Balance- The Holy Grail I seek

Monday, April 18, 2011

It it such a short two syllable word, but such a challenge for me. I find that I pour myself passionately into one thing or another for bursts of a couple of months and then fizzle out and struggle to find the balance again. I have been feeling really challenged by this word and just decided to print it out on some pages and post it around my house in hopes of it being a reminder.

When for 5 months from August through the beginning of January, I poured myself into my healthy lifestyle. I was going to the gym 5-6 times a week, logging everything I ate, making great choices and doing well. I noticed that as I was getting physically healthy I also felt great emotionally and spiritually. Then my family started passing around the ick and I quickly got out of the habit of working out. Either the baby was sick and I couldn't take her to the nursery at the gym, or I was sick and breathing through a cardio workout wasn't in the cards. Then I was out of the habit and just getting my booty to the gym was difficult.

Then in January, we started looking into buying our first home. I have spent the last 3 months-ish looking through housing listings nearly daily, communicating with our agent, viewing over 45 properties and making offers. It has consumed a lot of time and mental energy and I have found it difficult to focus on much else. Intermingled with that I have also been job searching, considering going back to work full time and so have spent some days of time doing that. We bought a puppy, and as every mother finds out, as much as the 11 year old says they will do all the work, mama ends up doing the most as mama is who is home with the puppy all day. Throw in the fact that my husband is working 40 hours a week and doing 12 credit hours of college at the same time and I am trying to finish the last little bit of my Thesis to finally finish my seminary degree (9 years later), an almost 12 year old with an increasingly busy schedule and a toddler who has some very needy teething days and I often feel like I have more balls getting dropped than successfully juggled. I feel like I need a reset button.

Next week, I will be getting my reset (sort of.) My husband is graciously sending me and the baby to Italy to visit my best friend for a week. I will have none of the responsibilities of home, except for the day to day care of my 14 month old. No house hunting, no transporting from one activity to the next, no dinners to prepare at 2 different times, no puppies to walk and clean up after, no worrying about keeping the baby quiet while my husband studies, no feeling cramped in our tiny town home that we have outgrown and stresses me out. Of course as every mother knows, in order to achieve such a week of bliss, I will have to work extra hard this week and the week after to make sure all the details are covered while I am gone- making extra meals to freeze for hubby and daughter, making sure all bills are paid or scheduled to be paid, lining up all transportation for older daughter's activities, grocery shopping, cleaning, packing, planning for a trip with a toddler, etc etc etc. Some times I feel like I have to be super mom in order to do everything, and I just don't feel that super.

I really want to get to a point where my life is more balanced. I keep telling myself I am just in a stage and maybe when we are done buying a house, or done with school, or out of the puppy stage, or....but then there will always be something going on won't there be? So, I need to figure out this balance thing. How do I spend the right amount of time on each thing? How do I put the right amount of mental energy on the right things? ....Even as I write this a verse pops into my head "Seek Ye FIRST, the Kingdom of God and all these things will be added unto you." Yet another thing that has been out of balance has been my intentional time with God. I have not been seeking HIM the way I should, my relationship with him has been slipping through the cracks. Maybe the first thing I need to do is put that back in a priority position (DUH!)

To all you more experienced super moms out there: How do you create balance in all the many demands of your life? Do you have any great advice or strategies that have worked for you?
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Wow! Reading your blog post makes me feel not so busy! I struggle with the same things, though I'm not a mom. As a single homeowner, working full time and going to school part time, and participating in ministry outreaches - I feel like I am NEVER caught up.

    As one of the other sisters said above - it is our time with the Lord that has to come first.

    2519 days ago
    I sympathize with where you are right now in life. I've tried the "schedule thing", I've tried this and tried that. But, here's the truth... I am an all or nothing kind of girl, too. Until I started viewing things a little differently. First of all, you are JUST a human and ALL things will never, ever be accomplished for more than a few minutes (laundry, for example). There are lots of good things we feel like we need to do, but we cannot until the BEST things are taken care of.....which is your personal relationship with Jesus and the care of your health. Lean hard on seeking His kingdom and His righteousness first. View your time with Him as an appointment and He's waiting on you. View your exercise as a job. Then let God ordain the rest of your day. What you can accomplish, Great. What you cannot, it'll be there waiting when there's time! Blessings to you!!
    2526 days ago
    Some of the best advice I ever got was this: "Women can have it all. They just can't have it all at once!" In other words, every life has stages and seasons. If this is your season for raising your kids and supporting your husband in his work, immerse yourself in that and let some other things go to the back burner. Or, if this is your season to finish your degree and enter the workforce, then having a large, Martha Stewart home and garden might have to wait. You have to decide what's most important NOW, and realize that something else might be the priority in 10 or 20 years.

    I'm saying all this even though I didn't always live it. When my kids were little (they are 18 and 15 now) I worked full time, was deeply involved in community and church organizations, had a large house and garden, and basically tried to be perfect at everything. Now I look back at that time of my life as a big blur. I wish I had slowed down and enjoyed those moments more while my kids were young. I had no choice about working, but I could have chosen not to do some of the other things.

    Sorry this is so long. Your trip sounds like a dream...and how wonderful to have such a supportive spouse. Enjoy it!
    2526 days ago
    Wow, I could have written your first and second last paragraphs. Only the details differ in my life. I'm with you. It's such a struggle to find balance! I really don't have anything helpful to offer, but I hope someone does!
    2526 days ago
    Oh my goodness, do I feel your pain!! I'm in a different stage now, with one boy in college and the other 16 years old and driving, but you're right: it's always something!

    Here's a tip I learned long ago from Mary Kay Ash (founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics): each night, before you go to bed, write down a list of the 6 most important things that you need to get done the next day. Not 26! Just 6. I call it my "SMIT List"! If anything on that list doesn't get done, just put it at the top of the next day's list.

    Another tip: purchase a daily planner that breaks down your days into 30-minute to 1-hour increments. Plan a schedule for yourself, including "God" time (for bible study, church, quiet time), "me" time (for exercise, a bath, or maybe lunch with a girlfriend), "office" time (for bill-paying, making appt's, etc), and "family" time (includes taxi service, ballgames, meals, etc). Color-code the various categories using highlighters -- that helps you visually to pinpoint where you're losing the balance you want & need in your life.

    Hope that helps a little. Enjoy your time in Italy -- how absolutely FABULOUS!!
    2526 days ago
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