I was inspired by my friend Mindy’s most recent post regarding balance. It expresses how we’re all finding ourselves (as busy parents) pulled in 100 different directions, feeling guilty that we’re not able to put all our attention to one thing, and trying to give our kids that extra special one on one time, while allowing time for ourselves… the list goes on and on, doesn’t it? I’ve seen other blogs threading on this topic… balance. How do you balance? Everyone is striving for that same answer.
These are my thoughts (commented on her blog, transferred here for my own ease):
“I’m not really sure ‘balance’ exists. There’s just too many things fighting for our attention, and too many ‘shoulds’ that end up on the table. I find myself with a catch up day for things like laundry and dishes. The kids get extra tv time (or heavily instructed to GO PLAY) and then I do as heavy of a scrubbing as I think can be done while leaving the kids semi-unsupervised. Often I only get 2-3 minutes at a stretch and then I have to stay with them anyway, so it’s continually foiled, but I do try.
Sometimes I manage to do things like unload the dishwasher and cram food in my mouth standing up while the kids eat at the table. Multi-tasking. Consequently, the house never really gets fulled cleaned. I can’t even fully comment [on a blog] without having to take 5 minutes to hold the baby for her to quit crying and check on the pre-schooler to make her wipe her own tush, thank you very much. Perhaps overall it balances out, over a lifetime.”
… and I think that is it in a nutshell. Balance is REAL, but it only happens over a lifetime. When you’re a kid, you spend all your time wanting to grow up and don’t appreciate playing all day, but you in your heart of hearts know now that you can’t play all day, or work doesn’t get done, kids don’t get fed, or there’s no clean clothes for the next day, or something, somewhere falls through the cracks. What good is a play day if it just means more work, and possibly HURRIED and STRESSFUL work at that? So you play less, work more. Then, the kids are grown, and you can pursue your own passions in a way you couldn’t fully when you were putting food on the table, shuttling kids with bulky gear to practices, and/or bringing home the bacon. Then, if you’re lucky, grand-kids come, and you get to play again.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you shouldn’t drop everything and play with your kids if the opportunity arises, or take a day to lazily read a book if you’re able, I’m saying, just try and either enjoy it and not feel guilty if something else falls through the cracks, or buy enough underwear that you only have to wash every 2 weeks, always have back-up meals in the freezer, and have a healthy dose of ‘oh well’ in your heart for when things go wrong. After all, if it won’t matter in 5 minutes, 5 months, or 5 years, it shouldn’t matter now.