Please meet my friend Alanna!
When I first read the question, I have to admit I panicked! ME, BALANCED?? I started digging, I figured I must have some kind of balance or else we would be in chaos, and we do seem to function OK with our three boys who are five and under (and another baby on the way)! So, this month has had me really thinking and analyzing our family dynamics- which has been a great learning process for me.
Therefore, I wanted to preface my answer to the question by sharing a few thoughts I have had along the way. I truly believe that we are always searching for balance- or at least the right kind of balance, to fit the many different phases that we move through as parents. I believe that, like most things, it is easier said than done and it is so important to find what works best for you and your family. I find that it is too easy in our age of social media to want to simply adopt all these great ideas and tips that we mothers share. While the ideas and vast communication available for mothers is wonderful, we can get caught up in wanting to live that ‘perfect’ life and wanting to take those seemingly ideal ways to live and apply them directly into our lives, forgetting that what we need to do is, take those ideas and mold them into what suits our lives and our specific ways of living. I know this isn’t a big revelation or anything, but for me, it was something that I hadn’t given much thought to before and actually applying it has made a difference for me.
So on with it- how do I balance life with my rambunctious, ever curious, busy little boys?! Well, I discovered this month just how much of an instrumental role it plays in my day-to-day sanity and happiness. I’ve never been big on planning or routines and have always been the worst keeper of any Day-Timer! Therefore, I find I have never been one of those people who schedules themselves ‘me’ days, ‘date night’s’ nights or weekend getaways, ect ect. Instead I balance each day as it comes, I gain balance through doing the ‘little things’ and that is what works for us right now. The flow of our day largely depends on the night (did anyone get sleep?!), on our schedule (school, activities, play dates, ect), and just the overall atmosphere of the household. I have come to think of it like a dance- if we are all on the same groove and I am in step with my kids and hubby, that dance is smooth and I feel centered, together and balanced. I really believe that listening to my kids and understanding what they need from me for the day is SO important to keeping me in step with them. If our daily dance is out of sync, I feel off centered and unbalanced, and then the chance of things going wrong seems to exponentially increase! And in total honesty, a lot of our days are out-of-groove… because although it sounds easy, staying in-step with my boys can be pretty hard some days. So, I find ways to maintain balance by giving myself tiny breaks, doing something totally different with the boys, taking up family/friends on their offers of help, relying on my amazing husband to walk through that door and help me regain the balance, because he truly is my other half, and a big one- making a big effort to get more sleep (if possible)! The evening always presents a chance for me to regroup from the day’s craziness- and I cherish those moments. Whether it is sitting on the couch and ignoring the mess, or catching up with my husband and ignoring the other hundred tasks I could be doing- those are the moments I use to balance myself and the mess and tasks can wait! Before bed I take time to send out my prayers, my wishes, and my positive thoughts for us and others. It is my way of beginning to restart the next day and centering my mind by focusing on what is truly important and what is positive in my life. As for maintaining balance with my husband… well since we don’t get many moments to ourselves, (besides the evening when we are both usually weary from the day) it’s again about the little things (and I can’t leave out the obvious- communication!). But truly, the random and small gestures that subtly display love and thoughtfulness are as simple as discovering my favorite chocolate bar in the fridge, or me randomly giving him a good back rub, or even just sitting with each other on the couch. People always say it’s the small things that matter, and through my analysis of our family, I have really seen just how true that is!