Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Finding Balance

If a new mom were to ever ask me what the single most important thing I have learned during my years as a mother was, I would answer that it was realizing the fact that I need to find balance. I can want to do everything in a day, from the must-do's to the really-wish-I-could-do's, but the hard reality is that will never happen! Without realizing the need for balance, I will feel like a failure at the end of every day.

This used to be a much larger struggle than it is for me now. I would believe I could cook all the meals, do all the laundry, change all the diapers, play with the kids, read to the kids, homeschool the kids, clean every inch of my house, write the novel I've always wanted to write, learn how to sew, knit a scarf, organize my spice rack, dream up a fantastic marketing scheme for our business, walk 3 miles, write hand-written letters to family I haven't talked with in ages, and research the theory of quantum relativity all in one day. When I would get to bed each night, I'd try to dream up a scheme that would allow me to actually get all of those things done.

This is where finding balance really becomes important for a mother. There may be millions of things we want to do every day. Truthfully though, there really are not that many things we MUST do. Everyday, we must keep our children safe, make sure they are fed, cleaned, and clothed, teach them to develop a relationship with Jesus, and give them a very bare minimum of one hug a day. The world would most certainly go on if those were the only things we did every day. Our children would still grow up happy. We would still be called MOM. That list may seem very bare bones and like its not really much of a way to live, but if you look closely at it, do you see the gravity behind each of those four things? Would there be any point in doing everything else we do in a day if we did not first make sure we did those four? Any mother that achieves those four things alone is still worthy of super-mom status in my book.

Have you ever had a plate of brownies sitting on your counter and you would break off a little piece every now and then, just for a taste? Those little pieces really start to add up by the end of the day. Wouldn't it have been smarter to just cut yourself a regular-sized brownie to enjoy and then put the rest somewhere out of sight? (I do this, a LOT!) This theory can also be carried over into the rest of our lives. When there is something we really want to devote our time to, yet we want to be able to do it without getting in the way of those four main things we MUST do, sometimes we use the brownie theory. "Well, I'll just spend 5 minutes reading right now. Then another 7 later. Oh, and maybe 10 after that. But if I'm at a really good spot, it might be more like 13." On and on it goes, and at the end of the day we feel like we never really got to enjoy reading, we were short with our kids because there was something we wanted to do, and we actually lost over an hour and a half of time by trying to read without taking anything else away from the day. Now apply the brownie theory to that; wouldn't it be better to just set aside a specific 30 minute time slot to get that reading in? This is called finding balance. Sometimes balance can seem a little selfish.

If your children love you, but your floor might be a little sticky at times, congratulations! If your husband thinks you're an amazing mom, even though you spend a designated 30 minutes a day indulging in a hobby, congratulations! You have found balance, or are at least on the road to finding it (this is where I fit), and you truly are a Super-Mom!


Domestic Spaz 10:48 AM  

This is a beautiful post. Thanks for sharing it. It's high time most moms stopped feeling guilty for taking time for themselves and just did it. It makes you a much better mom to take your time to yourself rather than trying to grab snippets all day and getting irritated when you're interrupted. Bravo. :)

MammaMia 12:46 PM  

What a great perspective! I'm definitely a brownie picker! But I do deal with the guilt. I feel like since I am home all the time my house should be a lot tidier than it is!

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