What’s Up With the Balance?

After reading all of your responses to my balance question, I decided to try various suggestions and see what works for me.

I can tell you one thing: mornings do not work.  At least not yet.  My sweet little boy does not cooperate with my well intended plans.  He prefers to wake up every hour or so from midnight until 7 am.  Apparently he is trying to tell me that I must either a) go to bed earlier or b) sleep in later.  Going to bed early is a great idea; however, dear husband does not come home until late.  If I want a few moments of alone time with Ben, I must give up something else.  I choose to give up and early bed time.  A small sacrifice, really.

At this point in my little guy’s life, it is silly to expect so much from myself.   He and I are still figuring each other out.  So, I am no longer sticking to the blogging while napping thing.  At least not exclusively.  Let’s face it–naps are not as scheduled as they once were.  Giving myself little “bloggy breaks” every now and then are okay.  As many of you mentioned, it’s okay for kids to learn to entertain themselves.

As for being present?  I am going to quote from an e-mail my dear friend sent me.

“Somehow, we’ve come to believe that we should enjoy every moment of parenting. A lot of parenting – even cute cuddly babies or adorable toddlers SUCKS. It’s grunt work. It’s exhausting. It’s physical. It’s unending. IT’S WORK.

It doesn’t mean you don’t love your babies with every breath in your body. It’s just that it’s difficult to DO it – especially when you don’t get a lot of relief – day in and day out.”

Like most people, I put a lot of pressure on myself.  I expect to be the perfect parent, housekeeper, wife, friend, and woman.  Deep down I know this is unrealistic and even maniacal, yet those desires remain.  As I fail and fail pieces of my self-worth break off and shatter.  It seems hopeless,  because it is.

I have a husband who is in school.  He is gone frequently.  And, this will not change.  It will most likely get harder before it gets easier.  The high expectations I have set for myself are impossible.

To break free from this prison of hopeless expectations, I am learning to listen to those promptings that can help guide my actions.  Naturally, this is a tough thing.  It requires that I let go of my pride and humbly accept the help that is being offered from those around me.   “Those” meaning my husband, my friends, the Lord, and all of you.

Today was a rough day.  Little sleep, early morning appointments, and refused naps lowered my spirit.  But, in between the hard parts, there were tender mercies.  A random giggle from Andrew, a sweet kiss from Emily, a thoughtful call from Ben, and some appreciated e-mails added together to remind me that the tense moments are generally small and easily forgotten when I focus on how blessed I really am.

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21 Comments

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21 responses to “What’s Up With the Balance?

  1. You have smart friends. Do what works for you. Blogging shouldn’t feel like a responsibility or an obligation. We’ll love you regardless!

  2. Do you read Annie Valentine’s blog? She did a piece on Studio 5, last week, about ideas when you need a break and to be a “Lazy Parent.” She had some great ideas. I think you can find the segment on Thursday’s show.

  3. I love that quote from your friend. It’s SO true, but so hard to remember.

  4. Sometimes time is the only thing needed to move from completely insane exhausting life to sudden stability and balance. Hope it passes quickly for you!

  5. Kim

    There are definitely some things about being a parent that I don’t like. My son fell and cut his mouth today. Not so much fun. My daughter is stubborn and independent, and only 3. Not looking forward to the teenage years.

    But I love them anyway.

    “Life doesn’t have to be perfect, to be wonderful.”
    (Sorry, I don’t know who I’m quoting there.)

  6. You do seem blessed, but even blessed people can have things they struggle with. Don’t worry about perfection.

  7. meorthethoughtofme

    there will never be a perfect answer to life’s questions…you just gotta do what feels right. (i too am guilty of staying up late to spend time with my husband. i wouldn’t trade it for anything else either.)

  8. Amber, this is one thing I know about parenting after nearly 15 years: the thing I decide to do for sure today because it’s going to work so well, will instead change tomorrow. The best quality I have as a parent is being able to shift as needed, to adapt to changes – like you’re doing with Andrew – and to be flexible depending on what’s going on inside and outside my home.

    In this, then, everything you’re doing is going exactly to plan!

  9. Nicki

    Amber – Linda is right! Your friend is right! Everyone is right in their own lives and you are definitely right in yours!

    And, just so you know, perfection is highly overrated. 🙂

  10. Yes, you are blessed, busy beyond frustration at times, but truly blessed. Been there and it is so worth the ride.

  11. jen

    Amber. I just wanted to tell you that I’ve been reading these last posts of yours, about time and space and balance and the trickiness of it all. And I don’t have any original wise words to offer. But (and I think you already know this), you are not alone. And? This stage will not last forever. And? You’re so brave and wise to be seeking out the experiences of other moms. Keep up the good work. (And, have I mentioned chocolate yet today?)

  12. Amber – I agree with Linda and Nicki. You go with the flow. It all changes, constantly. You make mistakes (NORMAL). Every stage and every kid is different, and of course we, as parents, are different from each other and different from one day to the next.

    If you read my post from yesterday (and then today’s) – you’ll see I’m in a pretty different mood from yesterday (which was only the tip of the iceberg of a really rotten parent-kid weekend). And last night and today both my kid and I were paying the price of me not insisting that he reorganize his time and proceed through his weekend differently.

    But I had to make a choice. Reminders (of priorities), then leave him to make his decision and deal with the consequences (he just turned 17, after all). Or, insist – and run the risk of less than desirable consequences.

    I chose the former. Frankly, I wish I’d chosen the latter. Big mistake on my part. But so it goes.

    Every day is different. Perfect? That wouldn’t be us. Chocolate? (That’s probably the best answer of all. Thanks, Jen!!)

    🙂

  13. I think you are really wise. You are not going to get it “all” done “all” right “all” the time. Sometimes the house will be messy, sometimes the blogs won’t get commented on, sometimes you will not give each child all the attention you might want. For what it’s worth, I really think that’s the plan. It’s the struggle that is what ennobles us, not the flawless execution.

  14. None of us can get it all done, but it comforts me to know that someone else feels the same as me. Thanks for sharing.

  15. The thing about balance is it isn’t static, it requires continual shifting. When they’re so little the shifting is pretty constant.

    You’re quoted email is exactly right. We sometimes forget how physically exhausting parenting is.

  16. I love that quote you put in there. I want to hang it on my fridge to remember that it doesn’t always have to be delicious meals, clean rooms, and happy children.
    Thanks for this post! Have I mentioned that I LOVE your blog???

    • Thank you Kristen! This week has been a tough week. Of course, what week isn’t right? This comment really made my day. : )

  17. Expectations…ah yes, just wrote about this the other day. We are so hard on ourselves. It’s so hard to be all the things we want to be. I’m starting to try and find little successes, moments when I can feel in balance, rather than whole days. Whole days are just impossible. It takes work. I’m certain I’m not very good at it.

    • Yes, I read that post and thought it funny that I had just written about the same thing! The thing that scares me, though, is I can’t remember whether I commented on your post or not!! I remember typing something, but I don’t recall whether I actually hit “publish.” Darn it all if I didn’t!! Please know that I was there reading. I think my brain has taken a vacation. I sure hope it comes back soon, I am feeling rather lost.

  18. Balance. It’s something we’re always trying to achieve yet remains ever elusive.
    Maybe that’s the way it’s suppose to be, to keep us trying and stretching.
    But parenting IS hard and a lot of it IS grunt work. You are so wise to see those tender mercies. You’re doing great.
    But I am sorry you’re going through a rough patch. Those slumps can be draining.

  19. I love what you wrote and I love what your friend wrote to you. There is too much expectation for perfection in parenting and it is not realistic. We have to respect and mother ourselves as well as our children. Great post!