Balancing life as a mom – that’s the title of this blog. And as much as I generally do a good job of this, it’s impossible to have life in a perfect balance all the time!
So what do you do when life gets out of balance? How do you choose to respond to an interruption of your normal routine?
If you’re an avid reader of this blog, you may have noticed that you haven’t heard from me in a couple of weeks. On my prior blogs, an absence like this would have put me in a guilty frame of mind, berating myself for not being able to get everything done that I thought I would be able to. And then I would have started to take an all or nothing mentality – if I missed posting one week, I would start to think that I failed, and what would be the point of getting back into it if I wasn’t able to make that weekly commitment? I would apologize profusely for this perceived failure, and I would allow my feelings of inadequacy to eat away at me and eventually kill my desire to keep going.
However, I have a new mindset on balance now and a more realistic approach to when life gets busy. Everything in life is a phase – some phases are long, and some are short, but typically everything has an end to it at some point. Moms of young children especially understand this. As soon as you figure out a way to get something to work for your child (such as sleeping well at night), something will change to interrupt that (a sinus cold, teething, a vacation/new sleep environment, etc.) and sleep will be elusive yet again. But it will pass, and eventually things will get back to the way that they were before. All it takes is time, patience, and a little self-love and self-care.
So what threw my life out of balance recently? A little good and a little bad! My husband and I recently took some time together to celebrate our 5-year wedding anniversary (more about this in an upcoming post!), which took some time to plan and execute. Shortly after my father and his girlfriend came to visit and stayed at my home for a week (it was their first-time meeting Emma in person!). And right after they left both kids came down with sinus colds and had a hard time sleeping for the next week. Not to mention that in the summer months we go away to camp most every weekend, so my time at home to get things done is severely limited! There was a 2-3-week period where everything in my routine got thrown off. First, I was staying up later than normal to spend time with family (but not able to catch up on my sleep in the morning), and all the household chores and other routine commitments I have (like this blog) came to a halt. Then since I was up so often with the kids at night when they got sick, I started to go to bed when they did in an effort to get caught up on my own rest. That automatically deleted the 2 hours I have each night after the kids go to bed to get my work done. Now that I’ve finally caught up on sleep, I’m working on getting caught up on everything else (housework, laundry, dishes, grocery shopping, blogging, etc.).
Life was certainly out of balance, and I’m just now getting it back to the way I like it. Did I feel guilty for being absent from the blog? Yes, initially. Am I going to let it spiral me off track again for the long run? No. Am I going to apologize for my absence? Yes, but without lingering on it.
I’m learning that in order to be the best mom I can be, and in order to have a life that keeps me happy and healthy, there are things that have to be prioritized. And when life gets out of balance and I can’t do everything as I’d like to, then the list of prioritizes goes into effect and takes precedence over everything else.
My first priority is my sleep and my health. If I’m not rested and well, nothing is going to get done and that’s going to put me more behind than anything else.
Second priority is my kids and my husband. I strive for family time and making sure that everyone is taken care of, has quality time together and knows that they are loved. No matter how busy I get, I want my family to know how important they are to me!
After that comes my home. I know myself, and I get very stressed if home chores pile up too much – laundry, dishes, cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, the weekly financial review I do for our home, etc. If my home is a mess and there’s too much to get done, my stress level goes up and I’m more likely to snap at my kids and my husband. So keeping on top of those basics is vital for me to be the best mom I can.
Finally, with whatever time is left, I get to work on my other passions – this blog, exercise, pleasure reading, watching a movie, etc. These things allow me to relax and tap into my creativity – which is super important for my sanity and overall life pleasure. However, these are also things that can easily be pushed aside when life gets too busy for all but the bare necessities.
Life can be lived in balance – most of the time. Inevitably, things can get turned upside down, and this can be because of good changes or of bad, but either way, allow yourself to let go of everything you think you need to get done and focus simply on the basics. Eventually things will slow down and you can build back in those things that you’ve missed.
Forgive yourself for what you can’t do. Love yourself regardless. And remember that tomorrow is a new day with a fresh chance!
All the best,
P.S. I’d love to hear a story of a time that life got crazy for you and how long it lasted. I know in the moment it can feel like things will never get back to normal, but it always does. Was the craziness shorter than you thought at the time now that you can look back on it? Send me a message and share your story!