's been my New Year's resolution for ....oh...about a decade.  I'm getting there.  I hope you are too.




  1. Warmed my guilt-laced, tired, devoted heart. But the trickiest part of this ongoing effort to find balance is that the weights on each side keep shifting. So I start wondering if finding balance is misleading... maybe it can't ever be found. Maybe its just ... squeeze the life out of every second we can eek out for all the respective commitments, slow down whenever we possibly can, and be present in the moment at least twice as much with our family as anywhere else...? Maybe the balancing act is the journey of a million moments stretching into a lifetime.

  2. Thanks Anonymous, I like "be present in the moment at least twice as much with our family as anywhere else." That's a lovely goal.

  3. I struggle with this ALL THE TIME! Nice to know others feel the same way! I guess we just keep going and it will all fall into place? :-)