Thursday, September 30, 2010

Toppling Plates Revisited

So the balance theme continues to permeate my posts, and sometimes, I gotta say, I find it so redundant.  I mean EVERY mom deals with this, right?  Meanwhile, maybe that's why it gets so much attention--because we all deal with it.  As an older mom, I had a lifetime of experience before I had kids.  When your life changes so dramatically, and you keep trying to have parts of the old life peppered into the new one, there's going to be some roadblocks.  I'm getting more creative in navigating roadblocks and finding detours that I didn't even know existed.

I took some actions last week to try to get past my roadblocks and find fulfillment in my varied life. (I know--this is a quality problem--sometimes I feel like I don't even have a right to complain because my life is so blessed, but here goes anyway.)

First, I wanted to try going offline for a while. No reading and commenting on blogs, no Twitter (okay--that one's easy to fit in, so I only stayed away from that for 3 days), no Facebook.  I found I was focused and productive in my job and present with my children.  I was in mono-tasking mode.  Felt very old school, but strangely rewarding--for a time.

I assessed things that are important to me.  Is it important that my kids get to every single soccer practice or dance class in the week?  Not really.  What is important to me is taking care of myself physically, emotionally, and creatively.  I have one of those unfortunate, narcissistic personality traits of wanting other people to see me as a vibrant and valuable participant in all I do.  In all the roles of my life--wife, mother, professor, blogger, crafter, writer, cook, and volunteer--I want people to see that I'm doing a good job.  And while this has always been important to me, I am starting to shift toward seeing what I do as good enough for me regardless of what anyone else thinks.

I made a schedule.  In order to fit in everything I want to do in my day, I had to come to the realization that I can't do everything everyday.  It's got to be compartmentalized.  Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday-- work out.  Tuesday, Thursday, Friday--writing.  Like that.  Scheduling is what I hound down my students' throats on a daily basis.  It's about time I tried it myself.

I forgave myself.  I can't be all things to all people.  I'm a perfectionist, and trying to stay the perfect everything is exhausting and demoralizing.  I downsizing my big personality.

I don't know how long this new "c'est la vie" attitude will last, but I'm going to keep working on it.


Erin said...

Alls I can say is that I sympathize BIG time. Balance is so hard. Impossible, actually. And it's a constant struggle over here too. I love my job, but sometimes I hate what it does to our family life.

Aging Mommy said...

Sounds like you have made some great decisions. After my vacation I decided to continue my break from blogging this week and like you discovered how very much more focused I was on everything else in life and especially my family. Now I have to figure out how to do some blogging, some writing and other things for me and still feel that I have that focus on my family. Not sure it is possible.

Amy said...

REALLY RELATE!!!!! I might take a little internet break and then evaluate and then schedule. Thanks!

Organic Motherhood with Cool Whip said...

I am so glad to hear that I am not the only one who deeply struggles with finding a balance. I pretty much had to stop blogging recently because I got a job blogging and freelancing for a website for money. It's really a great thing because I want to start a writing career, but it has totally turned my life upside down. Every day I feel like I am suffocating and drowning.

I love being able to write for $$, but I don't want to ignore my kids, my house, my husband, myself, etc. Things are out of whack for me right now, but hopefully I will get in the swing eventually. FOr a while I decided that blogging was the thing that had to go, because I just couldn't find the time to do it and keep all the other balls in the air.

But after not blogging for who knows how long, I realized I really missed it. I missed the people who I've grown to care about through reading their blogs. I missed connecting in that way. I missed you.

So I'm back. I feel terrible that I missed your post about your house almost burning to the ground. But please know that I really do care and I'm sorry that I am an unreliable friend right now. I'm just out here toppling plates, I guess. xoxoxoxoxo

MomAgain@40 said...

Sounds like a very good strategy to me. Please let us know how it's working for you!
Yes, we all struggle with the same thing! ;-)