Lessons in Parenthood: Week 11
Just one of these days I would like to drink my tea while it’s still hot. Maybe 18 years from now that will happen.
This week’s blog comes a little late because I was all caught up birthing a baby. Our newest family member, Leia Rosalia Dolenc, was born Thursday, March 16th at 3:39am here in beautiful Slovenia. The story of her birth will come soon. For now, I need to catch up on this weekly challenge so I will be busting out two blogs back to back.
Balance. It’s become somewhat of a buzzword. How do you find balance in life? Balance is important to our quality of life. Work-Life balance. These are the things we hear. In parenthood it’s no different. We look for balance in raising our children and having some sort of life of our own. We try to balance the stress in our life. At least we think we do, or we hope we do.
In parenthood, when everything is going just fine (oh, those glorious moments!) we don’t think about balance or anything like that. We just enjoy it. It’s when everything is going down in flames that we suddenly start grasping at everything around us trying to find reasons and explanations as to why this is happening and how to solve it. The kids are screaming and you can’t even make out what they’re saying; the baby needs you; you’ve asked your child to do something absurdly simple, even for them, for the millionth time; you can’t remember the last time you ate… or peed. Those are the days when you question yourself and your parenting.
I spent a lot of time reading on ways to create and maintain the perfect balance in life when you have kids. Before Olivia was born it was important to me to maintain a balance between the kids and my marriage. I was really focused on not letting our children take the center spotlight. But then what about my life? I need to take care of myself too. I can’t just take care of my marriage and my children and lose my own identity. I need to maintain that too. And what about work? Pursuing my career? Ok, so I need to care for my marriage, my kids, myself, my career… I need to somehow balance all this. After trying and failing and trying again and reading some more, here’s what I came to:
You can’t have balance. You can have balance when you’re dead.
We can usually do ONE thing really well. The more things we take on, the less quality those things get. In my experience so far, I can do one thing really well and all the others get sloppy. If I am the BEST mom and give my 100% to Olivia then I don’t have as much time for Luka and I sacrifice all the time for myself and my work gets mediocre attention. If I’m really taking time for myself and all my needs then I become a pretty lousy mom. You see where this is going. What I’ve learned is that there is no balance. It’s an illusion. It’s like the best sales pitch to life you’ve ever heard. We dream of this perfect life where everything is easy and beautiful and marvelous, but realistically that’s never going to happen in every section of our life at the same time. If it does, enjoy it and savor it because it’s a momentary gift to remind you that you are blessed.
Balance isn’t measured in maintaining the perfect status in every area of life. Balance is ebb and flow. It’s recognizing that your child needs more attention than your husband and then deciding your husband gets more attention than your child. It’s ignoring your child’s cries to feed yourself, then giving your all to your child. Balance is spending a week devoted to your child going through a new phase in life while the house falls apart then spending the next week maintaining a perfectly clean home. Balance is giving your best to one area and then making sure that you move your best around to the other areas in your life as well.
We can’t have a perfect balance in every part of our life, but we can give our best to the part that needs it the most. The key is to remember that this is the balance and this is okay. We don’t have to feel guilty that we ignored one part of our life to nourish another. We just have to remember to nourish all parts of life in time.